The complete guide to the perfect Israeli speech
'He who makes peace in high places, He will make peace,' etc. That is the favorite verse of professional eulogizers and dancers.
There are the days of "between the straits" (bein hametzarim - the three weeks leading up to the date of the destruction of the Temple) from Tammuz 17 to Av 9, and there are the days of "between the flowery phrases," which we experienced in the past two weeks, and which we have survived.
Some in the fire of the furnaces, some in the fire of wars, some in the fire of the conflagration on the mountain, and some in the fire of rhetoric - we are all remnants of the fires, and all the differences are erased; and who will rescue us from the rescuers of the generation.
On the 64th anniversary of the redemption and the 44th anniversary of the subjugation, we can already begin with summaries. Hundreds and thousands of mingled speeches of mourning and festivity enable us to analyze the state of our life and our death, and to launch the complete guide to the perfect speech.
We recommend opening in an apologetic tone, scolding the weak words for their powerlessness: There are no words to express the pain, to reduce it, to heal the wounds. Already at the beginning you should add a dimension of climatic and environmental symbolism, light and shadow: how the weather adapts itself to the occasion, to the public and private mood. A rainy day is appropriate for memorial services, even the skies are weeping; and a clear evening is a promise of a glorious future, even the stars in their trajectories are smiling at us from the darkness, heralding good things, promising salvation.
Now we go over to a description of the misery of the bereaved, whose lives the speaker-embracer knows as well as they themselves do, and perhaps a little better. The motif of the door becomes a squeaky hinge: how on that day that knock was heard, and how a delegation of messengers with evil tidings stood in the doorway, and how it was no longer possible to escape the news. That is undoubtedly one of the high points of the speech, and the speaker has to draw on all his rhetorical power. Now they are finally crying, the speaker is also on the verge of tears, and that is his reward for all his creative writing.
The door is still open, and the national eulogizer will burst in and out: Mother and Father are at home, listening for every murmur, hearing steps. Is the nightmare ending and the son returning? And maybe none of this really happened? But the steps become distant, the stairwell falls silent, and once again life is divided into two - before and after the disaster.
And the speech has still not fulfilled its obligations, if it hasn't handled the subject of "the forever young" and all its variations: How flowers were plucked in the morning of life. Flowers wilt, the fallen will never wilt. They will remain young and handsome, as they were, as in the pictures, only we will grow old and die. Don't weep for those who are gone never to return, weep for the eternal eulogizers, whose sorrow is the sorrow of the world, and who actually do see the land of their birth; and how it looks.
From the private to the public domain. Here the veteran and experienced speaker will adapt the testament of the fallen to his own urgent political needs: The muses don't roar in order to silence the cannons; on the contrary, they cause them to roar too. "A strong and determined Israel Defense Forces, which can overcome all the challenges," that is the entire collective testament on one prosthetic leg, and one mouth filled with dust. It is not the dead who will desecrate the consensus, it is not they who will break the leaders' words.
Nobody should go up to the dais without reference books - the Hebrew Bible or poet Natan Alterman. When you pour your wrath on the Iranians, for example, it's a good idea to use the Book of Psalms, which is a reliable source of words of revenge; they will sound more ethical that way. And when you're looking for a strong passage of rebuke accompanied by consolation, it will easily be found in Alterman's political verse in "The Seventh Column." He who brings words in the name of their source, brings redemption to the world; and destruction too, if there is no choice.
And of course, no speech is complete without longings for peace at the end. It is forbidden, and impossible, to omit a proper vision of the End of Days, of the Messiah. After all, we will embark on the next war too in his name and for the sake of peace, and we will also want to convince its bereaved that their sacrifice was desirable.
And still, one should try hard to avoid the phrase "He who makes peace in high places, He will make peace," etc. That is the favorite verse of professional eulogizers and dancers. It seems a little premature to me to say the Kaddish prayer for the dead over us at this stage.