“DVEKUT BA MESIMA”
The following passage is from Lieutenant Giora Romm, the first fighter-pilot ace [shooting down five enemy planes] of the Israel Air Force:
When I was fifteen [in 1960], I applied for and was accepted into a new military boarding school associated with the Reali School in Haifa. I don’t believe there is an institution in Israel today that can measure up to the standards of that school. Why did I want to go there? I wanted to test myself.
At that time in Israel the ideal to which an individual aspired was inclusion as part of a “serving elite.” The best of the best were not motivated by money or fame. Their aim was to serve the nation, to sacrifice their lives if necessary. At the military boarding school, it was assumed that every graduate would volunteer for a fighting unit, the more elite the better. We studied, we played sports, we trekked. We hiked all over Israel. We were unbelievably strong physically. But what was even more powerful were the precepts the school hammered into our skulls.
First: complete the mission.
The phrase in Hebrew is Dvekut baMesima.
Mesima is “mission,” dvekut means “glued to.” The mission is everything. At all costs, it must be carried through to completion.
I remember running up the Snake Trail at Masada one summer at 110 degrees Fahrenheit with two of my classmates. Each of us would sooner have died than be first to call, “Hey, slow down!”
The Lion’s Gate, pp. 14-15
Readers sometimes take me to task for making so many analogies to battles and actions of war.
But you and I are warriors.
We are on a mission, no less than fighter pilots and tank commanders, and the stakes for us, as for them, are life and death.
“The mission is everything. At all costs it must be carried through to completion.”