While I love being here in Israel - the atmosphere, the quiet of Shabbat, the profusion of funny shaped and colored and textured head coverings for both genders - there is one thing that really bugs me (or at least just one thing that I will kvetch about at the moment). Israelis - at least Yerushalmis - have a really irritating habit of sounding their car horns whenever, wherever possible for as long as possible and - & this is the important part - for as little reason as possible. Why wait patiently and quietly for a red light to turn (yellow then) green when you can honk on your horn in the mistaken apprehension that the רמזור or traffic light will actually hear you and change color more quickly? Or... that the people in the cars in front of you will decide to stop honking their horns and pay attention to yours and drive right through the red light? This technique is especially useful at, say, 1, 2 or even 3 in the morning when everyone else in their right mind is in bed and you are cruising around downtown J'slem with your music blasting and your horn tooting away at lights.
Okay, I'm grousing... and I could go on for pages but I think you get my drift. I've been kept awake for too many nights here by these horns to allow myself to totally unload my frustration on you, my poor unsuspecting reader. However, I do have to mention one more instance of horn blowing which might actually be my favorite. It's when the drivers in the cars start sending coded messages to each other with their beeps (btw, this is occurring right outside my mirpeset - patio- as I type this. I'd include a sound bite in the blog but haven't figured out how). They beep in unison, they toot in code, they honk in harmony, and they have contests as to who can honk the loudest and the longest.
My funny and somewhat cynical flat mate Karen recently explained that all this horn beeping and blowing is actually d'oraita - from the Torah.
Prooftext: Psalm 150 verse 3a, 5, 6
ג: הַלְלוּהוּ בְּתֵקַע שׁוֹפָר
ה: הַלְלוּהוּ בְצִלְצְלֵי־שָׁמַע הַלְלוּהוּ בְּצִלְצְלֵי תְרוּעָה
ו: כֹּל הַנְּשָׁמָה תְּהַלֵּל יָ הּ הַלְלוּיָ הּ
3a. Blast out for Yah with piercing shofar note!...
5. Ring out for Yah with cymbals that resound!
Clang out for Yah with cymbals that rebound!
6. Let every living thing Yah's praises sing, Hallelu/Yah!*
Gotta go bury my head under my pillow now....* Translation from Kol Haneshama - the Reconstructionist Siddur