Sunday, 28 September 2014

Jonah and the Elephant

I hadn't seen my old friend Jonah for two years. The last time he had turned up he occupied my sitting room couch, seaweed still in his hair, and flicked through the TV news channels while throwing verbal darts into my bleeding Jewish heart. We had not seen eye to eye on much. Now, with his annual afternoon outing on Yom Kippur approaching, Jonah was back.

This time he was looking in my fridge and flipping a coin in one hand.


Hamas [Flip] ISIS [Flip] Hamas [Flip] ISIS [Flip] Hamas [Flip] ISIS.

Your back!

You've nothing in the fridge.

You're my favourite Prophetic book and my least favourite Prophet. Still, it's good to see you again.

I'm looking for Israeli celery, or Israeli dates, or Israeli anything. You don't have any.

You won't find any. I'm boycotting.

You're a crazy, self-hating Jew who deserves utter contempt and ostracising.

Now don't hold back, will you.

I say it how it is.

It's better than suicides, hijackings, kidnappings, rockets and stones. And without doubt more effective than John Kerry.

Your BDS friends are Nazis dressed in T-shirts and trainers. Jew hatred for the chattering classes. It's 1938 all over again.

I didn't expect to convince you.

Your fridge has nothing worth eating. It's as empty as your head.

So why the honour of another visit?

I'm a soft touch for a lost cause. I thought the Ninevites were bad but I was proved wrong. Perhaps you are salvageable too.

Of course, your prophetic calling draws you to people who don't know 'their right hand from their left'.

Well that would certainly describe you.

I think I know Hamas from ISIS though.

They're all the same. Child killers the lot of them. Networks of Death.

That's far too easy and it helpfully avoids the root problems.

At least we found the terrorists who murdered the three teenage boys. Some justice at last.

A trial would have been nice.

Not necessary now. And a huge saving to the Israeli tax payer.

All very convenient.

You're an apologist for terror.

I thought that was you.

I read your blog posts over the summer. The usual lefty claptrap. "We're not innocent, we can't play the eternal victims, the IDF are responsible for the killing". I grow bored of your self-righteous carping. I'm amazed anyone is reading your stuff.

If we are all so innocent, why did God give us Yom Kippur?

Don't be clever. It doesn't suit you.

I was in shul on Rosh Hashanah.

Me too. Shona Tovah!

So you've left behind that whole running away from God routine?

Don't try to be funny. That doesn't suit you either.

I can't help it. Your story is funny. The running away, the giant fish, the whole thing is comic.

I'm a serious man. The world is a serious place.

I thinking, may be this year you could switch the giant fish for an elephant. We had one in the shul for Rosh Hashonah. It would work even better at Yom Kippur.

Now you really have lost me.

Well, I was sitting there listening to the rabbi's sermon wrapped in my black and white tallis, and there, right beside her as she started to speak, was an elephant wrapped in a giant black and white kaffiyeh.

A women rabbi!

Don't get me wrong, I liked the sermon. She had ISIS on her mind and reminded us how religion can be radical and revolutionary in good ways and bad.

They let women give sermons?

And the elephant listened silently.

Rabbis should stay clear of politics.

She even mentioned that Judaism can display some negative traits. A bit edgy, I thought, but she brought it off and nobody walked out. But the elephant was there for all to see. If only they had eyes.

Who needs more ignorant pundits. It's an abuse of the bimah!

I suppose taking a stand on Gaza is too risky. Guaranteed to upset someone. If not everyone.

Exactly. Morality is too important to be left to the clerics.

We can agree there. They are fatally compromised. I can't believe they don't see the elephant.

So you really want to swap my fish for your elephant. Then what?

Who knows.

What are you expecting from Yom Kippur? You want to start a Jewish intifada or something? A Jewish Kairos moment for Palestine? And you thought I was funny!

I suppose I'm hoping that the sound of the shofar might just be enough to blow down that great big Separation Wall we have in our heads. The wall that stops us seeing the truth.

Do you think a man could be swallowed by an elephant?

If we can fit a huge wall in our heads, why can't an elephant swallow a man?

You really have lost the plot haven't you? And I'm looking in this fridge and I'm thinking you really do need to go shopping.

If the elephant could start talking that would be even better. Something about the real meaning of 'returning' could be fitting.

Hamas [Flip] ISIS [Flip] Hamas [Flip] ISIS

And then when he spews you out you could swap scarfs as a sign of mutual solidarity. The elephant gets the tallis and you get the kaffiyeh. It could be a lovely moment.

Hamas [Flip] ISIS [Flip] Hamas [Flip] ISIS


And then the coin dropped to the floor and Jonah was gone.