"We live just as we dream -- alone, in solitude..."
Yehoshua Kenaz, quoting Conrad, in "Heart's Murmur"
June 21, 1982
Ramah and I are in a field. All around us, sand is falling from the skies. I try to figure out why and where it is coming from, but I'm not able to. Ramah climbs aboard a small military truck -- and I join her.
July 28, 1982
A dream I had following the ceremony marking 30 days since the burial of Gal, my niece Ilah's husband. Gal was killed on the Beirut-Damascus road.
"...I'm supposed to raise a flag, up high, over Ilah's house. There's a long ladder, but I can't get up high enough, even though some young people climbed up before me and managed to do it. I come down and get the flag ready and finally arrive at a solution: I nail the flag to a long board and am now able to get up high enough.
Before I start climbing, I ask a few people to hold the ladder for me, lest I fall.
And I have another dilemma: What color should I paint the flag? Yellow?
How high do you hang a flag over a widow's house? Should it not be at half-mast?
I'm travelling alone in an army jeep, heading for a mountain which marks the border line with the Arab "enemy". In essence, I'm going there to try and convince them that we seek peace. As I approach, they start shooting at me. I turn around and race back not a moment too soon, and the shells crash down before me (like in Sharam El-Sheikh during the Sinai War of 1956)."
June 15, 1984: Another War Dream
"It seems like I dreamt for hours, and only about war. Despite my being too old for the army, I've been called up and I'm in a remote, mountainous region. At the army encampment, we're being given an enormous amount of equipment. I'm having a hard time figuring out how I'll even be able to move, not to mention function, carrying such a heavy load. The back-pack is very large, but it has a plywood backing which eases the burden. Even so, it's very heavy and awkward to carry. As I go out, I see one of our helicopters -- its markings are in English and its tail is on fire -- and it's coming down...Another one of our helicopters flies by behind that one and this one's all right. I'm called back to take my gear and head out for battle and I wonder: How is it that, except for soldiers of Yaron's age, 19-21, most of the casualties are borne by soldiers in "my" age range, 30-35. And even though I'm not far from the offices where we were outfitted, I can't manage to find my way back there".
November 12, 1985
"There's a cabin supported by wooden beams that's totally flooded; in the cabin is a "computer". I'm very worried and I'm trying to rescue it. The rain keeps coming down, and occasionally I bolster one beam or another. But I find it hard to believe that we'll be able to rescue the computer this way. I have an idea -- we'll bring a bulldozer that will fill up the huge hole with dirt, but I have a hard time figuring out how that's going to be possible when everything's flooded..."
November 20, 1985
A dream I dreamt after seeing a movie about a Russian soldier who left his post in order to save a drunken man who was drowning. He was severely punished for this, whereas the corrupt officer was awarded a decoration.
"I'm in something that resembles an armored vehicle, but I'm working in the fields, in the furrows, in agriculture -- and people near and dear to me are there with me. I see a strange little airplane at the end of the furrow, flying towards us. It lands crashing into us, its wing blocking our path. The plane has sprayed something particularly caustic over the area. I get out and notice that the tank's gas cap is open and that a thick, green liquid is flowing out. I try to put the cap back on, but I'm unable to. And the liquid keeps pouring out. The cap falls apart and it can't keep in the liquid. I alert my superior to what's going on."
After awaking from the dream, I can't get back to sleep and I keep thinking about the movie and about the dream -- about reward and punishment; about humanity's moral conscience; about standing before judgement; about superiors who cunningly protect their jobs; and about the kind-hearted officer who shoots...and cries about it...
March 31, 1986: The Dream of the Lawnmower.
"I'm at home. Outside, a teen-age girl is struggling to mow the high, thick grassy lawn. The number of grass piles continues to grow; there is much work to be done. A young Arab man, the son of our neighbor, Fadi Barjas, is standing next to the girl, and it's as if he's instructing her how to do her chores. I'm astounded -- what does he know about mowing lawns, and what on earth is he doing giving her instructions.
