May This Letter Never Be Sent

There is a tradition known in army families. Before soldiers set out to service they leave a letter. A just-in-case letter.

Well, I feel like a soldier. Some days it hits harder than others. The undeniable fact that we live on a battleground here in Jerusalem. That I am raising my kids in a G-d-contained war-zone.

As the bad news accumulates across the Syrian border, and terrorists could slip out from behind any corner… there is really no question in my mind that Israel is the front line of a global battle for decency and light.

And so I step outside my door daily suited up with a very real sense that I am a foot soldier here. Aspiring to service, sometimes scared witless, embarrassed to admit it, but here it is. – Because I must admit it. To myself. I must take this threatened reality seriously. Being the light does not mean taking things lightly.

And so I find it imperative to pen this letter to my children. My own just-in-case insurance plan.

May we never need to send it…May we only be protected.


To my children

I want you to know.
I am not a body with a soul
but a soul with a body.

And if this body should break,
my soul will still be whole.
Will still behold
your shining face.

If by some twist of fate
I don’t come home today…
Just imagine that I have
caught a ride on the train
of your breathe
and slipped inside
of your very chest.

Here I sit
like a night-light in the hallway
of your heart.
Vigilant & warm.

Hear me whisper from the insides
from your own bones
from your own worn-ragged-with-mourning soul:

I believe in you.
I believe you can handle this.
We can handle this.
And I say WE because we are still
– irrevocably – a WE.
Still a family.

I am still
shushing you to sleep
still smiling wide over your drawings,
your learning, your yearnings,
– your grief.

And I hope you know it was worth it.
Because I signed on for this service
with all my soul
a long time ago.

To live in Jerusalem,
like a great-big-red-balloon of a dream.
Un’pop’able. Unstoppable.
And finally yearned into being. 

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You too, dear children,
are her souldiers now.
You are made stronger by living
on this gravelly haven
of a battleground.

You have been made light-peddlers
by a higher calling.
You are strong-marching, fast-lightening-ed,

So please, help me shlep
the impossible brightness of my love
into even the darkest
crevices of your pain.

Please take heart in the holy
of the One and Only
thing worth fighting for
worth dying for.
— Goodness.

In the face of ISIS
In the face of terrorists.
Goodness is our heritage.

Now, being good
doesn’t mean you can’t be mad.
Be mad. Mad at me. At G!d. At ‘them’.
Be wet and sink deep.
Be a tidal wave of mean if you need to be.
Scream and kick and let fall a hundred thousand
tears of futility.

Because it’s okay. You’re okay. The world’s okay.
You will continue and
you will find meaning
in this strange spinning mystery.
You will slay a thousand dragons
of grief, disbelief
and rage.

So here is my insurance letter to you.
That you should have an inheritance
of mama-truth
stored away to read on
the cold
the rainy
the impossible days.

You are the darling children of G!d,
the einekels of Jewish history,
full of miracles
and moral principle.
All indigo-hued with segulot
and super-strength brains
to outsmart any foe.

Please hear me whisper
from inside your own

What has been given
is a gift.
You are gifted.
You will grow – even from this.
You will flourish – regardless
and because of this.

These words
my last

–  With love,
from your mother
your own inner


Please friends, if you feel moved, pause a minute from your day and jot out your own just-in-case letter to the ones you love. Imagine it like an insurance policy. The kind of thing you buy with a prayer you will never use.
It doesn’t have to be poetic or perfect…Just you.

– With a prayer that even our worst fears help us live more lavish & love more fierce.