Monday, May 22, 2017

Fake dealer, fake partners: Trump, Netanyahu and Abu Mazen


The Jubilee Paradox: 50 years since the Six Day War, 50 years of occupation
Jubilee: a special anniversary; especially a 50th anniversary.
Originally from the Hebrew yovel, the jubilee was a year of emancipation and restoration, celebrated every fiftieth year, with the emancipation of slaves. The jubilee year was proclaimed by the sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn, the yovel (originally meaning ‘bellwether’), which also has lent its name to Yoval, “father of all who handle the harp and pipe” (Genesis 4:21), i.e., the Biblical father of music. The Jubilee Paradox is that the victorious Six Day War led Israel to occupy millions of Palestinians. Already in 1968 Ben Gurion said he preferred peace to occupation.



June 5-10, 2017 will mark fifty years since the Six Day War, in which Israel in a sweeping surprise victory defeated Egypt (UAR), Jordan and Syria, after Egypt had mobilized along the Israeli border, closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships, and Israel was threatened by invasion of Arab forces.

The release of tension resulted in years of denial and inflation, as for instance expressed in the infamous words of General Shmuel Gonen (Gorodish), “We looked Death straight in the eye, and Death lowered its gaze,” (The Hero and His Shadow, p. 20), which crashed into the Yom Kippur War six years later.


And while Israel has withdrawn from Sinai following the peace agreement with Egypt, from 40% of the West Bank after the Oslo agreements, and unilaterally from Gaza, Israel still holds on to 60% of the West Bank, pouring in money to settlements, even beyond the settlement blocs along the so called Green Line, which will remain Israeli, possibly following land swaps with the Palestinian National Authority.

Occupation, now in its fiftieth year, will have to come to an end, for the sake of both Palestinians and Israelis. Occupation keeps both the occupied and the occupier captive in a condition that tears up the social fabric. In a complex condition, which I have called ‘within boundaries and without’ (The Hero and His Shadow), the geo-political and social circumstances intrude upon the psychological fibers of the individual.

In the jubilee year, the time has arrived to set the slaves free, which includes a majority of the Israeli population, which is ready to withdraw, does not want to rule over another people, but with hard work not only keeps Israeli society going in hi-tech and culture, but pays for the settlement project that many of them oppose.



Fake dealer, fake partners: 
Trump, Netanyahu and Abu Mazen



I pray I am wrong, but I doubt the "master dealer" will succeed where his predecessors failed, and bring the Israeli Palestinian conflict to a viable solution.




Trump may be able to bring the partners to fake negotiations, all of them concerned with appearance, ‘the greatest show,’ but viable peace requires more substance than these partners are able to provide. None of them can provide the minimum of the other side’s demands. Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) does not trust Netanyahu, for good reasons, and is himself equally reluctant, since he is not likely to accept a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside Israel without any further claims on the Jewish state.

There could be a certain possibility of partial success if the strategy is changed to an incremental process of mutual small steps. Yet, stalemate inevitably leads to the eruption of violence (even though negotiations do not guarantee quiet – the terror instigated by the Palestinians during the Oslo negotiations should not be forgotten or denied).

In the likelihood of failed negotiations, it is up to a united Israeli opposition to present an alternative plan. Considering the locked situation, the initial issue on the agenda would be unilateral withdrawal from civilian occupation.

First, Israel would need to define a temporary border. In fact, the notorious security fence does this quite well; 9-13% of the West Bank remains west of the fence. That is, 87-90% of the West Bank remains outside the security fence, to establish a demilitarized Palestinian state with temporary, but near-complete borders.