Meanwhile, many people have gathered around and one of those people is our long-standing agricultural expert, David Solomon. They start talking about the fact that in Israel we're not good at growing grass: Because of how hot it is here, the soil becomes dried out and cracked. The shoots can't get enough water and you can't walk on the grass because the shoots will wither; and, on the other hand, if it rains, the soil becomes a sticky mud...In short, we have no solution for the grass problem. I'm basically wondering how this could be? Why, the entire kibbutz is covered by lawns, and here they are certain that the grass won't grow! I'm trying to explain this to the people standing there, but mostly I'm thinking about the fact that we're discussing a problem...that in reality constitutes no problem at all...
I have made an attempt to relate to every object appearing in the dream.
Here's a dialogue held between two aspects of my personality.
I as the lawnmower.
My job is to not let the lawn, the grass, grow too high. So that it won't be too high for walking, or for playing, so that it will look nice, and so that we can conserve water and reduce the amount of work needed to irrigate it. My job is to provide beauty -- but I'm dangerous -- full of all sorts of blades -- and it's worth your while to watch out for me. Basically, whoever wants to use me needs to take great precautions. I can be very modest. Small, manually driven, without a motor, in which case whoever uses me needs to work hard just to get a small amount done. Or I can be extremely sophisticated, like a model-D4 tractor! In which case, I'm quite advanced, fast and efficient. But then I also make more noise and I'm colder and more dangerous.
I can also be in the middle -- and just have a motor -- and then I'm easily pushed. But you better beware when you fill me with gasoline, because the girl using me was quite seriously burned by the fire that broke out while she was filling the lawnmower with gasoline.
Can I be the grass, too? The grass that, in each of these alternatives, is cut by the lawnmower's blades?
I as the grass.
Speaking to the lawnmower: "Why don't you let me grow at my own pace and not rip me to shreds all the time? I get scared to death when I hear you from afar. You hurt me, trample me, and cut me.
I as the lawnmower: "You know that, when all is said and done, you grow better after you get a trim. People get haircuts, too, and it just makes their hair grow better, and generally makes it look nicer...
The grass: Some comparison! Hair isn't live tissue. With me, it's as if you're cutting off my head and hands.
The lawnmower: Besides, why am I to blame? I'm not the one working against you. If it was up to me, I'd be delighted to stand in the corner and day-dream...I'm just a device used by people, and if you have any complaints, go talk to them.
Metaphors that appeared in dreams during a highly-charged weekend. I'd like to thank my friend, Leah Helner, for helping me to realize that as much as possible, I should let my dreams help me make it through the hard times.
Metaphors that appeared in dreams.
"I see a red sun, a red sky. It's not clear whether it's sunrise or sunset because the sun is in the northern part of the sky. In between me and the sun, I notice a red mirror, and blood in the fields. It's a kind of fata morgana. And I think to myself that it must be very hot and that this scene is being created by the water vapor rising from the ground".
"I'm on a beach. There's a strong wind blowing, but the sun is shining and the day is clear. Suddenly, a huge wave rises up several stories high. There are dozens of us, and we fall from the wave onto the land. A woman is hurled up into the air with tremendous force; I fear for her safety, but she is not hurt".
"Ramah, a wise, old woman who recounts stories, and becomes one with me".
Our youth spent, we make our peace. Our life continues as its story is told. Unison and continuity.
"David vanishes behind the wall, the gravestone".
For me, David Sherf continues to exist. I grapple with the question of whether to keep up my struggle against those who instigated the Lebanon War. David hasn't disappeared. He still exists in us and in our lives.
"The plant buds grow ripe and scatter their seeds".
Life goes on. There's no single answer for life's fundamental questions, for the question of human existence, or our existence here in Israel. We must allow all the flowers to bloom while we pull out the weeds separately. This is a dream that should be given some extended thought, about the appearance of poppies, that most beautiful flower which also gives rise to fears of opium addiction. The poppy flowers remind me of the first days of the kibbutz, when it was still common to see them in many a garden, even in the yard of the first baby house. The associations flow freely. The wheel of life keeps turning. Generations come and generations go. Yesterday's children are today parents of children.
The seeds are scattered in the wind, and our children have been scattered throughout Israel and the world. This is the way of the world and there's no sense in fighting it. The separation is natural and must be accepted with love.
"The funny-looking street in which all the houses and all the people stand at right angles, and where no one seems to mind; and at the end of the street -- there's a gaping abyss!"
