One week ago, today, I posted here my thoughts on Dalya’s death. I am still grieving, still processing, yet there is barely any time to make sense of one tragedy before we are propelled forward into the next.
Yesterday, our family again lost a part of itself. Four innocent men, plus one heroic policeman, not even counting those injured in body and soul by being present when two terrorists entered the sacred space of a shul during prayer and desecrated it with their anger and murder, spilling blood where only tears are allowed entry.
Twenty five orphans.
Another day of grief. Another day of terror. Another day of mourning, heaviness lingering behind my temples and aching behind my eyes.
An hour after I woke up to the news, my husband got ready to leave for davening.
Sure, honey, go to shul. A place of prayer, safety, refuge. Daven for us all. I’ll take the children to preschool while fear clutches at my heart.
A picture flashes on my Facebook wall, its image can never be erased from my memory. A man lying prone on his back, arms splayed, wrapped in tefillin, a tallit thrown across his upper chest and face — did it fall that way when he was attacked? Or did some emergency worker or friend cover his dead face, one last nod of respect to a man whose life was cut down in the midst of spiritual communion.
Each victim is someone’s friend, someone’s cousin, someone’s brother, father, uncle, nephew, neighbor, acquaintance, teacher. Let us remember their humanity, and in doing so not lose sight of our own. One of the victims has the same last name as ours, so concerned friends have been calling us, asking if yet again a relative has been murdered. No, I don’t think he is related to us, not closely at least. Does it matter? I never met these men, yet in sorrow and grief we are all one.
One of the perpetrators had worked at a corner store near the shul. For how long? Maybe he was a new employee, bent on scoping out the territory before the attack. Maybe he had worked there for fifteen years already, greeting familiar faces each morning, helping elderly men out of the store with their bags. I don’t know. But I do know that I want to trust our Arab neighbors. I want to believe they are human. I want to remember that they have parents, wives, children, friends, aspirations, fears, goals, and hopes. Just like we all do. I don’t know how to make sense of their actions.
All day long, I have one eye on my phone, afraid to hear what news may come, yet morbidly fascinated with following each update. How do I mother my children when my heart is so full of fear and sadness? They must be kept innocent; they do not deserve to be burdened by my aching heart and our wounded country.
“Ima, wipe my hands.”
How many murdered?
“Ima, see my Lego tower?”
How many injured?
“Ima, let’s go to gan.”
I don’t want to lose sight of you today.
“Ima, what are we doing this afternoon?”
I mean playing, of course