I have always been fascinated with the Book of Jonah, really Jonah himself. The idea of a reluctant Prophet exemplifies an interesting relationship with G-d. I can identify with the idea that a human being can be called to something that he or she may not want to do.
While in Iraq as a Soldier, I was able to go and see Jonah’s tomb. The tomb was outside the standing walls of Ninevah. The Ninevah lions perched in protection. The Iraqi tourists mixed with us as we toured through stone complex. The tomb was on a hill that viewed Mosul, almost jungle like, with a path that went in a leisurely fashion through the streets to the Tigris River. The legend has it that this remains the path that Jonah walked from the Tigris to the hill overlooking the gates of Ninevah.
What most fascinated me was that the Tomb remained there. There was a remembrance to this day of Jonah and his walk. A belief that his body remained in Ninevah. He must have stayed with the people of Ninevah. He must have cared for them and wanted to remain with them. His reluctance must have ended when he began to love the people.
For me, the forced lesson of caring for your neighbor is one that can be life changing. Jonah was fundamentally changed by G-d, not in the belly of a fish, but on a hill overlooking Nenevah and Mosul.