Last week, I drove with my wife toward the coastline to do a little seaside touring. As we were driving there, she mentioned that someone in her family was going for a vacation to Austria.
“Austria?” I blurted, nearly losing control of the wheel. “Why would any Jew in Israel want to go to Austria?”
“For the mountains and the scenery,” she answered.
At that very moment, we reached the intersection of Highway 4, just before Tel Aviv, leading north toward Haifa. Coming out of the turn, the first thing you see is the mountain of garbage – the municipal dump that has long been a landmark on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.
Every time, I see it, its beauty overwhelms me. To me it is one of the most beautiful mountains in the world, just behind Mount Moriah, Mount Herman, and Mount Tabor. The sight of it is literally breathtaking.
Soon, it will be even more majestic, now that they are converting it into a grass-covered national park, ironically named after Ariel Sharon. But, right now, it’s still Garbage Mountain.
“Why go to Austria when we have magnificent and holy mountains here?” I asked my wife. “Just look! Can anything be more beautiful than a mountain of Jewish garbage in the Holy Land? It has to be one of the natural wonders of the world. Let’s stop and take some pictures!”
“We’re on the way to an outing,” she said.
“I know,” I answered. “What a wonderful place to start!”
I am absolutely serious. In my eyes, the mountain of garbage overlooking Tel Aviv is more wondrous than Everest. After two thousand years of exile in foreign lands, not only has the Almighty given us back our cherished Homeland, He has given us such an overabundance of blessings that we have an abundance of refuse too! A whole mountain of excess trash. If Moses were here to see it, he would crawl up to its summit on his hands and his knees, kissing every piece of litter on the way to the top! Who needs Austria and the Alps?
Later that evening, I was so moved by the memory of the Garbage Mountain that I picked up my notebook and scribbled a poem.
ODE TO THE MOUNTAIN I LOVE
O holy Garbage Mountain, I love you so greatly.
In my wonderstruck eyes, you look so noble and stately.
Even though you aren’t the tallest on earth,
You fill my heart with rapturous mirth.
Everest, Rushmore, and the Alps are sublime,
But for all of their grandeur, they’re simply not mine.
Even though you are only a mountain of zevel,
Compared to you, the rest are all hevel.
Though your slopes are made of refuse that people don’t want to eat,
Each time I pass by you, your aroma smells sweet.
For you are a holy mountain of garbage in Israel and that makes you blessed,
Placing you head and shoulders over all of the rest.
PS – anyone interested in purchasing a poster size blow-up of the Holy Garbage Mountain, can order through this blog. We will also be happy to arrange shipments of its trash overseas via Zim Lines. Two month delivery guaranteed. Price is $80,000 per 200 kilos. It’s the perfect addition to your living room planter, front lawn, or Diaspora garden.Tzvi Fishman
About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. His recent movie "Stories of Rebbe Nachman" will be available soon as a DVD.The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.
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