A marvelous dream. And what's the succinct metaphor here? Might it not be an attempt to deal with what Ruvik Rosenthal calls "the new equilibrium" of bereavement (as opposed to the "new identity" that psychologist, David Green, talks about). The dream could be interpreted as implying that a new equilibrium may indeed be reached. Even after losing Yaron, our existence and our life can continue. True, it "looks" impossible, and it's on a very weird angle, but maybe it's possible after all.
And what's the "abyss at the end of the street", beyond the equilibrium? Perhaps the message hear is obvious: If I don't find a new equilibrium, I'll tumble into the abyss!
"I'm in my cemetery, and I'm supposed to repaint the walls and sweep the garbage, even though I can't recall all those who were there before me, a number of whom had even littered".
August 31, 1987
"In the desert tonight, I lost Yaron again, along with some other children. We had been on a hike, some kibbutz members and children. When we drove back, we didn't notice that a group of kids, Yaron included, had gone off to hike on their own and hadn't returned. Along the way, I realized they weren't with us, and we sent either Shai or Ron back to look for them. I, too, go back to look for them, but there's not a trace."
An extremely Kafkaesque atmosphere prevailed throughout the dream. I also felt extremely guilty for not having kept a closer watch on Yaron and for heading back without making sure that we had all the children with us. And why did they run off, anyway?
November 4, 1987: The dream of the mapped-out garden and the dam that burst.
"I'm at work in my garden in proximity of the two-family house where we lived after our arrival at Ein-Dor after having moved out of the cinder block houses in 1949. On the northern side, Sarah A. is watering her garden, even though she had never lived there. There's another garden that's being irrigated by letting water inundate the flower beds. Sarah's son, Nadav, and his brother-in-law, Allan, had built a small soil "dam" there and it bursts. I arrive at the breach and try stopping it up using only my hands and without using any tools. Then Allan comes over to me with mud bricks and adeptly seals the breach.
I see that Nadav's garden is being watered by the most advanced irrigation device I'd ever laid eyes on. It's made of shiny copper and its efficient mechanism is state-of-the-art. And his garden is amazingly beautiful in both its structure and its arrangement. From a single position, this solitary state-of-the-art sprinkler is capable of watering the entire garden with a fine spray. It can even spray water against the wind. I look over the sprinkler from up close and tell them that I'd like to order one for myself, but they both insist that it's too expensive and that I either can't or shouldn't buy it. Besides, they don't think you can get them in Israel. They got theirs through a guest who arrived from abroad. Each sprinkler costs 30 dollars and I can afford that kind of money".
There's no doubt in my mind that this dream is an attempt at resolving the dilemma of my "testimony's" main motif. My mapped-out garden is the book's layout. My testimony opens with the beginnings of our life here on Ein-Dor, with our first two-family house. The "mapping-out" relates to Nadav who's studying at the Technion Institute in Haifa. Yesterday evening, Shoshana Shmueli suggested that Emanuel Berman might be able to assist me. He's a psychoanalyst, a man of letters, an expert on social issues, literature, and cinema, and one of the founders of the League Versus Religious Coercion. Maybe he'd be willing to let a senior research student do some work on my testimony. And in terms of the schematic structure, take a look at the drawing of the garden's configuration: It's round, with pathways clearly leading to and interconnecting the various motifs, which give the book a feeling of completeness.
Another obvious tie-in to the book-as-garden is our garden in the military section of the cemetery.
November 15, 1987:An excerpt from my letter to my friend in Jerusalem, Leah Helner.
I reread the dream analysis you made. Rereading it, I realize that you've managed to do what you explained to me when we first started working together on dream analysis. I feel like you take my dream and go right into it. You integrate it into your life, your experience, your feelings and knowledge, and you send it back to me on a new plane of understanding, thereby enabling me to have an renewed dialogue with myself and with those people whom I'm willing to let in on my dreams, as a result of which, we all come out enriched and closer to one another, and maybe that's another way of understanding Martin Buber's concept of "I and Thou". As a result, we are all enlightened with new and important insights as to our wants and needs and, perhaps, even as to ways of fulfilling them. I'm convinced that you've developed a system that's unique and original, and I'm hopeful that you'll be able to summarize your work and your approach in a book of your own.
