Skip to content

16 March 2012 (Who boiled the water? | お湯を沸かしたのは誰?)

March 16, 2012

When we were at a market the other day, I saw a vegetable vendor speaking in Hebrew to a customer who was talking back to him in Arabic. But they seemed to be understanding each other perfectly.

“Was one of them speaking in Hebrew and the other in Arabic?” I asked Yuval just to confirm.

Yes, he replied, then said, “Oh, that reminds me of something I saw the other day that even I had a hard time believing,” and then proceeded to tell me the story.

It was definitely a story I wanted to share here, and figured why not let the man himself tell it. So without further ado, here is Yuval with his first guest post!

先日市場にいた時のこと。
ある野菜屋さんのおじさんがヘブライ語であるお客さんに話していたのですが、
お客さんは彼にアラビア語で答えている様子。
でも明らかにコミュニケーションになんの弊害はなさそうなのです。

「あの二人、一人がヘブライ語、もう一人がアラビア語で会話してるの?」
と確認のためユバルに聞いてみました。
そうだよと答えた後、
「あれで思い出した。この間僕でもびっくりするような事があったんだ。」
とあるちょっとした出来事を話してくれました。

このブログでも紹介したくなるような話で、
どうせならユバル本人に伝えてもらえばということになりました。
ですので皆様、ユバルの初のゲスト投稿をどうぞ!
(英語のオリジナルを私が翻訳しました)

* * * * *

Hi Everyone,

My name is Yuval and I guess those of you who have been following Kaori’s blog over the last year or so know me as Y. turned into Yuval.

Today I was finally invited to do something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time, which is to write a ‘Guest Post’ (jeez, I feel like a radio star on ‘This American Life’ just by the sound of it).

So, here it is from last Tuesday (true story).

**************************************

It was around 5 pm, and I was about an hour away from home when I stopped at a gas station half way from Tel Aviv to our countryside Kibbutz for a coffee break. I entered the convenience store located next to the pumps and situated between an Arab bakery and one of the coffee shop chains always to be found in Israeli gas stations, picked up a can of cold coffee and went to the counter to pay.

When I got there I saw a young religious looking Jewish man talking to the two Arab guys behind the counter.

“We have a special deal this month,” said the younger of the two to the religious looking guy. “If you spend more than 20 shekels (5 Dollars) you can get an espresso for only two shekels.”

“And… who is boiling the water?” I was amazed to hear the religious guy’s answer.

The two Arab guys looked puzzled. It was clear they had no idea what the Jewish man was talking about, and they didn’t understand the question.

“Well, the machine is boiling the water,” the younger one replied.

“Ah, and who does the machine belong to?” the religious costumer continued.

“To the chain,” came the answer.

At this stage, the two guys behind the counter were starting to get agitated. Though clueless about the reason behind these strange questions, they seem to understand that it had something to do with fact that they were Arab.

As I saw the looks they exchanged with each other I decided it was time to step in and stop what was obviously about to end badly.

“It’s a kosher thing,” I told them from where I was waiting behind the religious man.

“What do you mean?” the older man looked at me.

“He belongs to those who believe that Jews should only eat and drink what was prepared by Shabbat observing Jews,” I answered.

“You are joking,” the young Arab said.

“No, he wouldn’t drink it even if I made it. Just ignore it, he is not allowed to take it and just doesn’t know how to say it.”

The young religious Jew turned toward me embarrassed.

“Thank you, I didn’t want to be rude so I asked about the water. This way it does not sound racist,” he said.

“Next time just say no,” I told him, “only Jews know these things and it sounds terrible to those who don’t.”

“You’re right,” he answered as he turned back to the two Arab guys at the counter.

“Thank you and I am sorry,” he told them and left the shop.

The two guys looked at him leaving, looked at each other, and then at me.

“What was that? Is he crazy?” the older one asked me.

“In a way he is,” I answered as I paid for my coffee and turned for the door.

“Drive safely!” The younger one shouted after me.

* * * * *

皆さんこんにちは、ユバルです。

今日初めて、ずっとやってみたいと思っていたゲスト投稿を頼まれました。

今週火曜日の出来事です(本当に起きた話です)。

**************************************

時刻は午後5時頃。
テルアビブから帰宅途中、家まであと約1時間ぐらいの地点で休憩することにしました。
ガソリンスタンドに隣接し、アラブ系のパン屋さんとカフェチェーン店に挟まれたコンビニに入り、
缶コーヒーを選びレジに向かいました。

レジにたどり着くと、信心深そうな若いユダヤ人男性客が
二人のアラブ人男性従業員と話していました。

「今月は特別なキャンペーンをやっています、」と若いほうの従業員が説明していました。
「20シェケル(約445円)以上の買い物をすると、
エスプレッソ一杯がたったの2シェケルになります。」

