We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
7-31 The Bratzlavers hit the front Not to be outdone by Lubies (Lubavitchers in traveling wagons), the Bratislavers hit the front recently. Only few of you know that I have had personal contact with Bratislavers, having been enlisted by my khaver, Pinchus, nee Patrick, to take a mikva dip in the cold waters of the Bratislaver's mikva, where the slime on the floor is almost as old as the stones of Jerusalem. This mikva is conveniently located overlooking the Western Wall, that is to say, in the Arab Quarter, through which Pinchus and I wandered at 6 a.m. in order to take a dip.
But, this is another tale, not for today. Today, we go to the front line, Bratislaver-reinforced.
The Brats believe in Reb Nachman of Bratslav, that he will return perhaps. They arrive frontly, so to speak, in high style. No battered, multicolored rattling Lubavitcher van, with Booming speaker held in place with guy lines. No. The Bratzmobile is like an American RV with reinforced top, metal rails and a logo of "NA, NA, NACH, NACHM, NACHMAN, M'UMAN!" This translates to : "NA, NA, NACH, NACHM, NACHMAN, IS BELIEVED IN!"
Their booming box atop competes with the rockets overhead. A reinforced top is necessary, as Bratz stand atop, some dancing as the RV rolls up. Before the sliding van door opens, like Lubies and circus clowns, Bratz plunge through windows, side locks and tzitzit flying. These Bratz wear oversized white knit kippot with a spitz atop and, of course the logo circumscribing the brow. White shirts are untucked, boots or Teva sandals are de rigeur. Some are ex-IDF, one from Lebanon in 1990.
But, enough visual details; it's the action that counts. They descend upon the reporter first, upon the paratroopers (next), the artillery men (later), the tankists (finally). The reporter, much to his initial protests, they cap with a spitzy kippah, then paste stickers with -- well you know: "NA, NA, ETCETERA" -- one on each of his cheeks, like Pierrot's tears, around his forehead, on his shirt. The paratroopers are hugged, and firmly kissed on at least one cheek. The dancing starts before the Bratz leave the van, gets vigorous with arms on paratrooper shoulders. In the mass, one has trouble discerning bodies, as legs kick haphazardly. One Bratz grabs his side locks, holds it stretched out to nine and three O'clock, then begins spinning, as if he were a helicopter about to ascend. (The scene ends before his ascent.)
Yes, a few tefillin are unwrapped and wrapped on soldiers' arms, but the dance is the thing. And the singing. One loudspeaker-enhanced singer starts: "YAHLA, YAHLA, NASRALLAH, DAFOK LECHA!" Which translates to something like "YAHLA, YAHLA NASRALLAH, F...K YOU!" From a Hasid, such words. Such Bratz!
The next dance attack is on a tank corps just returned from the front. The Bratz descend their RV only to leap on Merkavas, jump within to emerge with soldiers and dance atop. Much cheek kissing happens. Dents are left in some cheeks.
On the way to the artillery, the Bratz atop bears a near-emptied whiskey hip-flask. He is interviewed later, briefly. He was in Lebanon. In the '90's. When asked how it affected him, he sobers briefly, starts to say something with heavy lips, then denies how much he was wounded in Lebanon: now he has the Reb Nachman and HaShem. As the RV approaches artillery, they cheer on the rockets from Israel. While the soldiers wear ear-guards, the Bratz shout louder, holler for more missiles to be fired, insist that this will silence Na Na Nasrallah.
Ibid. with the cheek kissing, the dancing, the tzitzit flying, the side locks helicoptering. Only the senior commander cautions as the Bratz-mobile leaves with the Bratz from Lebanon atop, that he is a good target for a rocket from Lebanon. But, the Bratz brush off concern. They have the Reb Nachman and HaShem guiding their missiles.
Editor's Note: As a Christian, I think it is fascinating to read about the Lubies (last week) and the Brats. During Christ's lifetime, there were many such messianic sects: he was one of many. When I hear about these folks, I imagine that this is what the followers of Jesus were like - joyful in faith and devotion. However, I doubt that Christ would have preached "Fuck Nasrallah," because his was a message from and about another world - the Kingdom of God - not this world, at least not yet.