Friday, August 12, 2011

Tekes Hashbah

Me with my "model soldier of the company" award

Wednesday night we had our ceremony for finishing basic training. Apparently we weren't special enough to have parents and guests at our ceremony, lame, and it was just held in the middle of our company area on base, nothing special. On the contrary, however, it was something very special.

After we lined up in formation I went with a few other girls to get the "Tanachim" or, as you may know it, the Old Testament books. My commander handed me a stack of 20 of the books (each soldier receives one) and I can't begin to explain the infiltration of emotions that I felt. I'll try to explain anyway. I turned to the other girls I was with and said something along the lines of..."wow, I can't believe how amazing this is! we are having a ceremony in the army, a organization that is part of the government of the country, and we are swearing in on the TANACH!" I continued to say that I am not used to this and emphasized how truly amazing it felt. In the US, give or take the PC society as of late, we are used to (at least on TV) swearing in on the bible. But this was the tanach, the Jewish bible! in HEBREW! how cool.

After having our run-through of the ceremony with our commander and cracking up laughing on multiple occasions when people messed up or said the wrong thing, the ceremony commenced. As one by one we went up to swear in on our gun and the tanach I slowly started to become overwhelmed with emotions (read: cry). My commander was tearing up in front of me which REALLY didn't help and when I was "on deck" and moved up face to face with her I couldn't look her in the eyes (even though she was looking at me) because I would have lost it. I think I've mentioned it 3 or 4 times already in various entries but she is adorable. My turn to swear, "ani nishbat," and run up to the platoon commander to get handed my gun and the tanach. My platoon commander told me to look at the ground and said something cheesy and perfect along the lines of...this is your land now, the land you chose to defend, etc etc. followed by a punch to the shoulder (sign of affection in the army, i have come to find out) and a "good luck." I promptly started balling my eyes out and got back in line. Next up was the national anthem, Hatikvah, of which I tried to sing but was a little too choked up to get most of it out.

I ended up getting the "model soldier of the company" award, which is pretty cool, and had a few nice words said to me from the company commander before all was said and done.

After everyone started giggling because the commander instructed us incorrectly with our stances and gun positions for the exiting of the company commander, platoon commanders, and group commanders, the ceremony was over...just as "unspecial" as it had started, but totally not, at the same time.

Maybe the second best part of the whole evening (second to the Tanach realization aspect) was right after the ceremony ended. One of our commanders gave us 1 min 30 sec to run to the shooting line to do our last nightly gun check. After we repeat, "yes, commander, 1 min 30 seconds" and begin hustling over to where the line is she yelled, "and if you're walking....FEAR ME!!!" It's hard to explain why this was so funny but when you're used to everything being overly serious between you and your commanders anything they say "out-of-line" is really funny, especially the way she said it. We all started cracking up, myself included, through all of the tears I still had running down my cheeks. I got to the line with the biggest smile on my tear-soaked face, and was completely lost in the moment for that last gun check.

What an amazingly fun, frustratingly memorable, difficult, yet at the same time easy...and wonderful...3 weeks. I can't wait to see what the rest of my service brings me :)

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