© Shaul Arieli, http://www.shaularieli.com

Secondly, separate between civilian and military occupation:
a. Withdrawal from civilian occupation beyond the self-defined temporary border, and beyond the big settlement blocs; i.e., from close to 90% of the West Bank. Relocate the many small and scattered settlements - in which a minority (about 20%) of settlers reside, to inside the security fence, i.e., the self-defined, temporary but distinct border, preferably by offering compensation for voluntary relocation.

b. Retain military occupation for security needs, but step by step, increase the territory handed over to Palestinian civilian authority – and eventually, as well, security control. Practical and creative solutions to ensure security cooperation can be provided – some are already implemented. Each limited territorial step, as part of a long range plan, should be accompanied by steps of mutuality, agreed upon by both sides. If no agreement, no military withdrawal, until security control can be transferred. 
c. That is, unilateral civilian disengagement and withdrawal from occupied territories beyond the security fence, but negotiated step-by-step military withdrawal, with increased Palestinian security responsibility in those areas added to its sovereign territory.
Thirdly, in the long run, in order to ensure viability, low-level confederative frameworks of cooperation can be conducive, encompassing Gaza-Israel-West Bank/Palestinian Authority-Jordan.

The critical issue at this time is withdrawal from civilian occupation beyond the big settlement blocs (located along the cease-fire lines), while incremental withdrawal from military occupation can only take place with incremental agreements, based on mutual give and take between the two sides, backed by framework support by the larger Arab and international community.


Dedication of The Hero and His Shadow
I dedicate this book to those, all too many, whose voices were silenced by man’s evil.
   I dedicate it to those, all too few, who raise their voice against fascism, who speak up in the struggle for peace and reconciliation, especially between Palestinians and Israelis, incessantly on the verge of yet another cycle of violence and hostilities.
   I dedicate it to those who try to hold the vulnerable balance in that ultimate conflict of Abraham between Father and Son, divine and human, idea and implementation, past and future, ego and self.
   I dedicate this book to the daughters and the sons whose future is endangered.

Contents

Preface        The Beggar in the Hero’s Shadow       
Chapter 1    Return to the Source                
Chapter 2    From My Notebook              
Chapter 3    From Dream to Reality              
Chapter 4    Origins and Myths              
Chapter 5    From Redemption to Shadow          
Chapter 6    Wholeness Apart                
Chapter 7    Myth, Shadow and Projection       
Chapter 8    A Crack in the Mask           
Chapter 9    The Death of the Mythical and the Voice of the Soul
Glossary                            
Bibliography                       
Index




