The moment those wheels touch the ground there was an overwhelming sense of clarity that I am exactly where I belong. I am home. My soul is home. A deeper part of who I am awakens. Continuing the previous sentence exactly where I left off. I continue to walk foot in the same land that my forefathers walked and my grandparents dreamt endless dreams about. The land those drempt of in the concentration camps in Europe – hoping one day to get out. The land that the news tries to portray flowing of blood, but really it is of milk and honey. A place where two years ago, the letters that were a mystery to me – now has become a familiar friend. The language of this land that is opposite of the world I thought I knew, flipping me the other way. Every step along these golden stones reminds me of my fleeting time in this world and how badly I want to connect to something so much greater and beyond me. The mountains sing a precious song to me embracing me every time I return. Never wanting to let me go. Realizing that love is mutual. A difficult love affair.
I begin walking through the footsteps of my forefathers and my soul comes back to Chevron. The first plot of land bought by Avraham 4,000 years ago. As I sit between him and his wife – the Torah is alive in front of me. In and out of my lungs I breathe air that whispers the long journey of our people. Beginning with Avraham and continuing with me, and with you, and with all of us. The soul of a Jew is so deeply connected to the earth here. Its like a root – a thick long root, no matter where we are in the world – the root brings us back. Exactly where we are meant to be. Every moment spent here finishes the exiled footsteps of our ancestors – putting a period to the ellipses of the wandering Jew. We keep coming home – for months, for weeks, for moments and one day for good.
I continue the journey of my soul back in the place it belongs, as I find myself standing in front of the Wall that was unable to be knocked down – a sign of our people. Somewhere between saying Shema Israel – the call of the Jewish people, Church bells ringing and the loud speakers blaring Alla hu’akbar – I’m reminded I am home. I take 3 deep breathes and I open up my Book. I come here and I feel everything will be ok. I am taken care of by the greatest force of kindness and love in the universe – even beyond. I see the birds flying around not looking at any certain point to sit, but singing songs of glory to their Creator. All my doubts and worries slowly dissipate as I close my eyes. As the sun becomes a distant friend and leaves me, I look up at the blackness of the sky that humbles me to realize how small I really am – but its okay. The greatest force in the universe is listening to me. I see the stars that are above me and the moon. The symbol of the Jewish people. The ultimate light in a thick sheet of darkness.
Then I continue the steps that my forefathers were promised – but never saw. An entire nation protected by Avraham’s very own shield. In our ancient prayer books for thousands of years “Magen Avraham” has come alive, it is here. Who would have thought that with G-ds help that shield would become Avraham’s very own children. Tons of my brothers and sisters risking their lives for my land, our land. Just for us to walk these streets, to smell these smells, to see the sunsets and the mountains. The painful price we must pay as a nation. Walking through the streets and seeing the sea of green, of young souls hoping for a future where their children won’t have to wear the same green that they do. Every tear that is shed is not in vain. Every tear is for the fight of our future. Despite all the death the world tries to drown us in – there is an unbelievable celebration and thirst for life. Sometimes we forget. We forget why we are here and what matters. Coming home refocuses that vision. It gives me strength. It gives me a thirst for life and for spirituality that my soul reawakens from a distant place in my mind and heart.
The most painful paradox of a Zionist Jew is leaving home to go “home.” I don’t know how many times we are going to have to go back and forth – but currently this is the fate of so many of us. Those in France, Ukraine and Europe are being forced to go home. Many of them realize that the only home we have in this world – is this little strip of land in the Mediterranean. No matter how painful it is to be ripped out of my home every single time, its worth to have this than nothing at all.
Clarity. Serenity. Inner Peace. Home.