My Husband Left Me For Israel

Elad Nehorai is currently in Israel directing a Hevrian documentary on the creative and spiritual lives of Bat Ayin settlers. Image is taken by Elad from one of their shoots. The following is his wife’s take on his absence.

I’m looking out the window at the back of a dismal school parking lot.
Children’s shouts filter past the window glass,
Synthesizing with his voice on the other end of the line.

“Tell me about the feeling in the air,” I prompt him. “What type of people are you meeting?”

He fills the space in our lives with funny stories and inner revelations
But mostly I hear it in his voice;
A slower pace, a relaxing of tensed nerves and frightened limbs,
A shining in his eyes that translates over telephone wires,
A lightness in his gaze.

His voice brings me back to a time when we shared her together.
Israel is a land that spits out its inhabitants- truer words were never spoken.
To move there,
To live above the chaos, schism of difference, and inconvenience,
You’ve got to want her so badly,
You’ve got to prune and pluck that hardened earth with thousands of promises to be devoted to her glory.

But sometimes, you also have to surrender to that fight and leave her behind.
That separation invariably includes settling down, digging down roots, and building your own Holy Temple somewhere else.

Yet still, part of me seethes in resentment when I hear his blissed out voice, unrestrained.
“It’s not fair!” my stomach clenches.
“I loved you when all he wanted to do was leave! I saw beauty in you when he forgot!”
Such is the unbending emuna of a woman and her Land.

[sc name="ad-300x600"]

But resentment quickly fades as I bustle around building my new life, my life that needs me here, now.
Just him being there is enough, really.
To hear that Israeli sunshine hit his soul and lift his burdened shoulders,
To hear his voice slow down several beats,
To know he is in her arms.

It’s enough to bring me back to the first conscious night on Ben Yehuda when we met,
Waking up from days of sickness
To find myself surrounded by Yidden,
Surrounded and saturated by the knowledge that we were Jews in our own land.
The shock of it all, the power of the peoplehood,
Permeated me so deeply that I promised myself I would never, ever forget that feeling.

So even now, as I sit by the window
And paint my walls orange,
And stroke my growing belly,
And wave to you
From thousands of miles away,
I know I will never leave you
And you will never leave me.
Just a gaping hole in each of us,
Calling sweetly out to the other,
Two lovebirds.

And it’s ok,
Because even if I don’t see you,
Even if I can’t feel your holy air saturate my being,
Even if I just pine for you,
Even if I can only kiss he who you kiss,
Knowing you’re there, waiting for me, is enough, really.

Really it is.