I'm enclosing the dream of the sprinkler; I'd be glad to do the work-up with you. Just like the dream of "the bush that burned but was not consumed" and the dream of "the suitcases and the airplane" were eventually considered breakthroughs into a new era, so do I feel about the dream of the sprinkler.
Thanks for lending me the album of poetry, pictures, and photographs. It's really moving to be able to touch the life of a person so near and dear to you. Not to mention my being well acquainted with those scenes whose origin is our common history in the San Francisco branch of Hashomer Hatzair. We were all so young and such true-believers that, even during the dark days of World War II, we were certain that each of us had the ability to do something to change the world. Now, so many years later, and in spite of all the hardships we've faced, we may truly feel pride, having led a life both full and meaningful. And how many people can still feel this close after fifty years.
January 23, 1988: The Dream of the Father, the Son, and the Ball
"A.K. and his son are walking on some never-ending platform. As they walk, the son is throwing a ball and his father is catching it over and over again, very patiently. At first, the platform is dark, but each time the ball makes contact, the platform becomes brighter and brighter".
That morning, I woke up thinking that, given time and patience, and by bringing to the book a sufficient number and variety of "points", any surface could be cleaned, in other words, one can clarify any problem and cope with it.
January 24, 1988 Here are several excerpts taken from an analysis of this dream which I and Leah Helner worked upon jointly.
The ball in my dream, and the ball in my daughter Naomi's silk-screen: Tel Aviv in the 1930's. People are playing with a ball on the beach in front of the casino, Naomi "grabs" the ball, and sends it out of the real world and beyond the edge of the picture, and the ball keeps bouncing on and on.
It's about A. and his son and the patience and time a father devotes to his son, and it hurts me so to think about how I wasted so many opportunities to be with Yaron and give more to him.
Once more, the ball is passed from a father to a son who prances on a never-ending platform, and every touch of the ball makes the platform grow brighter, on and on, ad infinitum. This is such a wonderful dream; it gives me so much encouragement and the strength to keep going.
I take this dream to be about Yaron and me. And it's about life -- it just goes on and on, marked by our giving and patience.
A metaphor is a tool which gives concise expression to a general idea. It can take various forms: Visual, literary, musical, et al.
The ball is a metaphor for the gifts that we give one another.
The ball is a symbol of the holidays, as it goes round in circles [In Hebrew, the word for holiday is linguistically related to the word for ring and circle].
The round ball is a symbol of completeness, and its repeated circular motion is a symbol of life ongoing.
It's about a ball that's tossed in a dream and about devotion and continuity in real life [once more, a linguistic connection between "tossed" and "devotion"].
The dream gives expression to timeless values. She knows no other dream more universal in meaning. No doubt, the dream is related to the spiritual nature of things and to endless layers of interrelatedness.
The ball moves through space over the never-ending platform, without limitation, without definition, and as it illuminates one section after another, it lends greater clarity to things in general.
Life itself goes on. The father was once a son, and the son will become a father (were he to live...).
Life is like the entire cosmos.
The game of catch going on and on stands for the never-ending process of giving and acceptance.
Acceptance -- even of death.
Perhaps, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
On the eternal nature of this dream:
About the spirit and the infinite levels of contact.
Perhaps also about acceptance -- even of Death.
Realization = Real-Eye-Zation.
She believes that the dream relates to the deepest and most meaningful elements of our human existence. She has thanked me for allowing her to be a part of this experience. She has apparently been blessed with a unique gift for analyzing dreams. On the other hand, she believes that I have been blessed with the ability to create and to produce dreams.
- My Diary - sections of a diary kept regularly since June 6, 1982.
- My Family
Letters to family members.
- The Beaufort Family
The letters and stories of families affected by the incident at the Beaufort.
- Dreams/A Dialogue with Myself
A listing of dreams and their interpretations.
- Correspondence Received
Letters to and from family, friends, and acquaintances.
- Correspondence Sent
Letters to artists, journalists and religious figures.
Testimony to important events which occurred during the period between the Lebanon War and the Intifada.
- Links to related sites.
Please send comments or questions to Yehoshua Zamir