Wall - ä÷éø
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This is the place!
Time to run…
There's the wall…
The hard sand of the drilling grounds makes contact with my falling body, and I know that, once again, I've failed. On my left stands my direct commander, and on my right are my friends, resting their heads, having passed the one obstacle I seem to keep snagging. I move aside, making room for someone running my way, another guy from my company who succeeds in easily jumping above the wall and running onwards. "Aw hell!" I think to myself, "Stuck at the wall again".
The Wall – a large cement slab meant to test every soldiers' ability to climb above high walls, and apparently (in my case), to test the brains' ability to withstand recurring concussions from direct contact. I remove my helmet from my head. I start wiping it, removing any sand that might have accumulated in it meanwhile. It doesn't do much good, really. Think of it more as a kind of avoidance therapy – I clean one thing in order to forget the wall that I, for whatever reason, can't pass.
"Hillel", my commander comes my way, and I am no longer sure whether he wants to cheer me up or put me down, either way I probably don't seem to happy about it. In truth – I'm not happy at all, and I do hope he sees it.
"Hillel", he says, "your mistake is that your slowing down before the wall. You keep losing your momentum. It's your momentum that takes you over". Whatever. If you think I know what he's talking about, your far from right. Like, I sort of get it, but I've heard it about a million times, and it doesn't seem to help much. At this point, 'you must believe' is as good as anything.
I nod in agreement, and am about to walk back to the starting line,
"I don't know, just shout".
* * *
Two guys stand In front of me, and any second I know I'm up. Should I really shout? I don't know, it might make me lose my concentration. Another one runs to the wall. That's it, one more and it's my turn.
Shout or not? What's the difference – a little self confidence can't hurt.
The last guy runs forward. No one on my right – I guess I'm running alone. Should I shout? "Hillel, Run!!!"
Running. "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…." I start to feel it, the energy. Just don't lose confidence. Here's the wall, put up your leg, I'm gaining height, I put my hand over the wall, trying to grab….I fall.
"Gevalt!" I shout, and my friends reaction and that of my commanders is the same. They're laughing. Truth is – it's kind of funny. Hell, I'm laughing too, this situation is a bit ridiculous. Still, why can't I get over that wall?!
"Hillel", it's my commander again, "maybe next time you should shout gevalt". Oh c'mon, 'gevalt'? what am I? an idiot? Hmmmm….. Gevalt?
* * *
Running again. Here goes nothing.
"Gevaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllltttttttttttttt!…". I'm running in full speed, I don't slow down. I'll show them, this time I'm going over. No slowing Hillel, No slowing down. Wait, what if don't stop in time, what if stick my head in the wall, what if…
* * *
Is climbing the wall all that matters? First off, let me reassure you – I did eventually pass that wall, and then found harder challenges ahead of me. But there is another lesson in this story. I remember this story apart from how I ended up passing that wall. Ok, it is a funny story, but that's not the point. At least, not the only one. There was something in the actual attempt, in wanting to pass that wall so bad, in the ability to give it your best (even when that ends up getting your head smashed), In the willingness to shout something that I bet no one in their right minds would ever have considered.
This point is important when considering the story of Moshe, and especially in the role he plays in Sefer Dvarim. Dvarim is Moshe's speech to Am Israel prior to his departure and their entrance to the
Like in so many other things, we see in Moshe's mistake such a sad one because it destroys his chances in succeeding in that which he tried to achieve for so long, in that which he should have succeeded in.
And yet moshe's story is not considered the story of a failure. No one sees Moshe as a tragic figure. This is because Moshe chose no to become one. Instead of sinking into self pity he chose the harder road, yet that which is eventually more heroic. Moshe's heroism expresses itself in that he is able to accept his failure. He learns from it and immediately returns to fill his post, to lead. Sefer Dvarim, Moshe's final words to Am Israel, is one of the finer points in his career. Moshe refuses to run away from the world after his mistake. Instead he decides to rise to the challenge and make preparations for the future of Am Israel.