 "The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel puts Israel’s recent history on the analyst’s couch with a particular focus on the intertwining development of individual and collective identity in the Jewish state.  It traces its vicissitudes from the absorption of the self within the idealism of the Zionist pioneers through a process of social and psychological maturation, eventually achieving what are likened to firm ego boundaries in the relationship between self and other, who, in the politics of the Middle East, is often seen as the enemy.  For me, it was a particular challenge and pleasure to read this book since, as an American Jew who is on a path of discovery about what it means in my life to be Jewish, there was a great deal here that I found new and challenging.  
I imagine that others with greater familiarity with the Jewish state and its history will be more familiar with much of the story but perhaps still find fascinating the ways the author is able to make use of a Jungian perspective to deepen the narrative.  Shalit offers an anamnesis that highlights the formative influences of image and mythology that infused the Zionist founders, tying them to the redemption of the desert lands in a socialist society passionately embraced along with a vision of a peaceful life with Arab neighbors.  The Hero and His Shadow offers an intelligent, sensitive, humanized perspective on the trajectory of events that led to the current tragic situation in the Middle East so specifically detailed in Ari Shavit’s recent book, My Promised Land
Shalit’s analysis reflects a skillful blending of the inner psychological and archetypal dimensions of the problem without collapsing it into a homogeneous whole.  He couples this with a particular sensitivity to the human cost and ethical failure of losing contact with the suffering face of the other, a theme which is also taken up in My Promised Land.  The central theme of Shalit’s book, however, is more psychological, focusing on the relation between hubris and nemesis, grandiosity and limitation, the projection of evil and the suffering of one’s own imperfection.  
This is not a book espousing a clear cut view of the complex problems in the Middle East, a situation in which there is no simple Archimedean perspective. In fact, if anything, Shalit’s analysis complicates those problems  – but in a helpful way that brings to light the confusion and conflicting dimensions of the inner (psychological) and outer (social historical) situation.  For example, while exploring the ways projection onto the enemy can serve both constructively in creating and maintaining ego boundaries as well as destructively in contributing to, or even creating, a state of denial and petrification, Shalit notes that relying on military strength “carries within it the seeds of vulnerability.” 
He then adds what I find to be an example of the kind of honest and grounded, practical observations throughout this book: that giving up force may be the result of a “misreading of the other.” In this light I find Shalit’s approach to be realistic and even-handed throughout, courageously and truthfully demonstrating the psychological underpinnings of militarization and religious fanaticism on both sides, the impact of the broader social and historical forces on the psychology of individuals and peoples, and the necessity for all sides to withdraw projections and wrestle with their fears and insecurities.  
There is a loss of relatedness for zealots on both sides of this conflict, each of whom are caught in destructive processes of splitting and projecting shadow onto the perceived enemy.  I particularly appreciated the emphasis on the need to transform the masculine warrior hero ideal to a more related, feminized Eros.  In one section where he discusses the yearning for a strong leader by Israelis and Palestinians who are gripped by terror and the tendency to see the world in terms of polarized opposites, Shalit comments, “peace…poses a threat to those who identify with the quest for grandiose wholeness and totality, in which there is no room for the other.”  I could not help thinking at the same time about the current situation in American politics where there is so much polarization and such limited capacity on the part of many to see self and other as part of the civic whole."

From a review in Spring Journal by Steve Zemmelman.

 

Available on Amazon



Saturday, May 20, 2017

Neumann at Eranos

Erich Neumann lecturing at Eranos

Erich Neumann at Eranos
a presentation by Riccardo Bernardini

The fifth and last session of the Asheville Jung Center Webinar based on the volume 
Turbulent Times, Creative Minds: Erich Neumann and C.G. Jung in Relationship 
will be broadcast on June 22, 2017, at 11 am ET.


Between 1948 and 1960, Neumann lectured annually at the Eranos Conferences. The papers he delivered at Eranos are among his most brilliant works. Scientific Secretary of the Eranos Foundation, Riccardo Bernardini, will offer an overview of these works and include many photographs taken at the Eranos Conferences during Neumann’s time.



Eranos was created by Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn in Ascona (Switzerland) in the early ‘30s as a interdisciplinary cultural platform. It served as the only international convention center active in Europe during the war. The Eranos Conferences wound up becoming the most important meeting point between C. G. Jung’s complex psychology and other disciplines. Eranos also represented a meeting point for Jung and his pupil, Erich Neumann. This presentation will retrace the steps of Neumann’s involvement with the Eranos project from four viewpoints: (1) Neumann’s encounter with Eranos and his intellectual contribution to the Conferences, from 1948 to 1960; (2) The impact of Eranos on Neumann’s work and the significance of his work for Eranos; (3) Neumann’s encounter and collaboration with the Eranos Archive for Research in Symbolism; (4) Neumann’s relationship with Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn. Several photographs of Jung and Neumann taken by Eranos photographer Margarethe Fellerer, belonging to the Eranos Archive, will also be shown.


Riccardo Bernardini, Ph.D., Psy.D., serves as the Scientific Secretary of the Eranos Foundation. He is also the Founding President of the postgraduate Institute of Analytical Psychology and Psychodrama (IPAP) in the “Olivetti” University District of Ivrea and a Fellow of the Association for Research in Analytical Psychology (ARPA) in Turin, Italy. His works include Jung a Eranos. Il progetto della psicologia complessa [Jung at Eranos. The Complex Psychology Project] (2011), the critical edition of C. G. Jung’s The Solar Myths and Opicinus de Canistris. Notes of the Seminar Given at Eranos in 1943 (with G. P. Quaglino and A. Romano, 2015), and the special issue of Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture dedicated to Eranos (2015).


