The Heart Explodes
I dread going to my computer after Shabbat ends in order to check the news reports. I cannot avoid it however, for I have a “need to know” the goings on of our people in our ancient, holy homeland. I go to my major news source and once again MY HEART EXPLODES as an inner, expansive force of psychic pain and ancestral grief burst forth from the confines of my mind and heart space: More terror victims to pray for, more hearts unjustly broken and bodies injured and maimed. In the midst of life, suffering and death explode upon our world here in Israel. Life changes in an instant. Yes, life changes fast for those caught in the cross fire of terrorists bent on killing and maiming Jews in the Land of Israel—our beloved homeland.
One cannot minimize the damage done, nor the feelings of apprehension rippling through the currents of daily life in the land. The very rhythms of our lives have been impacted as our daily routines have become opportunities for the enemies to strike. The families of the victims have little time to adjust to the new reality and deal with the charged emotions and upheaval playing out in their lives. And yet they must go on.
In a book titled, “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion, she explains the gamut of emotions she felt and experienced upon the death of her beloved husband. She explains the difference between losing elderly parents and losing a spouse or child or someone in their prime. She shares a letter from a priest who intuited what she felt when her parents died. “The death of a parent, he wrote, despite our understanding of the inevitability of death as they age, dislodges things deep in us, despite our age and sets off reactions and feelings we had thought gone to ground long ago.” And yet, despite the mourning we go through, for most of us, our parents have been removed from the ongoing dailiness of our lives. Therefore, in spite of our mourning, we still get up in the morning and live our lives. We are in a different head space and our hearts are heavy but life goes on.
But losing a spouse or child or someone extremely close to us both physically and emotionally is a grief far different, for it has no distance. It is up close and personal in an intimate way. She said, “The grief comes in waves and sudden apprehensions that weakens the knees and blinds the eye and obliterates the dailiness of life. There is shock and bewilderment that throws one off balance. There is a raw feeling of being wild with pain as the mind becomes clouded with grief and the senses become dulled from the pain.”
I believe this is what Jews are experiencing in Israel where death and destruction is up close and personal. Each Jew feels the magnitude intensely because we are one people….one family and our connection is profound
Fortunately as Jews, it is our biblical teachings and beliefs that help us overcome the issues of uncertainty and powerlessness and enables us to move beyond a tragedy that is inexplicable. We draw upon our faith in G-d, our mission and life purpose and the future in which we strongly believe. And fortunately, we draw upon the strength, resolve and compassion of our brethren in the land.
Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf, is quoted in an article on Arutz Sheva, saying “The battle for Eretz Yisrael is the outer manifestation of the battle between truth and falsehood. The very presence of the enemy in our midst raging at us and warring with us informs us that redemption is just around the corner.” This too gives us solace as we deeply understand the value of living here in spite of the challenges and hardships.
What can we do is always the question that each of us must answer. I believe each of us must become part of an active front on behalf of the Jewish nation and in particular on behalf of the Jews in Eretz Yisrael, who are on the front lines of the battlefield. Each Jew must acquire an unwavering resolve and commitment to provide the necessary help to the victims and to increase their giving to Israel. Additionally we must work personally to increase our faith and trust in G-d. We must become an advocate in every possible way for the Jews in Israel and the Land of Israel.
Most importantly, we must not allow ourselves to become deadened emotionally to the traumas being perpetrated in the holy Land. Nor should we allow ourselves to become despondent. Rav Shlomo Carlebach OBM reminds us “ERETZ YISRAEL is the holiest place in the universe and when we are going through difficult tests, if we hold onto our Faith and Trust in G-d, we can open extraordinary gates in heaven for everyone, thereby helping others to go through their own challenges in an easier way.”
May G-d guide and protect each Jew wherever they are in the world but especially in Eretz Yisrael. May He uplift and comfort the injured and the families of the injured and bring them complete healing. May He bring emotional relief to the families of the deceased and comfort them. May these pure offerings of holy souls bring the long awaited Moshiach immediately and without delay.
With enormous Blessings of love and light to each of you, Ariella Bracha