Donate to help aid a refuah sheleima

We don’t generally promote fundraising campaigns here, whether for organizations or for individuals, for a number of reasons. But out of Hakarat HaTov for the impact reading this man’s interview had on me, and recognizing that he is truly an example of promoting what we stand for, Lucky gave me permission to post this.

The video below gives you all the information you need. If you’re looking for more details, there is a YeshivaWorld article. The link to the video’s homepage is here.

May everyone’s donations, signal-boosts, and additional mitvot bring a refuah Sheleima to Moshe Refael b-n Orah along with all the other cholim of klal Yisrael

The downside of writing…

… for me, other than not getting anything today because I was bitten by a plot bunny, is much more serious. Everything that happens in Israel, especially when I’ve been writing for about three hours today, is like a personal punch in the gut.

The solder killed in the most recent attack, השם ייקום דמו? He could have been my main character. Any of the young, promising Yidden in their army service. The people injured? His family, friends, cousins, shadchan. The children living in fear, because stabbings don’t even come with an air-raid siren and can strike, ה ‘ישמור, out of the blue; are the characters who grew up as I did, and are as much a part of my life as my own friends in Canada. My story is set in Israel, and the blood-streaked stones are the ones I wander in my mind every time I close my eyes. Usually, it’s a blessing, but today, it feels more like a punishment.

Perhaps I’m the only one who prefers being in pain to being numb, as I was with all the other past (I’m not going to call them incidents. They were) murders. The tears that came days after reading about the Jew who stabbed another Jew were almost a relief– they proved the pain had not made me loose touch with reality. This soldier was a world of his own, created personally by the Almighty.

We’re living in a paradox. The way I see it, we’re meant to accept what G-d’s already done, but remember the pain and storm the heavens that it never happen again. Hear that? We small humans have the power to make it NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. But on that, I’ve said enough. Tonight, I just need to cry.

A light in the dark

The recent stabbing attacks in Israel have all been so horrific, but this one stands out. A 13 year old on his bike. Where I live, if you stay away from the traffic, nothing could be more prosaic. Stabbed by two boys, one his age, one a little older.

Here is some light. We all know how amazing Hatzolah/Magen David Adom is. Here’s a new one. A Hatzolah member picking his child up from a playdate while off duty stopped to answer a question from someone in the family– a, if Heaven forbid this happens, how do we work around xyz already existing issue?– question. Of course they would. It’s just another way for them to preempt a crisis and potentially save a life.

But still– look at it deeper. Maybe you just had to be there to appreciate the encouraging, kind tone that was used. The willingness to stay however long the question took. The way his child stood waiting patiently the entire time. The fact that we’re a nation where something like this isn’t breaking news… just a part of life. So normal it’s exceptional.

Wishing you all good health and protection to all the residents of Israel.

Not again

Mimi read this post and referred it to me, saying that it’s what she’s been trying to express all along. How even though every moment of conflict hurts so badly, it gives her hope that it will be the last pain before the Redemption. And yet, when the pain lessens… so do we. I was given permission (Todah Rabah,) to use an sample of the post here. I highly recommend visiting the blog for the whole thing: I’m finally sick of Golus, by Rivka Nehorai

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 think the author’s solution to the problem is a mission statement we should all adapt. Myself, and Mimi, and you. And everyone.

Shavuah tov

Communication

Thank you to the friend, who spent the morning wondering if she paid on her cellphone for incoming calls, or just outgoing. (I though yes, she though no.) She still doesn’t know.

Even so, when a friend called from her seminary in Israel while we were on the bus home, she happily gave in to my nagging and gave it to me so that I, cellphone-less, could also have a quick turn to talk. It was really above and beyond and I was very glad for the opportunity.

The Wall

I’m working on a story, and in one scene, a girl is planning to go daven at the Kotel. Suddenly, it hit me. Since the time is unspecified, but not recent, did they even have the Kotel? Here’s how I put it in my notes.

Hang on. It’s hard for me to understand this, but in that era, would they still have the Kotel? Or, I mean, have it yet?

Being so young and living in Chutz La’Aretz, it’s easy for me to take it for granted. But here, for a moment, I didn’t. It suddenly gave me a new-found appreciation for something that  I think many of us sometimes take for granted. It’s our anchor, and I realized for a moment how lost we’d be without it.

Tisha B’Av update 3

There’s violence and vandalism all over today. All over.

Someone snuck into an Agudah camp (first thought– thank G-d it’s not my brother’s Agudah camp, my parents would be so scared. Second thought– but it’s a lot of other people’s brothers’ Agudah camp.) No one was hurt, but swastikas were put on many parts of the property.

A Shul in Bnei Brak was vandalized– the damage was not listed, but it looked overturned and burnt in some areas. (Second search– the Aharon Kodesh was set on fire. Chasdi Hashem, the scrolls inside are all unharmed.)

Another Shul in Modiin was booby-trapped. The doors were blocked from outside, trapping the people praying inside.

Last night, a confrontation broke out at Maarat Hamachpelah.

In all of these incidents, no one was hurt. I am pathetically grateful that the shaking has started only on physical objects, (excluding at Maarat Hamachpelah, where pepper spray was used, but no injuries are reported.) But how much longer can we expect this

Scared, but with faith

Tisha B’av scares me. Lucky mentioned it, so I’ll elaborate

I looked at the calender and saw that this year, the actual date of the ninth of Av is a Shabbat. The fast is on the tenth of Av this year. And that seemed really surreal to me. On the one hand, it’s the saddest day in the Jewish calendar year. Postponing the fast doesn’t change the date of all the sad things that happened. (Also see the rest of Chabad.org on the subject.) On the other hand, it’s Shabbat. We’re commanded to rejoice. Even if you can forget the date, the fast is lurking right around the corner, reminding you to drink plenty of water and not eat anything that will make you feel sick the next day.

