Yesterday, on Chol HaMoed Sukkot, one of the intermediate days of the Festival of Booths, all I wanted to do was forget which day it was, curl up in my bed and cry. It is the Holiday that we are commanded by G-d to be(only) Happy and all I wanted was for the day to be over before it even really started.

My family and I were heading to the zoo for a fun day with friends. We were planning a train ride from Beit Shemesh, but when we got to the train station, we learned that there were no trains and that shuttle buses would be sent over to drive us to the zoo.

There were HUNDREDS of people standing there, in the sweltering sun, no one at their best. There were teenage girls, rude and dismissive as could be when asked to allow a family to board the bus before them. An Israeli woman was cussing at the director of the train station like a sailor. Young children were having meltdowns left and right. A young new mother with a 2 month old infant was being shoved around with the baby in her arms. Families were made to separate before boarding the buses in order to make room for others. The scene was pure chaos and all I kept thinking was “I really wish my children didn’t have to witness this”. When we finally loaded a bus, a yelling match broke out between the driver and one of the passengers…”Hashem”, I asked Him “Why are you doing this? What are we supposed to learn from this?” And I could feel the tears burn my eyes and threaten to drip down my cheeks…

How sad for us, the Jewish people. This past summer was so heavily laden with pain for us as a Nation. We endured unbearable loss and bloodshed. There were what seemed to be endless bitter tears and countless grieving families. And yet, the national love-o-meter and the levels of good will had hit the roof. Whether it was the endless packages to soldiers, the attendance to funerals and Shiva houses of “strangers”, and incredible random acts of kindness all around. This past summer, I fell in love with my people more and more every day…

How quickly we forget…That reality hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday while stuck in the chaos at the train station. And I thought to myself” I refuse to forget what beauty, love and kindness can emanate from my people. That is our true nature. The shmutz is all exterior and can be washed off”. I, for one, will make it my mission to be (only) Happy during this holiday and will do my best to focus on the beauty from within, rather than allowing myself to be disappointed by what I know is NOT the real nature of my beautiful people, Am Yisrael.