The news from Israel trickled in, and we waited with baited breath throughout Simchas Torah, remembering and then forgetting, dancing and then laughing. Until life quieted down and the children were sleeping and we remembered again. Hurt again. Relived again the episodes we heard about shortly before the holiday whistle blew and the world turned peaceful and silent, here in golus.
An unusual feeling slithers up my throat, sticking to the insides of my glands as my stomach rumbles below in frustration. I can’t pinpoint the emotion for a while until I realize with a start that I’m angry. Angry of course at Palestinians who are taking innocent families and tearing them apart viciously and barbarically. But more than that.
I’m really protesting something else – I’m angry that this will bring me higher.
I find with astonishment as I check my internal dialogue that part of me is fed up that this situation will bring me closer to Israel and the Jewish people. I’ll take on a mitzvah, take on an action. My perspective will shift, my priorities will realign, and the shtus of my life will stop avalanching me, because within me I am preoccupied with the growing understanding of the precariousness of the Jewish people and the need for us to focus.
When terror strikes, my life gets simultaneously heavier and better; because my head, heart, and soul are finally, finally aligned. When Israel is under attack, my head is at last found focused in the celestial clouds while my feet are on the ground. I’m able to function in this world while my heart prays for another world.
And I’m tired of it.
Because I’m sick and tired of sliding back. I’m sick of once the terror fades and slides under the radar again that I forget.
I’m tired of forgetting.
I’m tired of forgetting the huge bonding power of the Jewish people. I’m tired of forgetting about the centrality of Israel in my life , as my mind shifts back to local politics and local concerns and minuscule problems. I’m sick of not feeing that heartbeat of passion and commitment to the State and the People and the soul. I’m tired of walking around and not feeling in a deep, internalized, palpable way that there is a Gd that runs this world.
So yes, I can and will try to take on another mitzvah to try to help spiritually. I’ll daven and I’ll speak softly to Hashem when the lights are off and I’m about to slip subconsciously into another world. I’ll watch my speech and try to build.
But I’ll be damned if I let this slide again. I’ll be so frustratingly sad if my world becomes so overcome by laundry and checklists and worry about what another person thinks of me so much so that I forget what’s important, what makes me truly live.
Don’t tell me it’s inevitable. Don’t let me think it’s the human condition. Tell me it’s possible for us, here and now, in this narrow-minded world to keep this mentality. To feel the heartbeat of the Jewish people and our unity and our utmost thirst for Torah and truth and divine connection whether or not we are in crisis.
Because I’m tired of it. I’m tired of going back and forth between realities.
I’m ready to feel the unity and the power and the beauty of our condition and situation regardless of terror. Ingrain it within me. Don’t let me let it go.
I’m ready to stop forgetting. About you and about us, and what it all really means. What we’re all really here for.
And with a start, I realize that what I’m really saying is I’m ready for geula. I want to remember it all. Everything we were taught in the womb, everything we know in our hearts that gets clouded over once terror subsides and stress and doubt rise in our bones from the minutia of life.
I’m finally sick of golus.
May this terror end immediately, may peace reign, and may we be able to hold in our head and our hearts the love and connection we felt in the midst of crisis also in the midst of unprecedented peace and prosperity.
Featured image by Moshe Schlass.