Watch the excerpts from all the previous seminars now!
Our most recent seminar was Neumann and the Feminine. As theoretician of feminine development and the archetypal ground of the feminine in individuals and culture, Neumann had considerable influence on Jungian thinkers that followed him. Lance Owens will present as well as Israeli Jungian psychoanalyst Rina Porat. who is intimately familiar with this aspect of Neumann’s oeuvre and will summarize his views and offer her reflections on Neumann’s importance for their own thinking and practices.  Erel Shalit and Murray Stein joined as hosts in this fourth installment of the series.

The full course of this series consist of 5 webinars discussing the works of Erich Neumann as well as the relationship he shared with Jung. Participants may register for the full series of lectures for one price of $127. Participants joining anytime after the course begins can still register and catch up by watching the recorded version of prior lectures. Visit the registration page to view the free first webinar or to register for the full series.

Erich Neumann has been widely considered to be Jung's most brilliant student and heir to the mantle of leadership among analytical psychologists until his untimely death in 1960 at the age of fifty-five. Many of his works are considered classics in the field to the present day - The Origins and History of Consciousness and The Great Mother, to name just the best known among many others. Now with the publication of the correspondence between Neumann and Jung (Analytical Psychology in Exile, Princeton University Press, 2015) and of the substantial papers presented at the conference held at Kibbutz Shefayim in Israel honoring the relationship between Jung and Neumann (Troubled Times, Creative Minds, Chiron 2016), a great deal of new interest is developing in the life and works of Neumann. The five-part webinar Series is devoted to exploring the important relationship between them and discussing Neumann's works in many areas, clinical and cultural, from the perspective of analytical psychology. 



This volume of essays by well-known Jungian analysts and scholars provides the most comprehensive comparison to date between the works of C.G. Jung and Erich Neumann. Among the many specific subjects discussed are Jung and Neumann on art and religion, their views on the problem of evil, and clinical aspects of Neumann’s work. Also included are personal memories of both Jung and Neumann family members.
The book includes exclusive photos from Eranos, and several illustrations in color.

Contents:

Introduction (Erel Shalit and Murray Stein) ix

I. The Correspondence (1933–1960)
Uncertain Friends in Particular Matters: The Relationship between C. G. Jung and
Erich Neumann (Martin Liebscher) 25
Companions on the Way: Consciousness in Conflict (Nancy Swift Furlotti) 45
Neumann and Kirsch in Tel Aviv: A Case of Sibling Rivalry? (Ann Lammers) 71

II. Cultural Backgrounds
German Kultur and the Discovery of the Unconscious: The Promise and Discontents of the German-Jewish Experience (Paul Mendes-Flohr) 83
Basel, Jung’s Cultural Background and the Proto-Zionism of Samuel Preiswerk (Ulrich Hoerni) 95
The Cultural Psyche: From Ancestral Roots to Postmodern Routes (Erel Shalit) 111

III. Troubled Times
Carl Jung and Hans Fierz in Palestine and Egypt: Journey from March 13th to
April 6th, 1933 (Andreas Jung) 131
1933—The Year of Jung’s Journey to Palestine/Israel and Several Beginnings (Thomas Fischer) 135
Jungians in Berlin 1931–1945: Between Therapy, Emigration and Resistance (Jörg Rasche) 151

IV. The Problem of Evil
The Search for a New Ethic: Professional and Clinical Dilemmas (Henry Abramovitch) 167
Erich Neumann and C. G. Jung on “The Problem of Evil” (Murray Stein) 185

V. Neumann and Eranos (1948–1960)
Neumann at Eranos (Riccardo Bernardini) 199
“Dear, dear Olga!” - A Letter to Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn (Julie Neumann) 237

