Show someone a cup of water that is filled to the half mark. Fifty percent of the people will say it’s half empty and fifty percent will say it’s half full. It’s all about optimism versus pessimism and an individual’s perspective. War is always – inarguably – a negative thing, no matter how you try and spin it. I think about the usual words associated with the word war, and I come up with pain, suffering, loss, wounded, death, fear, trauma, nightmare, etc… These are not pretty words, which makes perfect sense, because war is anything but pretty.
But there’s one more word that comes to my mind when I think of this war.
I know. It’s strange to add that upbeat, hopeful, supernatural word to the mix. Miracles are usually associated with good things. Great things. Godly things. Awe-inspiring events that have the power to turn non-believers into believers and to forever change lives. It certainly doesn’t apply to war.
But I can’t help but see that this war is anything but miraculous.
When the tunnels were first discovered, I didn’t know what to think of them. First of all, my impression of these tunnels were little furrows just beneath the surface if the ground. I figured they had something to do with the black market – something surely illegal – but I didn’t know much more than that. It was only after I saw the footage of the five terrorists popping out of the ground on Israeli soil and then trying to scurry back into the mouth of one of the tunnels after being discovered by the IDF, did I begin to understand the gravity of them. As every day that passes during this war, the complexity and sheer number of these sturdy fortified tunnels – that resemble any major city’s underground subway system – sends tremors of fear up and down my spine. And I still worry that they will not find each and every one. I shrunk back in abject horror when I saw a video of the IDF pulling shampoo bottles, soap and conditioner out from a cupboard beneath someone’s bathroom sink. They then removed a false bottom and discovered the entrance of yet another tunnel. They filmed some of the items they found down there: rockets, lighter fluid, bomb-making material and the like. And this was in someone’s private house! (This leads to a whole other issue of what “innocent civilian” really means…)
When the “master plan” of a massive-scale terror attack that was carefully planned over the span of a decade to slaughter all Israelis in towns, yishuvim and kibbutzim within the vicinity of Gaza this coming Rosh Hashana was made public, I know not a single one among us that did not quake in fear.
And it hit me with such clarity that this war was a miracle. A blessing in disguise.
Had the IDF not gone into Gaza, there would have been a chance that those tunnels may not have been discovered. And if their plan of terror had actualized, the losses on our side would have been unimaginable. Personally, it affected me deeply. As a mother whose son is scheduled to be attending an army prep school not four kilometers from Gaza, I’m still reeling from the “what ifs”…
And to think how close we were to that happening. Truth is, Hamas is stupid. And stupid is as stupid does. We accepted not one but two ceasefires before the ground forces of our army went into Gaza. Had Hamas been smarter and had accepted the ceasefire, there might have been some sort of (fake) peace treaty (until the next time they lobbied rockets into Israel…) and our Prime Minister would have been forced to stop the IDF from going in. He took a calculated risk by accepting the ceasefire, hoping that Hamas would refuse and it – thank God! – worked in our favor.
So yes. While the losses of our many – too many! – soldiers are painful and devastating, this war cannot only be defined by pain, suffering, loss and death.
It is also a miracle.
And so when I go to the synagogue every night to say Psalms for the safety of our soldiers and for the healing of our wounded heroes and warriors, I also say a fervent thanks to God for two things: for sending us this miracle, and for being able to recognize it for what it is. I might not like the shape or form that this miracle has been given, but I’m eternally grateful nonetheless.