Reflections on my homecoming, by Gavriela Dvorah Rut Weidner

On 10 July 2008, I came home. For almost five years now, I have been privileged to live in the loving embrace of my own Bayit (home), my Place, my Land, with my People surrounding me all the time.

Coming home is coming to family. Remember family gatherings? Everyone is so excited to see one another and then after a while, you can’t wait for the gathering to conclude? You begin to become impatient with one another as the walls of division that were erected by the years of separation start to come down and you are forced to relate to your family members directly, face-to-face, no falsehoods. Sometimes you can’t wait for everyone to go home!

It can be a little like that here, when coming home. First there is the explosion of excitement from seeing your family after years, a lifetime, of separation. And then the euphoria starts to slip away, as you open your eyes and begin to build the deep bonds, everlasting kesherim, with your eternal family. “Ma zeh?” “how can you eat that stuff?” “what about picking up the trash?” “what’s with the pushing, where do you think you going to go?” “hey, I have a number, don’t you see me standing here?” And, so it goes. We push and shove each other, even yell at each other, but at the end of the day, there is never any doubt about who is your family and who is your friend.

Chazal tell us that we are all one—the Jewish people—and that it is only our bodies that give us the false illusion of separation. Here, at home, there is no illusion of separation. We share everything together, as one, ish echad—simchas,tragedies, chaggim, vacations, past and future.

After five years, I am still awed each day when I see that I am here, home, in the Land of my Fathers, my eternal inheritance from Borei Olam. And even after all this time, I am still presented with the most profound experiences to remind me of how blessed I am to be home. As you probably know, here in Eretz Israel, we blow a siren for 2 minutes to mark the entrance of our most profound days—Yom HaShoa, Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut. This year, I was traveling from the Holy City of Tzfat to the Holy City of Tiveria, where I live, just before the start of Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day). At precisely 8 pm, the siren blew, our bus pulled over to the side of the road, all passengers disembarked, including the driver (or got up from their seats), and stood outside. All along the road, you could see other travelers, out from their vehicles, standing in silence, in honor, in memory, in unity.

Only here, at home, do we slip away from the false illusion of separation and feel the truth of oneness. Why wait for this experience? Come home now. We so very much miss you.

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