I am not reading the book of the same name by Leon Uris, nor am I watching a re-run of The Ten Commandments. It is simply that as Passover approaches, my thoughts inevitably turn to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. I have been with groups with Israelis, and they are NOT an easy group to travel with at the best of times. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for Moses to lead this group of people from a known slavery to an unknown, and most likely, unimagined freedom.
A few years ago I joined a group of Israeli war widows for a tour of the Pyrenees and Basque country.
This tour was advertised for what it was, a week in the spanish side of the Pyrenees, and the Basque country. The itinerary laid out the towns in which we would stay and the areas we would see each day. We were not embarking on a journey into unknown and unchartered territory.
On the very first day, after traveling a few hours through rugged mountains and gorges, the woman sitting next to me declared that she had enough of scenery, she wanted to go shopping. "When will we get to Madrid?" she inquired. I told her that this tour did not include Madrid. She hadn't realized this, she saw a tour to Spain and arranged to come on the trip without reading any further.
This scenery she could see in the Golan heights - we would have days of scenery, how awful. If only she had realized ....
Others agreed with her. Furthermore, the restaurants didn't serve kosher food. This caused further rumblings. Some others seemed to understand that they wouldn't get kosher food in Basque country. They brought cans of food with them, and were not inclined to share this with the others who had not had this foresight.The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao - maybe the architecture was interesting, but who wanted to waste time in museums? Cathedrals are of no interest whatsoever. Guernica - yes, awful what happened to the civilians there, right now there were suicide bombings in Israel, Guernica was even before the Second World War.
The accommodations were not good, even the weather was not up to par - too cold and rainy. In short, it seemed that many of the participants were utterly miserable from the moment we left until we returned. I can only surmise that they were, in fact, quite miserable both before and after the tour.And so I think of the exodus, the decades before, and the decades after.