The big no news event this week is my new miniature amplifier and speaker. I carry it everywhere and can project my voice to the most distant tourist. You might think that with only one or two tourists at a time, the usual size of my tour groups, they couldn’t be standing too far from me. That is true and I only use my PA system when I want to play some music for my small tour group. I played Ave Maria through the system, for a lady who visited the St. Anne’s church with me the other day. The sound reverberating great cavity of the church bounced the Ave Maria from one side of the church to the other. It was magnificent to say the least and has created a new dimension in guiding for me.

Last week I finally went to the Tel Aviv Opera House to see and hear Turandot. The music, the singing, the color; it was amazing. I don’t have words.

It turned out that Mizrahi bank had purchased all the tickets and I, not being an employee of the bank, was left out in the cold but a kind usher took pity on me, coming all the way from Jerusalem, and let me in for free.

All the way back to Jerusalem in the middle of the night the grand finale of Calaf’s triumph in winning the heart of Turandot, was still ringing in my ears.

Calaf, the son of the deposed, good king, had to answer three questions to win the heart of Turandot, the cruel princess, who rules the country and executes people at the slightest whim. If he answers correctly he’ll have the right to marry the beautiful Turandot. By marrying her he will become the rightful leader of the nation. If he doesn’t know the answers he’ll be beheaded like the other suitors before him.

These are the three questions he must answer correctly.

“What is born each night and dies each dawn?” The Prince correctly replies, “Hope.”

“What flickers red and warm like a flame, but is not fire?” The Prince thinks for a moment before replying, “Blood”.

“What is like ice, but burns like fire?” As the prince thinks, Turandot taunts him. Suddenly he cries out victory and announces, “Turandot!”

The cruel princess, angry that her questions have been answered correctly and that now she must marry Calaf, refuses. Calaf then makes another deal with her:

If she can find out his name by dawn he will die, if not she will be his bride.

The search for the name goes on all night. The only people who know his name are his old father and a young servant girl, who’s in love with him. Turndot has them tortured but they don’t reveal his name and they die.

Turandot is amazed that the love and loyalty these people have for Calaf is so great that they’re ready to die for him. The loyalty they demonstrate impresses Turandot so much that she relents and she finally falls in love with love.

Love triumphs. Turandot is vanquished by the love and loyalty which the people have for a good leader, Calaf; they have died in the name of love in order to have a leader who will rule them with love and kindness.

The moral of the story is therefore that the ordinary people of a nation, show extraordinary strength by being prepared to die for love and loyalty. Their reward is a good leader. People, who aren’t prepared to be strong, not opposing injustice, have a cruel leader who causes them suffering.

A nation must be prepared, even to die, to earn the right to be governed sympathetically and so wisely.

Wishing you a great no news day

Yours truly.


The information about the opera Turandot was taken from Wikipedia