And then I was thinking how if the Shabbat Project ever did another one this year, this would be the perfect week for it. But no, that would never happen. Something really drastic would have to happen for them to whip together a worldwide Shabbat campaign at such short notice. And then it brought me back to where I started.

Drastic things do happen. Like last year. And last year, we promised ourselves that this would be the last time we fasted and mourned. And I believed it. It seemed impossible to me that the world would not wake up and fix things. That we would not wake up and fix things. That I would not wake up and fix things.

Tisha b’Av scares me beacuse I’m scared of living in another year of Galus. We can’t last much longer. S0 G-d, who cares too much to give up on us, shakes us to wake us up before it’s too late. And those shakes HURT. Bombing, wars, mass antisemitism. We confuse the symptoms for the disease, but really, though life is calmer now, we’re still facing the same core problem. And already, we’re being shaking up again. Thank G-d, the bombs landed an unoccupied area. Thank G-d, nothing terrible happened during the protest in London.

But how much longer before we’re shaken up again? That’s what scares me, even more than seeing our nation fall more every day. These symptoms tell us how bad things are. But in and of themselves, they are sooo painful.

I’m not writing this to give up hope. Not at all. I may feel desperate, but I haven’t given up yet. If we take this message to heart, there will be no need to fear anymore. I know I say this every year, but it needs to be said again. G-d will keep on shaking us. And we will not give up.

Please help me. We’ve all made mistakes this year. But we’ve learned that we can come together, and the echos of last summer’s unity still live on. Wake them up!

אני מאמין באמונה שלמה בביאת המשיח .ואף על פי שיתמהמה, עם כל זה אחכה לו בכל היום שיבוא I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Moshaich. Even if he delays, I wait for him every day.

It sounds so simple. But maybe if we truly believe this, it will be easier for us to take the final step forward in all our actions. If we remember this, that Moshiach is on our doorstep, that he is just waiting to know the time is right for him to enter…

The brightest light in the darkest place

http://unitedwithisrael.org/the-holocaust-picture-that-offended-facebook/

To me, the point is not that Facebook flagged the photo, or why, or people’s reactions. To me, the biggest deal is not even the photo itself. Thank you Esther, for bringing this photo to my attention, and thank you Miriam, for adding light to a dark world. To me, the point is in Miriam’s own words, quoted by her father, who is quoted at the above link. For the remainder of the article, see their website.

As I searched for an applicable quote to close off this posting in honour of Yom HaShoah, I realized that a very appropriate quote would be the following excerpt from my daughter Miriam’s diary of her recent trip to the death camps of Poland:

“Today was kind of a gap day… The fill in day… And yet, it was one of the saddest days of my trip to Poland…

“Today, we visited a mass grave. Yes, on this program, we’ve been to many and I never cried at any of them. Not as much as I cried here. You see, this mass grave is different… This mass grave holds 700 children. Yes, you heard me… Children.

“Alone, frightened and clinging to whatever family they had with them, if they even had any left to cling to… Nazis shot them… The children… And for what? Because they couldn’t produce… They were useless to the Reich and so, they were shot… Murdered…

“These sweet children… Gone. No longer can we hear their sweet laughter or small feet dancing. No longer can we see the smiles on their faces or the innocent look in their beautiful eyes… Children that didn’t have the chance to live; to become and live their dreams. Stolen from us by the worst animal of all…

“I sat motionless at that mass grave. What else was I able to do? I was barely able to hold my head up… It hurt me more than anything. I don’t think there was one person on our program that didn’t shed a tear when we stood there listening to our rabbi talk about his family and how these children must have felt in their last moments…

“Then he did something I will remember forever.

“He said to us, “These children never got a chance to see the holy land or let alone be buried there. We should give them that chance…” He then proceeded to pick up a box full of dirt. “This,” he said, “is from my backyard. This is soil from Israel. If they can’t be buried in Israel, then we will bring Israel to them. Their light will forever live inside us. Whoever wants, can come take a hand full of soil and sprinkle it over the grave.”

“We all stood around him, frozen. We literally were frozen in place and suddenly I saw a hand reach out and take a handful of dirt and when the hand touched the soft soil, I realized that the hand was mine.

“I looked at the Rabbi and just for a moment, our eyes met. I guess it was a kind of comfort for me… I walked over to the grave and soon others did the same. I looked over that blue painted fence and in my mind, as I held that soil for just a moment longer, the shabbat blessing that a father and mother gives their child came to my mind. Over and over it ran through my head as I watched the wind scatter the soil across the grave.

“Tears just fell freely and all I was able to do was sit there as tears just kept falling. I was frozen at the fact that they were all gone… For no reason other than hatred… These beautiful children are the light in the darkness and their light will forever live on through me and through every breath I take. These children play at the foot of G-d’s Kiseh Hakavod [throne] now.

“Take care of them for me, please… They are with You now.”

– Miriam Ciss, March 27, 2015, Poland

Thank you for sharing these words with us. Though deeply personal, they have something to teach the entire world. Thank you for teaching us a lesson from history, so that we never repeat it. May this bring merit to the children’s memories, all 700 and 1 of them.