「、、、お湯を沸かしているのは誰ですか?」
というユダヤ人男性の問いかけに、僕は耳を疑いました。

アラブ人の二人はきょとんとした様子。
明らかにユダヤ人男性が何のことを話しているのか、質問の意味自体全く理解していません。

しばらくの沈黙の後、
「お湯沸かし器がお湯を沸かしています。」と若いほうが答えました。

「ではお湯沸かし器は誰のものですか?」とユダヤ人。

「コンビニのチェーンのものです。」

この時点で二人のアラブ人従業員は明らかにいら立ち始めていました。
不思議な質問の意味は彼らにとって不明でしたが、
彼らがアラブ人であることに関係していると理解したようです。

雰囲気がこれ以上悪くなる前に、会話に立ち入ることにしました。

「カーシェールの問題なんだよ、」と僕は信心深い男性の後ろで待っていた位置から言いました。

「どういう意味?」と年上の従業員。

「彼はシャバートをちゃんと守っているユダヤ人が準備した食べ物と飲み物しか
受け取ってはいけないと信じる部類なんだ。」

「冗談だろ」と若いほうの従業員。

「本当だよ、もし僕がコーヒーを準備したとしたとしても、彼は飲まないさ。
気にしないで、彼は単に受け取れないのだけど、
それをどうやってあなた達に説明するかがわからなかっただけなんだ。」

ここでユダヤ人男性は恥ずかしそうに僕に振り返りました。

「ありがとう、失礼な言い方をしたくなかったからお湯のことを聞いたんだ。
この聞き方だと人種差別的じゃないでしょう。」

「次回はノー、いりません、と言えばいいんだ。
ユダヤ人しか知らないことだし、知らない人にとってはすごく悪く聞こえてしまうよ。」

「あなたはの言う通りだ。」彼はカウンターのアラブ人二人のほうへ向き直しました。

「ありがとう、そしてごめんなさい。」と彼は言い、店から出て行きました。

二人のアラブ人従業員は店を出て行くユダヤ人の姿を見送った後、
お互いに向き合ってから、僕をみました。

「今のは何?彼は狂ってるのか?」と年上の従業員。

「ある意味そうだな、」と言いながら僕はコーヒーの支払いを済ませ、出口へ向かいました。

「気をつけて運転してください!」と若い従業員の声を背に、店を出ました。

Much love,
Kaori (and Yuval)

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Abby permalink
    March 17, 2012 12:01 am

    Yuval,

    That’s a great story. And great how you stepped in to bridge the cultural divide.

    I hope you will guest blog again soon.

    Abby

    PS. Mazal tov on your recent nuptials!

    • Yuval permalink
      March 17, 2012 9:00 am

      Hi Abby,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      I’ll be happy to post more, but K. need to approve it first.

      Yuval

  2. March 19, 2012 12:10 am

    What a great story. Kaori, you’re lucky to have a partner who can write so eloquently about relevant things — mine can’t seem to move beyond relating all topics to the universal significance of basketball. Yuval’s guest posts (I also hope he writes more!) could even come with a Hebrew translation too.

    • Yuval permalink
      March 19, 2012 6:42 pm

      Hi Katie,
      I’m glad you liked the story, and PLEASE encourage
      K. this way more😉

    • March 19, 2012 8:10 pm

      I would actually love to hear some things in relation to the significance of basketball, it might be interesting! Although I must admit, maybe not on ALL topics…🙂

      Yuval is quite the story teller, and he is all about the details! I hope he guest posts again soon. The Hebrew element is something I thought of too and hope to include it next time.

      He used to write stories while living in Japan and would send it out to his friends in Word documents. Too bad it was before the blog world caught on fire!

  3. March 21, 2012 9:40 pm

    Ah, cultural differences. And there can be similarities. While in Paris recently for a residency, we made friends with a Tunisian glass artist (he was wearing a NY Yankee cap & at first I thought he was an American.) He and my husband met up for some tea and to speak about glass art. He told my husband he didn’t drink wine and was a practicing Muslim. I invited him for dinner and told him that I’d cook fish, the meal would have no meat. He was delighted that I understood and a few weeks later took us to a hallal restaurant. I said that we get it, Hallal, Kosher, and he understood that Muslims and Jews getting together over food was a very good thing. Thanks for this post.

    • March 22, 2012 6:28 am

      That is beautiful Mim! That image of you, your husband, and that man sharing delicious food and understanding each other makes me happy.

Trackbacks

  1. 18 March 2012 « Meuleh! מעולה | Meuleh | メウレ

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: