THE SPINE SEPTEMBER 29, 2006
The metaphor of "the book of life" or eitz chaim suffuses Yom Kippur, which starts with the threnodic Kol Nidre incantation on Sunday at sun-down and ends with the neilah service Monday night. But the metaphor applies to individuals, and not to the collective. Still, the people Israel now exists with the threat of mass murder by the president of a country that will soon have nuclear weapons, a country that has not bought in to the deterrent calculus which kept both the United States and its allies and the Soviet Union and its satellites secure in the cold--often touching on hot--war.
Strategists the world over are now struggling with the impending Iranian bomb and what anyone can do about it. Of course, some folks think that it can be negotiated away through diplomacy. I believe they are smoking weed. Will some country or a coalition of countries take out the crucial nuclear facilities in Iran? Maybe. Maybe not. Israel focuses on the "maybe not." And Israel asks whether it should, would, could do the deed itself, alone.
Here, in The Jerusalem Post Magazine (September 28) is a meditation, an informed meditation by Samuel Ser, "Tangling with Tehran," on a searing matter appropriate to the days of awe and to the book of life. It is like tangling with the angel or, perhaps, tangling with the lion. Your pick.