Three days later and three thousand miles away, I'm still thinking about this damn dream I had about Menachem Begin. Unless you know your Israel Prime Ministers of yore, this name means nothing. That's fine. I hadn't a clue or care until I visited the Begin museum in Jerusalem.
Actually when I think about it, my first introduction to him was in the Amos Oz book, "In the Land of Israel." When I asked who Begin was, my question was met with a semi eye roll and a correction, "It's BAY-GIN."
Enough back story. If you really want to hear about Begin, and he is really an interesting and complex figure, do it here.
I came to in the dream and I was sitting across from Begin. We were on low benches on opposing walls. My hands were on my knees and he was in the same position. We were in a bunker of some sort, which was small, a little too warm and completely silent. The air felt thick and the fact that we weren't talking made it really uncomfortable. There wasn't a war outside, I don't think, and I didn't feel as if we were in danger.
I was trying to read Begin's face. I wasn't sure, since I entered the dream mid-conversation, if it was my turn to speak. The inscrutable expression on his face wasn't helping. He was wearing those big clunky black rimmed glasses and it was impossible to see his eyes.
And then somehow I realized that in fact, he was dead. I was sitting in a bunker with a ghost. For whatever reason this didn't scare me. I didn't ask myself if I too was a ghost. I was just trying to think of the right thing to say to the former Prime Minister. He'd had a hard life and complex political legacy. He'd screwed up the war in Lebanon. He never really recovered from the loss of his beloved wife.
And that's when I saw that tears were streaming down his face. He didn't make a sound, his face completely still. He was just so incredibly, deeply sad. That was it. I tried to absorb some of his grief. I had no idea what to say.
It was then that it occurred to me in this silent exchange that he'd come to me because I too was lost in my own sadness. Just me and Begin.
How weird is that?