VI. On the Arts
The Great Mother in Israeli Art (Gideon Ofrat) 245
Jung, Neumann and Art (Christian Gaillard) 261
The Magic Flute (Tom Kelly) 299
A Brief Comment on Neumann and His Essay “On Mozart’s ‘Magic Flute’” (Debora Kutzinski) 309

VII. Clinical Contributions
Erich Neumann’s Concept of the Distress-ego (Rina Porat) 315
Can You Hear My Voice? (Batya Brosh Palmoni) 333
Neve Tzeelim—A Field of Creation and Development (Rivka Lahav) 347

VIII. On Religion
Erich Neumann and Hasidism (Tamar Kron) 367
Theological Positions in the Correspondence between Jung and Neumann (Angelica Löwe) 385

IX. On Synchronicity
Toward Psychoid Aspects of Evolutionary Theory (Joseph Cambray) 401

X. “Memories from My (Grand)Father’s House”
Introduction 411
Some Memories of My Grandparents (Andreas Jung) 413
Memories (Ulrich Hoerni) 415
Memories (Micha Neumann) 417
Memories (Ralli Loewenthal-Neumann) 421
Memories (Debora Kutzinski) 425
A Response (Thomas B. Kirsch) 429
Remembering the Mamas and Papas (Nomi Kluger Nash) 433
Memories of Max Zeller (1904–1978) (Jacqueline Zeller) 437



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Murray Stein: Outside Inside and All Around

A new book by Murray Stein

In these late essays, Murray Stein circles around familiar Jungian themes such as synchronicity, individuation, archetypal image and symbol with a view to bringing these ideas into today’s largely globalized cultural space. These are reflections for our time, drawing importantly on the works of C.G. Jung, Erich Neumann, Wolfgang Pauli and a wide range of contemporary Jungian psychoanalytic writers. The general thesis is that all of humanity is connected – to one another, to nature and to the cosmos – and no human being should be left out of the picture of postmodern consciousness.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – Outside Inside and All Around
Chapter 2 – Synchronizing Time and Eternity: A Matter of Practice
Chapter 3 – Music for a Later Age: Wolfgang Pauli’s “Piano Lesson”
Chapter 4 – A Lecture for the End of Time
Chapter 5 – “The Problem of Evil”
Chapter 6 – On Psyche’s Creativity
Chapter 7 – At the Brink of Transformation
Chapter 8 – Failure in the Crucible of Individuation
Chapter 9 – Imago Dei on the Psychological Plane
Chapter 10 – Jungian Psychology and the Spirit of Protestantism
Chapter 11 – Archetypes Across Cultural Divides
Chapter 12 – Where East Meets West:The House of Individuation
Chapter 13 – The Path from Symbol to Science
Chapter 14 – Cultural Trauma, Violence, and Treatment
Chapter 15 – Hope in a World of Terrorism – An Interview with Rob Henderson
Chapter 16 – When Symptom is Symbol

 


Available at Amazon and at Chiron

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Neumann on the Feminine

 Neumann on the Feminine

Thursday 4/27 @ 11AM ET
5pm CEST (Central European Summer Time)

Featuring 

Lance Owens, Rina Porat, Erel Shalit & Murray Stein
As theoretician of feminine development and the archetypal ground of the feminine in individuals and culture, Neumann had considerable influence on Jungian thinkers that followed him. Lance Owens will present as well as Israeli Jungian psychoanalyst Rina Porat. who is intimately familiar with this aspect of Neumann’s oeuvre and will summarize his views and offer her reflections on Neumann’s importance for their own thinking and practices.  Erel Shalit and Murray Stein will join as hosts in this fourth installment of the series.

