In Everything We Do

Our family is worried about us. Friends too, even random people: an insurance agent, our broker, and the AT&T customer service rep to whom we have spoken in America in the past few weeks are worried. You ask how we are managing, what we see in Jerusalem of the war, and what people are saying, thinking and feeling. To tell you the truth, on the surface life has not changed much.

On Shabbos Chanukah as we sat down to our meal at about 11:30 AM, we did hear something unusual: jets flying over the Old City.

We are off the flight track for most aircraft, so we commented to our guests from America-our daughter and her soon to be chosson!-that it was strange to hear. And the talk moved on to more pertinent things.

Motzi Shabbos, as is our custom, we flipped up our laptops. There it was: we were at war. Well, finally. How much longer was our government going to allow primitive but deadly missiles to destroy normal life in towns, on moshavim and kibbutzim?? You’ve heard it all, I am not going over the situation again as so many have done it already and better than me.

As far as our lives are concerned, we go about our routines. Davening, learning, ulpan, shopping, working, eating, sleeping as we always have. Weekday, Shabbos, back to the week.

Just below the surface however, thoughts of the war-or rather the kids serving in it, seep into everything we do. In the makolet (market) there is a bin by the register where we can place a little something extra that we buy for the soldiers. A neighbor collects homemade goodies, notes, socks and money for them. A cab driver who came here decades ago from Kurdistan told me about his son serving there, and on the bus a mother told me that her son had not been sent, but he wants to be there. A Birthright student at our home last Shabbos, told us how the color drained from the face of the chayal (soldier) assigned to her group when he was called up. These boys are always with us.

Out and about in the city, especially at night, the crowds are noticeably thinner as Hamas threatens to retaliate in our malls and cafes. The seminaries and yeshivos are limiting the travel of their students. I imagine adults as well, are keeping close to home and internet. The only increased presence is in the number of security guards. Cars coming through Jaffa Gate are scrutinized. On Ben Yehuda and in town, we see many more guards or “bitachon.” Bitachon is what they call the security detail here; bitachon also means “trust.”

The bitachon stand on the streets and at intersections, they ride on buses, check our bags in the doorways, and are probably posted on rooftops and monitoring surveillance screens. They will thwart the attempts of those who are dying to kill us, but even the bitachon cannot always keep us safe. So we place our ultimate trust in HaKodesh Boruch Hu, who is there in the street with us, riding with us, monitoring our every move as well as our enemy’s. It takes a lot of bitachon to live here.

Our ulpan teacher, Ruti tells that her brother has a lot of bitachon. He and his family been have spending many hours in bomb shelters. They live in Beer Sheva which has been the recipient of recent Hamas attacks. When one of my ulpan classmates used our new word “mefached” (afraid) in a sentence referring to the Jews in the South, Ruti was quick to tell us that her brother was not mefached. No-he has bitachon, she said. He and his wife run for the bomb shelter holding their precious children, but he sincerely relies only on the great kindness of the Almighty for the safety of his family.

The war trickles into our conversation in ulpan and Ruti uses these current events and the history of Israel as a teaching tool. The news we know, does not unequivocally get across to the world the situation here and this frustrates many students. Ruti says, quoting Ben Gurion: “Lo chashuv mah et choshvot hagoyim, mah chashuv mah osim haYehudim: It’s not important what the nations think, what is important is what the Jewish people do.”

In everything we do, thoughts of the chayalim seep into our hearts and minds. Every morning when we wake, we pray for them and learn for them, we shop for them, we are more considerate of fellow workers in their merit, we talk of them at our meals, say brachos with more kavana (intent) and say a prayer for them as we lay our heads on our soft pillows in our warm homes every night.

Gaza is not so far away from us and these boys are never far from our hearts. We breathe the same holy air and see the same piercing blue canopy above. I do not think that the Jerusalem sky has ever been bluer than since this war began. And on the days when the sky is not blue, it’s been raining. The kind of slow, generous soaking rain that seeps far below the surface and ensures another year of life. The kind of rain we pray for. The kind of rain that builds our bitachon. The rain of bracha.

May the great kindness of Almighty protect every one of our soldiers and civilians in the line of fire. May He send us rains of bracha and endow us with yet another year of life here, secure in the Land He promised to us. And may every one of our chayalim-and you, too- safely come home soon.
-Renee & David

1 comment:

Josh W. said...

I was not worried, but thanks for sending the web page links. Worry for
> me, we have a black Muslim as our new president, a population that is
> showing there true colors about their hate for Jews/Israel and their
> love for what they think is the underdog, and our 2006 stats show;
>
> 1,392,000 Violent crimes
> 10,169,155 property crimes
> 16,692 murder, non negligent and manslaughter
> 93,934 forcible rape
> 417,599 robbery
> 862,159 aggravated assault
> 2,154,165 burglary
> 6,779,655 larceny theft
>
> That is in one year, and I can't image we can assume it all in the "bad"
> neighborhoods. Again this is only that reported/convicted. If anyone in
> America is concerned about your safety, you can send them this.