Scintilla was wonderful for unburying some of my Israel stories, but none of the prompts lead me toward Masada.
Masada, which is located near the Dead Sea is a fortified plateau that was the site of the siege of Masada at the end of the First Jewish-Roman War. The siege ended in the suicide of the Jewish Rebels inhabiting the plateau, so it is a place that is just as painful to see as it is inspirational.
This is basically a metaphor Israel and the Jewish people in a nutshell. Every bit of beauty and happiness in that country has been hard-won and at a high cost. Highest light casts deepest shadow.
Of all of the things that we had set out to do in Israel, this was one of the most important to me. I think there is something cathartic about climbing. About mountains. About seeing the sun rise. It is a primitive need, for we have been doing all of these things (sometimes separately, sometimes ensemble) since the beginning of civilization.
So before the dawn, we climbed out of our tour bus and began our 1,300 foot climb on winding trails to the top of the mount, to watch the sun rise over the Dead Sea.
And just as the sun managed to find its way to a point that was properly Morning, a unit of IDF soldiers finishing their final 24 hour training march came over the hill. Tranquility transformed into raucous celebration.
Equal and opposite reactions.