The full course of this series consist of 5 webinars discussing the works of Erich Neumann as well as the relationship he shared with Jung. Participants may register for the full series of lectures for one price of $127. Participants joining anytime after the course begins can still register and catch up by watching the recorded version of prior lectures. Visit the registration page to view the free first webinar or to register for the full series.
Erich Neumann has been widely considered to be Jung's most brilliant student and heir to the mantle of leadership among analytical psychologists until his untimely death in 1960 at the age of fifty-five. Many of his works are considered classics in the field to the present day - The Origins and History of Consciousness and The Great Mother, to name just the best known among many others. Now with the publication of the correspondence between Neumann and Jung (Analytical Psychology in Exile, Princeton University Press, 2015) and of the substantial papers presented at the conference held at Kibbutz Shefayim in Israel honoring the publication of the correspondence (Troubled Times, Creative Minds, Chiron 2016), a great deal of new interest is developing in the life and works of Neumann. The five-part webinar Series will be devoted to exploring the important relationship between Neumann and Jung and discussing Neumann's works in many areas, clinical and cultural, from the perspective of analytical psychology. The aim of this Series is to contribute to the momentum of growing interest in the full range of Neumann's writings.



The hero and his shadow: psychopolitical aspects of myth and reality in Israel


In an era of faked and alternative news, and when Netanyahu wants the media to be his shofar, a megaphone for him, his family and his government, I was reminded of Moscow in the 1970s, which I mention in the beginning of my book The Hero and His Shadow

Return to the Source

Psychiatric diagnoses change in the course of time not only because of increasing knowledge and accumulated wisdom, but also according to the zeitgeist; that is, the prevailing collective consciousness. For instance, a biological understanding of mental phenomena is prominent during periods of conservatism, while environmental influences are accentuated during periods of greater liberalism (Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry [GAP] 1983, p. 14; Shalit & Davidson 1986, p. 61).  When one view dominates, a compensatory one thrives in the backyard.  When psychiatry and medicine are ruled by drugs, biology and technology, there is a complementary interest in alternative medicine and eco-psychology; when genes shape the soul, the psyche influences the immune system.

Psychopathology changes over time, and so, for example, anorexia – reminding us that there is a fatness of soul behind the fragility of body – takes the place of hysteria, which used to tell us that there is libido behind the girdle.  The anger and the boredom of the borderline personality replace the guilt and the internal conflict of the neurotic. Meaninglessness and alienation substitute repression and anxiety. 

A society’s prevailing collective consciousness influences the perception of psychopathology.  While visiting Moscow in the mid-1970s, I was surprised to see so many people walking in the street talking to themselves, freely hallucinating.  I realized that private madness did not disrupt the delusion of the collective, while publicly telling the truth was a malaise in need of hospital ‘treatment.’

Psychologist and society are interrelated.  This relationship becomes particularly critical when society is governed by a powerful ideology or Weltanschauung, with a concomitant stress on adaptation and conformity, or in case of a totalitarian regime.  During the years of the military junta in Argentina, many of those seeking out the psychoanalytic temenos, the protected space of therapeutic rapport, needed to know the analyst’s political stance in order to confide in him or her and to feel protected from the persecuting authorities.

Psychology (and medicine) can be put in the hands of a totalitarian regime and used for purposes of interrogation and torture.  The ultimate transformation from healer to killer, the mechanism by which one is engulfed and participates in a regime’s distortions, is described by Lifton (1986) in The Nazi Doctors.  On February 25, 1994 – half a year after the Oslo accords, which marked the beginning of a process which seemed to lead to reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians – the physician Baruch Goldstein brutally killed twenty-nine praying Muslims from behind, in the Cave of Abraham, holy both to Muslims and Jews.  His act was carried out with the sharpness of a surgeon’s scalpel, in Hebron, that most sensitive spot on the Middle East map of conflict, and may have caused an escalation in Palestinian terrorist attacks.  Yet, for both Palestinian and Israeli, all too often it seems that the destruction that follows when the shadow is cast onto the other, carries less weight than the burdensome recognition of the shadow within oneself.


