You know when you love so much it hurts.
When only the light in your eyes and excitement in your voice can attest to the enormity of emotion that is larger than words.
When you feel empty and lost without the object of your love.
When you hold your breath until united.
For me, that is Israel.
That is why it is exceedingly painful when I hear disparaging words about my love. Over the years, I have heard much criticism of Israel. Whether it is, or isn’t legit, is irrelevant to me. It hurts. While there are numerous reasons to love Israel, my love has transcended reason. I have bonded my heart and soul to her and there is no going back.
This week on my Facebook page I made a pledge to mention something every day that I love about Israel. This was done in an effort to do my part in tikun for the sin of the spies which is in this week’s Parsha. I gave but only a glimpse into the beauty and wonder that exists here. Sharing it here is my metaphorical way to shout from the rooftop how much I love Israel.
I love the beautiful mountains that surround my home as they give testimony to G-d’s greatness.
Whenever I pass the Kineret my heart sings a joyous song and I want to stay there all day.
The people in Israel are as beautiful to me as a perfectly mixed bouquet of flowers. I love seeing Russian, French, Ethiopian, Australian, American, Yemenite, etc people throughout our country. The different accents I hear ring in my ears like a symphony in the orchestra of kibbutz galiyot. The diversity warms my heart as we are united together with our sisters and brothers after way too many years of separation.
These luscious exotic fruits are grown here on our blessed soil. Israeli marketplaces are filled with vibrant color and delectable produce.
Many people view army service as something we contribute to our country. What I have come to realize is that in truth it is the army that contributes to us. I have seen many children enter the IDF only to be released as responsible, caring, independent adults. They learn valuable life strategies and lessons.Their service creates a sense of belonging and responsibility to the people of our country and to the land. In today’s day and age that is unique and valuable. I love our army and our army loves us.
(this picture was taken last year and features my son Sadok with some of his army buds)
An interesting thing occurred to me more than once while steeped in prayer. I lifted my eyes and noticed a stunning bird. I wasn’t familiar with the breed so I researched it. I discovered it is the national bird of Israel called the Hoppoe. This bird usually sings from a high perch, tree or roof making a hoop-hoop-hoop sound (how cool a bird who uses slang!) The Hoppoe boasts a majestic crown that is captivating when fanned. I have grown very fond of our national bird. I feel encouraged and hopeful when I hear her cheering me out of bed in the early morning hours. I also consider it a good omen when she makes a special appearance during my times of prayer.
I saved the best for last.
Jerusalem you are in my heart.
You have revived my spirit and brought me joy.
You have been a portal of prayer and recipient of tears.
You are blessed with holiness and cherished by all.
Your ancient stones tell volumes about our past as you wait patiently for your glory to be fully restored in the future.
Shabbat Shalom Jerusalem