Reuvenations - Thoughts and Feelings Living Through War in Israel - Week 1

Blog image - Reuvenations - Thoughts and Feelings Living Through War in Israel - Week 1
Today was a difficult day. 

Today was a difficult day. Yesterday was a difficult day. Yesterday, it seemed like all the colors had been washed from the sky and the mountains and the trees. Everything seemed kind of pale. All these pictures of young men and women, so young and beautiful and alive, except they are not. I can’t keep posting them and I can’t stop posting them. Last night I dreamed about trying to get on an El Al plane to Israel and I was late, but the baggage people were still there, and they checked me in. When I got to the tarmac, the door was already closed and the plane was moving, but it was moving around in circles. I woke up saying I don’t like this game; I don’t want to play it anymore. I was telling someone at school about it and I said I don’t want to play this game anymore and I said I want my boys back home and I started to cry. The hardest thing is waking up and realizing that the past few days are still there. It’s worse than a nightmare.  

I went to a shiva today. The accountant at school, Ilanit’s nephew was killed serving in the army near Aza. They are a Temani family, and they expect you to eat at the shiva and the people were warm and open, and their entire tribe was there.    

Then I went to go play tennis with a friend, because I’ve been feeling so depressed, and that helped. I know that history teaches us about things like this. But when you’re in it, knowing that history teaches us about it doesn’t necessarily help us objectify it, understand it, accept it.     

But the people seem more unified, although I’m hearing people say that it was because the army was in Yehuda and Shomron that there wasn’t any army near Aza, which, I think, is just sinat hinam (causeless hatred) rearing its head again. In any case, where was the Airforce? They were not in Yehuda and Shomron. So many questions.    

I have a friend in the states who is a rabbi, and he sent me a message of support. I saw that his Facebook profile picture is of that wall in Netiv Ha’asara, where groups come and the women there tell the story of their community, then everyone gets these ceramic tiles with messages of peace and love that they glue onto the concrete wall right across from a Hamas observation post. I never connected with that. I mean, I don’t mind them wanting to bring people to their community so they can talk about it and the difficulties of living on the Gaza border. I don’t even mind them wanting to make money on it, or offering an activity - seemingly harmless - that would appeal to the feel-good desire of American teens and provide a great selfie or TikTok moment. I always wondered though if it were not a bit cynical, or whether the people running the program really believed in peace like that. Perhaps they did. Perhaps we, as Jews, find it easy to fool ourselves when the result is feeling good about our desire, our longing for peace. It was simply a way of fooling ourselves that became starkly obvious, this past shabbat. I suggested to my rabbi friend that he take down that picture, but he says he prays for peace. He should move to Netiv Ha-asara. He'd have more kavana there.  

One more word on that, and I may have difficulty keeping a note of anger out of my voice. My rabbi friend wrote back a nice message that he supports me and prays for my well-being, but that he also prays for peace and will continue to pray for peace. To be quite honest, it is a luxury to pray for peace from suburbia. I have two sons in active reserve duty, and you’d better believe that I pray for peace daily with absolute sincerity. Given the circumstances, praying for peace as my friend is doing feels at this moment like out of touch virtue-signaling. At least 15 people died in Netiv Ha-asara. Hamas is not interested in peace. They are interested in killing Jews. Like my sons. And me. And you. I pray that Hashem brings our soldiers back safely, whole in body and spirit. After they destroy Hamas.  

I wanted to write something encouraging and comforting to you, but I can’t find my smile right now.