Contents

Preface        The Beggar in the Hero’s Shadow       
Chapter 1    Return to the Source                
Chapter 2    From My Notebook              
Chapter 3    From Dream to Reality              
Chapter 4    Origins and Myths              
Chapter 5    From Redemption to Shadow          
Chapter 6    Wholeness Apart                
Chapter 7    Myth, Shadow and Projection       
Chapter 8    A Crack in the Mask           
Chapter 9    The Death of the Mythical and the Voice of the Soul
Glossary                            
Bibliography                       
Index



Psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote in The Red Book of the distinction between “The Spirit of the Times” and “The Spirit of the Depths”. We see this vividly demonstrated when we put Ari Shavit’s acclaimed new book My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel alongside Erel Shalit’s classic work, The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel.

The former takes us through the history of the heroic creation of Israel, including the darkest “shadow” behaviors of the Jewish state in the 1948 massacre of the Arabs of Lydda.

In the latter work, Erel Shalit tells us why.

This is no simplistic psychological analysis. The brilliance of this Israeli Jungian analyst is that he offers no easy solutions, plumbing the paradox of the necessary heroic identity of the Jewish state, and yet, around every corner is the shadow of every hero: the beggar, the frightened one, the part of all of us that is dependent on forces outside of our control.

It is also very important to note that Erel Shalit’s book is fascinating reading for anyone interested in the inner workings of the soul. On one level Israel is the backdrop for the author to explore how shadow, myth, and projection work in all of us, regardless of our life circumstance, nationality, environment, or history. It even includes a comprehensive glossary of Jungian terms that has some of the best definitions I have ever encountered, and hence a find for readers new to Jung.

And, of course, for people who are fascinated by the scope and depth of the story of Israel, this is a simply great read. It stands alone, but read as a companion to Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land, Erel Shalit’s Hero and His Shadow gives us The Spirit of the Depths in all its dimension. We may not be able to resolve the Arab/Israeli conflict, but we can learn many things from this brave, complex Israeli author, that we can apply to healing the inner and outer wars in our own lives.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Clark-Stern, author of On the Doorstep of the CastleOut of the Shadows, and Soul Stories.

This is a fascinating book. Shalit’s thesis is that when we examine the psychology of Zionism, we find two parallel but opposing trends. On the one hand, we see the hero, the warrior, the pioneer, the fearless man of doing.
   On the other hand, we see the shadow, the dark side, the Diaspora-side, the weak and fearful. We came here with our shadow. You see this dichotomy between the internal feeling of strength and forcefulness, and on the other hand a terrible fear.
   In order to properly understand Israeli society and the sometimes strange responses in certain political circumstances, we need to understand this terrible fear that is hidden within us.
Prof.  Yoram Yovell, author and psychoanalyst.

An outstanding psychological study of one of the world’s most complicated and fraught political situations.
Prof. Andrew Samuels

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Tale for Pesach


Abel Pann
The Jewish spring holiday of Pesach, Passover, or the Feast of Unleavened Bread, begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan, the first month in the Hebrew calendar's festival year, on the night of the full moon after the vernal equinox. This year, the eve of Pesach is celebrated on Monday, April 10.

A legend tells us that at the very moment the children of Israel went into the Red Sea, Mount Moriah began to move from its place, along with the altar for Isaac that had been built upon it. The whole scene had been arranged before the creation of the world. Isaac was bound and placed upon the altar, and Abraham raised his knife.


Related image
Henri-Frederic Schopin


Far away, at the Red Sea, God said to Moses, “Moses, My children are in distress, the sea is blocking their path and the enemy is pursuing them, and you stand so long praying?” Moses asked God, “What should I be doing?” God said, “Raise your staff!” Moses lifted his staff, the waters of the Red Sea parted, and on Mount Moriah the voice of the angel went forth and said to Abraham, “Do not raise your hand against the boy, or do anything to him” (Gen. 22: 12).
(A midrash from Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael)


The two events, the Parting of the Red Sea and the Binding of Isaac, do here not take place along the timeline of history, but are synchronistically juxtaposed.

