Tuesday, October 6, 2009

When to Sacrifice: Hachzarat Garin

In the previous note I mentioned the Hachzarat Garin, the song-and-dance show my garin performed on kibbutz to introduce our name (Hineini) and thank our host families. Following the show my entire garin was mobbed by family and friends (including the visiting religious Garin from Kibbutz Lavi), all of whom gushed how impressed they where with our flawless performance. I am sure many in my garin were like me, a smile planted firmly on my face as I thought "If only they knew how close the garin came to imploding during the endless practices. Looks nice now but whew, not sure if all the resentment was worth the final product."

Case in point: Two hours before the show began, the organizers called for one final rehearsal. I was exhausted and not in the least convinced that further practice was necessary. My exhaustion was purely my own fault, of course, as the previous evening I had bused to Jerusalem from kibbutz to watch a 2:30 AM football game with my father. I realized that from the garin's perspective, my dad and I sharing the game detracted from the group's ability to rehearse and hence smacked of selfishness. But I went anyway, leaving several very resentful members of the garin in my wake.

At 6:15 AM the game ended and my father immediately went to asleep. The plan was I would follow suit and then later in the day we would together drive up to kibbutz, arriving shortly after twelve in order to give me a few hours before the 4:00 show to join my garin in the final rehearsals. The garin members that were upset when I peaced out last night would not be any happier at my missing the practices scheduled for the morning. But it seemed terribly irrational as well as unnecessarily exhausting for me to grab an early morning bus back to kibbutz for a few extra practices that most objective observers would define as overkill. We had been rehearsing ad nauseam for days and I had only avoided spending Sunday and Monday with my family out of a desire to join my garin for the first few days of preparation. Or so I reminded myself as I snuggled into bed in Jerusalem.

Three hours later I was back in kibbutz. Why? What prevented me from nodding off in Jerusalem? Why had I returned for hours more of tedious play practice?

I cannot say I returned for my garin. The reason I suddenly decided to bus back to Beit Shean Valley had nearly everything to do with respecting my parents. Granting my father a chance to properly sleep, and preventing my family from arriving three hours before my show (there is precious little to do on kibbutz in the oppressive heat of the afternoon), were my reasons. I was not pleased about annoying my garin with my absence. But family rather than garin is what I was prepared to sacrifice for Tuesday morning.

In the end our garin show went off without a hitch, everyone smiled and I snapped a cute picture with my two sets of parents and sisters. But behind my smile I could not help but ponder the lessons of the sacrifice I had made that morning.

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