Garin Tzabar flexed its connections this weekend, via a deal with the army that released garin members on Thursday morning. The idea is that twice a year all garin members share a shabbat together on kibbutz, a rarity considering our various schedules. While seeing the rest of the garin is great, most garin members would agree that the best part is earning an extra chamshush, the prize every soldier dreams about of starting a leave weekend early on Thursday (rather than Friday morning, per usual). Waking up late Friday morning at home, missing out at the craziness that typifies the four AM wakeups on base on Fridays, is more precious than diamonds. And so my entire garin had an extra kink in their smiles when they got together on kibbutz Thursday evening.
Except me. For reasons that defy understanding, my commander informed me earlier in the week that contrary to instruction, he would release me at the usual hour on Friday morning. I understand, sir, I told him at the time. My inner disappointment, of course, only grew as Thursday evening proceeded and we did nothing of great importance on base. It hardly helped when I made it to kibbutz around one PM the next day and heard that one of the guys in Givati had gotten off on Wednesday afternoon! His commanders had misinterpreted the order to mean he had to be home by ten AM on Thursday and so, wolla, he had a chamshush that knew no bounds.
A friend of mine in a top Paratrooper unit told me before I joined up that after two years in the army, the major lesson he has learned is how to deal with disappointment. I moved closer towards mastering that lesson this weekend, though no doubt there will be many more chances to master its implications in the weeks to come!
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