Yom HaBilbul: A Meditation on Conviction and Confusion in the Holy Land

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If you’re not in a rush
take a train
Israel’s trains
take their time through
the countryside


the country has a
rapid transit
of holidays
in the Spring
rushing by like a bullet


and) I want to proclaim a New Day
Yom HaBilbul
Confusion Day
We’ll march
in a lazy parade
in two directions down the same
meeting in the middle we’ll
forget we’re marching
and sunbathe by the sultan’s
pool and extend an olive branch on the Mount of Olives with
real olives
Abu Mazen will come and suggest hopeful edits on
A man from Yisrael Beiteinu will teach a shiur on
Hachnasat Orchim and
Naftali Bennett will don a burka and make a
Modest Demand
For tea Shas will drash the Hamas charter and
Welcome Hizballah off an El Al plane with flowers and
Bamba and Obama
Will invite them for a beer summit on the Temple
Mount and the Women
of the Wall will chant Torah and the Torah will let out
a shy giggle and say
oh go on
In the evening men and women of Tzahal
will sing the Internationale in formation
dancing through Mea Sh’arim

– NO TOUCHING. let’s not get crazy –

And by evening Bibi will drop in to
Nap defiantly at a checkpoint
and snooze on behalf of Jews


And the next day everyone will shake off the hangover and
blink ourselves sober in the bathroom sink and
go back to the routine but a part of us will


what it was like when everybody’s mind was
Disputed Territory
when we were less
sure and more
confused and
like a lazy train
we took our time through the countryside.

Rabbi Michael Rothbaum is a Jewish educator, speaker, author, and social justice advocate. He and his partner, Yiddish singer Anthony Russell, live in Oakland.