holding my breath

We’ve been getting together with a lot of old friends now that we’ve relocated back to the center of Israel. And I didn’t realize how much of the talk that we do centers on the war. And how exhausting it is. And I realize that while the war was going on, we were hunkering down, if not literally in Tzfat, then figuratively. We (and by we, I mean, I) were looking for every article and tweet and Facebook comment to agree with us, for our consensus reality, with our confirmation bias, for sure. But we were under attack and so we circled up the wagons to stay safe. But now, with a little bit of breathing room, I may just hyperventilate.

We’ve been in this odd place; being aware of how precarious life is; being angry that Israel is under attack while, at the same time, being considered the bully; being grateful for the protection of the army, the technology, and G-d. There are many stories going around about how there were so many close misses; doing one mitzvah led to saving of lives, etc. I can’t say they are urban legends, but I can say that they provide comfort for many people who need to see G-d’s active Hand in this war. I don’t think that works well with the families of the 64 dead soldiers. Or for the Jews in France who were kept captive in their synagogues while the brutes were rioting in the streets. Or for the children on the bus in Sydney who were terrorized by the white supremacist teens who have obviously been learning from their elders and applying their lessons too well.

Or that Israelis are taking the song that Hamas has produced in Hebrew as a terror-creating vehicle to be a whatever-in-your-face anthem.

So I had Shabbat instead.

(from the last sentences of Psalms Chapter 92 תְּהִלִּים:)

יב  וַתַּבֵּט עֵינִי,    בְּשׁוּרָי:
בַּקָּמִים עָלַי מְרֵעִים–    תִּשְׁמַעְנָה אָזְנָי.
12 Mine eye also hath gazed on them that lie in wait for me, {N}
mine ears have heard my desire of the evil-doers that rise up against me.
יג  צַדִּיק, כַּתָּמָר יִפְרָח;    כְּאֶרֶז בַּלְּבָנוֹן יִשְׂגֶּה. 13 The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
יד  שְׁתוּלִים, בְּבֵית יְהוָה;    בְּחַצְרוֹת אֱלֹהֵינוּ יַפְרִיחוּ. 14 Planted in the house of the LORD, they shall flourish in the courts of our God.
טו  עוֹד, יְנוּבוּן בְּשֵׂיבָה;    דְּשֵׁנִים וְרַעֲנַנִּים יִהְיוּ. 15 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and richness;
טז  לְהַגִּיד, כִּי-יָשָׁר יְהוָה;    צוּרִי, וְלֹא-עלתה (עַוְלָתָה) בּוֹ. 16 To declare that the LORD is upright, my Rock, in whom there is no unrighteousness.

Today, I read/prayed this at my daughter’s house, while the little one was napping and everyone else was at services. No worries. Having time to really take my time with prayer was good. And what I got from this introspection was that this particular prayer is about growth, true growth. The wicked may sprout up as grass (line 8), but that gets quickly trodden upon. We need to concentrate on our best practices for real growth.

I have no idea what’s ahead. I feel very grateful that the day came and went without having to return to the safe room. No one denies that we aren’t sure what will happen or what is the right thing to happen. But I guess that Shabbat has given me the chance to confirm my understanding that it doesn’t matter what the world thinks; it only matters what the world does. And despite our 8 year-old grandson’s awkward use of the phrase “awkward silence”, I am very grateful for any kind of silence of hostility (enough, already, UN Human Rights Council!), and look forward to true growth and peace.


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