Meir in the Middle

Course Chabala

We need 3 volunteers to stay for the second days of chag…

Way back in imun mitkadem (advanced training) we were told we were to become the machleket chabala- the explosives company in the brigade- and would be sent to Bahalatz for a monthlong intensive certification course. 

Since I’m always looking to pimp up my army shidduch resume, I was totally looking forward to adding another qualification.

Army shidduch resume unfinished rough draft:


Acting Fake Sephardi (singing “ha auto sheli/ ha yofi shelach” immediately expunges any suspicions of my paternal gefilte fish heritage)

Being Tzair (do you think our Samal will give me his Nov ’10 hat?!?)

Overcoming adversity (non-toilet paper-cooked tuna fish)

Should I put this chabala goggles selfie on the cover page??

Should I put this chabala goggles selfie on the cover page??

We need 3 volunteers to stay for the second days of chag…

Located far from something and close to nothing, getting to and from Bahalatz is justifiably complainable about. Attaching a jet pack to a local camel is a prob a better bet than waiting for the bus that freaking wanders through the desert for 40 years, that 12 spies/ tironim sent to scout out still couldn’t tell you when it’s going to arrive.

Someone get me a cloud and some manna

Someone get me a cloud and some manna

On the way I get to thinking: I’m cool w/ conversational Hebrew, so learning all these complex technical explosive terms should be charta barta, right?

After introducing myself to the instructor at the end of our first lesson as: Hi! I have no idea what’s going on! she assures me not to worry, “we translated the difficult terms for u” and hands me a packet that says ‘Sabotage and Mining Dictionary.’ Sabotaging Miners. That will definitely have to be reworded for the army shidduch resume.

We need 3 volunteers to stay for the second days of chag…

We have to pass both physical and theoretical tests so I’m studying my tachat off- which is great because I’m pretty sure my brain hasn’t been stimulated since last November.

There are study breaks of course.

Speaking of, my friend David doesn’t know it but he’s now indirectly responsible if the Israeli Army becomes momentarily distracted. David showed me how download a Gameboy app for iPhone- which means I can play Pokemon on my phone. Word gets out after I’m seen playing during a break, and by mid afternoon not only does half of my machlaka- commanders included- have it on their phones, but the guys from Maglan, Duvdevan, and Egoz also taking the course want in- making me the most popular person on Bahalatz and effectively earning David a spot on Israeli Mount Rushmore.

See, even they get it

See, even they get it 

We need 3 volunteers to stay for the second days of chag…

Blowing things up is as fun as it sounds and our first time applying our knowledge in the field is akin to igniting a bag of poop on someone’s doorstep and getting away just in time.

Meir: Alright we good?

Dror: Yeh just one more second

Dori: Nu mah?!

Dror: I pull this thing now, right?

Dori: Yes, ya ahabal, didn’t you pay attention during the lessons?

Dror: Candy Crush…

Habad: Alright we’re ready!!

Everyone: Okay okay go go go!!!! RUN!!!!!! 

As you probably noticed by its reiteration throughout, this volunteer thing is casting a looming shadow over everything and can only be avoided for so long. If people don’t volunteer then no one goes home. And as of 9 pm we have no one.

Hey Naor, did you know there’s a swimming pool here you can access aaaalllllllllllll weekend?

Make that one.

And as if it’s being closed when I volunteered stopped us from making one.

Holding a public group therapy session is our commanders’ decided method of solving this predicament. We’re told to sit outside in a circle and that “we’re gonna all take turns saying what we feel.” I can’t decide if I’m in an AA meeting or about to vent how no one wants to trade chocolate frosted Dunkaroos for vanilla because I’m pretty sure the last time I was told to sit in a circle and share my feelings about how people aren’t being fair WAS IN THIRD GRADE.

I have carte Blanche to say/ argue whatever with whomever because I volunteered to stay the first days of chag. My turn went something like this:


Getting volunteers to stay for the weekend has been, and will always be, a problem. And the most infuriating part is there are people who have admittedly never volunteered are still refusing to.

After three hours THREE. HOURS. of bickering, convening, and convincing, (I even start arguing in english because I have zero koach left) we finally get our 3 volunteers.

Yea we pass the exams, execute the drills, and even get official sabotaging miner certification cards upon completing the course. But this volunteer thing leaves an indelible stain on the whole thing. It sucks that when I look back at our Machlaka’s defining course this is what I’m going to remember most.


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