Yom Ha’Zikaron

We just watched a video of the funeral of one of the soldiers who was killed this summer during the war. One soldier. One soldier, a huge void in the world. And there are sixty six more. And all the civilians. And the people who’ve died to terror attacks, unspeakable tragedies that should never have happened.

If G-d allowed it to happen, then it must be good. Why does it hurt so much?

For me, it’s not just human pain, but guilt. These are the pains before Moshiach, but they are not inevitable. They are to wake us up and bring us together. If we were already there, the pain we now feel, the pain of mothers and fathers and sisters and fiancees and brothers and wives and children, might not have happened.

Maybe this is what G-d intended. Guilt, however crushing, is not the answer.

All we need to do is to remember the pain. Remember how we feel when our nation is attacked. Remember that pain every time you forget the value a single soul has. Remember this pain EVERY TIME you encounter another Jew. Treat them as though the fate of the world, the fate of every human being, rests on how you treat this person.

Because it does.

Asher Yatzar

My health issues (which baruch Hashem, are quite minor, and with Hashem’s help will vanish soon) still make it difficult for me to say asher yatzar wholeheartedly. Sometimes the best I can manage is a distracted mumble. At times, it was an ‘at least I am halachikly able to say asher yatar. Even though I have to lean against the wall to do so.’ I remember a few times where I literally cried my way through it. (Even negative emotion is better than apathy.)

Now I’m more on the apathetic side. I try to have kavanah, but really? Usually, the only times people want to talk to me are between leaving the room and asher yatzar. Or I’m in a rush. Or both.

I’ve been reading a lot about the four Kedoshim who were murdered last month. I read so I won’t forget. And in school, when the topic was briefly brought up, it suddenly clicked in me. They were people who served Hashem at levels we all daven to reach. They were tadekim. They used every moment well. They served Hashem much better than I can. Why aren’t they alive? And why am I? If  Hashem didn’t give them more life, why did He give it to someone like ME?

And so every day, whenever I remember, I thank G-d for the challenging, frustrating, miserable, amazing, rewarding gift we call LIFE.