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Some time ago I was standing in a long line before the check-in counter at an airport in the United States. There was quite a delay in reaching that counter because a young woman was having a great difficulty because her suitcase was overweight. The airlines are very strict in enforcing weight limits on luggage, especially because charging for luggage and overcharging for overweight luggage has proven to be very lucrative and profitable.

In any event, with regard to the suitcase that she was checking in, she was apparently 4 or 5 pounds overweight.  To try and avoid the additional charge, she began to unpack her suitcase before a crowd of overly curious people. Somehow, she had to find a place for some of her items, either in her carry-on or on her person. I felt very sorry for the young woman because in effect this was a public humiliation that was being visited upon her.
She ended up wearing two jackets and an overcoat inside an airport terminal building where the temperature was at least 72°F. Of course, the lesson here is that one should think ahead and pack wisely before coming to the airport and proceeding to the check-in counter. But that is not the usual way that people function. We are all convinced that no matter how repeatedly we are warned against luggage that is overweight, we somehow feel that those few extra pounds, most of which we really don't need on our trip but feel we cannot do without, will not cause us difficulty The airlines naturally delight in charging extra fees for extra weight and therefore they will be scrupulously exact in weighing the luggage. And it's the impasse with human nature that can be witnessed on a regular basis at any airport check-in counter in the world.
Over the past century and a half, the Jewish people, individually and as a whole, slowly but steadily began their return to the land of Israel. Like all travelers, these Jews came with their luggage which contained things that were completely unnecessary and irrelevant to their new situation in a resurrected Jewish homeland and national state.
And just like this is true regarding airline check-in counters, so too there has been a price to be paid for the overweight national and personal luggage of the Jewish people returning to the land of Israel. All the difficulties, disputes, mindsets and distortions of life that the millennia long exile inflicted upon us has been packed into our luggage and brought here to the nascent and miraculous Jewish state.
And here we have begun to unpack our luggage in front of the entire world. Some of the extra, unnecessary and in many cases unwanted excess baggage items have thankfully been discarded. But much of it has been simply repacked, resembling the poor young woman that was wearing two jackets and an overcoat, marching through an already warm airport.
Bitter ethnic divisions still exist here in our wonderful little country. The old discriminations and divisions that marked Jewish Eastern Europe life and society have not completely disappeared. The current fracturing of Israeli society, as represented by the plethora of political parties competing for office, is only a replay of the Jewish elections that took place in Eastern Europe almost two centuries ago.
In the exile it was rather easy for everyone in the Jewish world to beat their own drum.  There was no such thing as a united Jewish community that was recognized by the authorities that controlled the life and society of our ancestors. The Czars, Kaisers and emperors of Europe saw the Jewish people as being monolithic and capable of assimilation into the general society.
The Jews however saw themselves as individuals, with everyone having the right to not only to their opinion but to their own way of behavior and mindset. The idea that a national mindset had to be created, and that the sense of responsibility for the whole and not just for the individual was demanded of us, was not present and is not represented currently in Jewish life in the diaspora.
However, a national state can ill afford not to have such a national mindset in order to be successful. It demands that our suitcases be packed cleverly, with an eye to the dreaded scale that will measure whether it has to be unpacked once more.
Shabbat shalom
Berel Wein

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