It has been very pleasant, weather-wise, here in Israel for the past few weeks. We have been able to go outside during the day without a jacket, for the most part. In the evening, the winds pick up and it can get chilly. But I have been getting away with no socks and lightweight shoes.
And then the mosquitos came back. I got pretty bit up when I first arrived here, back in mid-October (which seems like a million years ago), and then calm. Two nights ago, they started up again. You can see them well enough in the evening, but not before they’ve attacked. In the middle of the night, they wake you up and you feel angrily powerless. They might very well be more than annoying. Carrying diseases, on top of itching. And I don’t know what else to do to manage them.
See where I’m going with this?
Some more information to my state of mind:
Last week, I was driving from Efrat to Jerusalem to pick up my father from his hotel and bring him back here, via El Al’s office where he wanted to complain about how he was treated over the phone (for good reason–you can’t do business with a 90 year old the same way as with a young person). My habit was to say the blessing for traveling on the way at a certain point on the main road. Here is the English translation:
May it be Your will, Hashem, our God and the God of our forefathers, that You lead us toward peace, emplace our footsteps toward peace, guide us toward peace, and make us reach our desired destination for life, gladness, and peace. May You rescue us from the hand of every foe, ambush, bandits, and evil animals along the way, and from all manner of punishments that assemble to come to earth. May You send blessing in our every handiwork, and grant us grace, kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see us. May You hear the sound of our supplication, because You are God Who hears prayer and supplication. Blessed are You, Hashem, Who hears prayer.
What can I say? I felt some kind of impediment to saying the first part. I felt a lack of going toward peace.
One could realistically explain this feeling from a severe lack of sleep. I had not slept well in days, first from nervousness waiting for the baby to make his appearance (with daughter and SIL leaving for the hospital in the middle of the night), followed by the tragedy of the death of Ezra Schwartz, HY”D (May G-d avenge his death). And so in that frame of mind, in the middle of the long tunnel leading from Efrat into Jerusalem, the car in front of me stopped very very short. I also managed to stop before hitting him, but the truck behind me did not. He did manage only to hit my right side and I somehow managed to pull into the one bay on the right side of the tunnel.
Have you ever gotten out of a car in a tunnel during major traffic? This was my first time. I hope not to repeat it. The thing that I never would have thought of is that you can’t hear. There is too much noise from the other passing cars, plus there’s an echo from the tunnel itself.
Plus I was shaking. Plus I was an emotional wreck.
The other driver was very considerate. He admitted it was totally his fault and asked me if I was okay.
“Okay? How can I be okay? I just got hit in a rental car; my father is waiting for me in Jerusalem; and my kindergartner is being buried that day in America.”
Did I want any water, he asked. No, I just want to get out of there. I took photos, his name and number. He waited for me to get into my car safely so that I could drive out. It was pretty much only then that it registered that he was an Arab.
It was a very good thing that I was going on to meet my father, since I had to compose myself. Of course, I told him there was a lot of traffic and that was why I was late.
“As long as you’re okay, that’s all that matters.”
We have to be okay. We have to be there for our fathers and for our children.
I’m including a video of the Litman-Beigel wedding and aftermath that’s in Hebrew. You can read about the wedding here and here in English. The video better shows the thousands and thousands of people who were there to show “Am Yisrael Chai. The Jewish people are alive!”
The couple thanked the public who came to join in the festivities.”Until two weeks ago, nobody knew or was interested in me and Ariel, then one minute on Friday – at the height of preparations – my father and brother were murdered by a heinous terrorist,” said Sarah Litman. “There is not a moment in which I do not miss the smile of Netanel and the humility and modesty of my father, it will always accompany me.
“But precisely in the midst of the pain, in the month of bravery before Hannukah, we will spread, together with all of the people of Israel, an immense light of happiness, giving and love which was bestowed upon us by the nation of Israel. The main thing is not to fear at all.”
Plus, the weather has gotten a bit more chilly. That means that the mosquitos are gone for now and we will be fine.
Because we will.