In both cases, God tells his earthly representatives to raise the knife or staff: 

In the one case, God asks Abraham to reaffirm their covenant by the sacrifice of the son. The actual deed of sacrifice to the gods is then exchanged for its symbolic representation, which is a significant stage in the process of civilization and acculturation. 

In the other case, God tells Moses to stop praying and raise his staff, to do the actual deed of parting, of dividing, of differentiating the sides, which is an essential act of consciousness (separating this from that, for instance to know good from evil).

Both take place simultaneously. The one does not follow the other, and one does not take place at the exclusion of the other. The sacrifice, not as a concrete deed but as a meaningful reaffirmation of the transcendent dimension, beyond the acts of the ego, enables depth and soulfulness. However, consciousness and the actual deeds of humans in the realm of ego-reality, are equally necessary, and required for the manifestation of the soul.


The following are excerpts from the novella Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return (also available in Hebrew as חזרה: סיפור של גלות ושיבה):
. . . .


Truth was, Shimeoni essentially agreed with Derrida on many points, such as his interpretation of Abraham’s covenant with God of circumcision.

The Divine Father’s archetypal scar inflicted by generations of fathers of the flesh on generations of consent-less Jewish boys seemed to Professor Shimeoni, as indeed to Derrida, to be a repetition-compulsion, rather than the profound internalization of memory.

Related image
Jacques Derrida
He recalled Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi’s epic work Zakhor, wondering if the Jews don’t merely repeat the trauma when they cross the desert every Passover – outside of the Land of Israel even repeating the hegira a second night, perhaps to ensure that the Jews of the Diaspora do arrive to the Promised Land...

“Does not compulsive repetition constitute the dangerous engine of fundamentalism?” he wondered, “in contrast to an enlightened process of internalized memory, in order to liberate the trauma.” Is this not the very opposite of that monumental cultural transition when the knife is taken out of Abraham’s hand, turning the actual, concrete sacrifice of Isaac into the acculturated representation by his Binding, the akedah?

The knife need not actually cut, in order for man to humbly bow before the transcendent image of God. Shimeoni adhered to Einstein’s view of God, as when he says that the religious attitude is the knowledge and emotion “of a knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty,” and when he expresses his belief in the God of Spinoza “who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.”

. . . .

Truly, he repeated to himself, the binding of Isaac signifies this striking cultural transition from literalness to symbolic representation.
God told Abraham there is no need for complete sacrifice, only a sacrifice of the complete (shalem), in order to be seen (yireh), to be recognized, to be named, to become completely human. He will suffice with sacrifice-by-proxy.

Yosef Haim Yerushalmi
Rather than being trapped in the harsh reality of actual deed, reality can be transformed into images; rather than slaying the flesh of the son, the soul can expand by the creation of images that represent reality. By substituting the sacrificial animal for the actual son, the story of the akedah represents the separation of meaning from act, which is essential to culture and civilization.

But war is the destruction of representation and civilization, said Eli to himself, thereby arguing with Heraclitus that War is the Father of All. The tragedies on the battlefield are all too real and irreversible, and the essence of trauma of battle and war and Holocaust, is the loss of the representative symbol – all that remains is the hellish repetition of trauma.
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Nothing represents the loss of symbolization more than the survivor from hell who holds on to a dry slice of bread. In hell, there are no mirrors and no images, no images in the mirror, only the bare walls of suffocation. In the cruel reality of war, the knife is raised and the angels circle above, repeatedly descending, attempting to divert the hand that holds the knife from descending upon the son, until the angels have all gone, and the son is no longer bound but sacrificed, the knife ripping out the soul of life and Isaac laughs no more.


         Chag Sameach! חג חרות שמח