Thou shalt not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day Psalms 91:5
Since the official start of Operation Protective Edge on July 8, I’ve received many emails, SMSs, Facebook chats, and even telephone calls asking me ‘how are you holding up’. We have received invitations for weekends, dinner, the whole summer if necessary!
So here’s my answer:
Beer Sheva has been relatively calm during this go-around. We haven’t been able to figure out why. There have been days when we have had no sirens, no rockets. It’s eerily quiet. This leaves us time to watch the airplanes and helicopters overhead. Without the sirens, we can hear – 40 km from Gaza – the booms of artillery.
My house has a ‘safe room’; a room built of re-enforced concrete. It’s safe and we can get to it easily from anywhere on the property in less than the minute we have before the rockets fall. We also have Iron Dome, which we can both hear and see firing. Many of our friends don’t have safe rooms in their homes and have to crouch in a hallway, or hide under the stairs.
So, of course I’m fine.
My oldest son was called up on the first day of the operation. His reserves unit is always called up immediately when there is any sort of fighting in Gaza. They replace the regular army guys in their regular duties guarding on this side of the border. He’s been doing guard duty more or less where they keep finding those pesky tunnels. He’s been gone for over three weeks. His wife and baby are refugees in the center of the country.
I’m fine, thank you for asking.
My second son learns in Ashdod. Ashdod, about 25 km from Gaza, has been pummeled by rockets – sometimes seven or eight times a day. His Yeshiva is not in a permanent building, but in mobile homes. There are no actual ‘safe rooms’, so the city brought in ‘migoonits’, which are basically hollow hunks of concrete. He has about 20 seconds.
Honestly, I’m fine.
My third son was just drafted to the army. He’s in a combat unit and will undergo training for the next several months. If he survives, he will then be a full fledged soldier, ready to go to battle.
My youngest daughter is too nervous to go down the street to buy milk. We’ve sent her to stay with family in the center of the country so she can remember what it’s like to be outside.
But I’m really fine.
My oldest (can’t leave her out) has been caught during a siren in the street, in the bus, in the car, in the supermarket, in the shower. It’s unnerving, to put it mildly.
Everything is fine.
Every day, I get up early. It’s too hot to sleep much. I check my email, watch the news, eat breakfast, and get to work by 7:30. I’ve missed a few days to stay with the youngest. She can stay by herself, but it’s unpleasant to be alone. (Work is also unpleasant, so it’s a good excuse.) I go shopping, I do the laundry, I wash dishes. Of course, I don’t remember what I’m supposed to buy, and I forget to wash the pan, and I mix the socks with the towels. But hey.
There are large swaths of time when I don’t cry. There are no swaths of time when I’m not almost crying.
I find myself on the verge of tears at the darndest moments; talking to a friend on the phone, in the shower, at the supermarket.
My throat closes up, I suddenly can’t catch my breath, my hands shake.
The checkout person asks me if I’m a member of the supermarket club, and, even though I am, I shake my head no because I can’t tell her my number (and my son on the border has my card) because if I open my mouth, the catch in my throat will unleash the tears that have been stored all day. I hold up one finger when she asks me how many payments I want.
I’m doing fine.
Spoke too soon, gotta dash, siren.
Iron dome to the rescue.
So, of course I’m fine.
Despite what it seems, I am not falling apart. There is no falling apart going on. Tears in this case are not a sign of despair.
I am filled by so many emotions that the overflow is manifested by tears. That’s all.
Love and pride, and hope and honor, and gratitude and awe, and grief and sorrow and – yes – fear and dread and rage.
But not despair. Nor gloom. Nor hopelessness nor helplessness.
We are so blessed.
Blessed to live in our Land, which has an army and a flag and an elected government;
blessed to be surrounded a People who care so much that the soldiers are complaining they have too much food, and too many socks;
blessed to belong to a People who care, not only for the soldiers, but for the families of the wounded;
blessed to be a witness of countless miracles; blessed to be checked up on at least once a day to see ‘how are you holding up’.
So yes, my voice trembles, and my hands shake, and my eyes – and heart – are full.
But that’s just me, being fine.
Thanks for your concern. And please, keep thinking of me, and sending me hugs and strength and love.
And chocolate wouldn’t hurt either.
But, hey, really, I’m fine.
He Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Forces, who stand guard over our Land and the cities of our God, from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea.
May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighters from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.
May He lead our enemies under our soldiers’ sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for the the verse: For it is the Lord your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.
Now let us respond: Amen.