It is truly heartwarming.
Old friends, distant family, former neighbors, and even the secretary from my kids’ former pediatrician’s office have been reaching out over the last few days. Everyone needs to know the same thing: Are we OK?
I tell most of them the same thing. “Thank G-d, we are OK. Thanks for asking.” And I mean it. We are here and it is relatively quiet, and for now, we believe we are safe. I thank them for caring and for checking in, and we exchange some emojis, and that is it. They feel better, I feel a bit better, and we move on with our days. But then my close friends check in, and maybe it is our history, or the knowledge that they’ll get it, and suddenly, my mantra of “Thank G-d, we are OK. Thanks for asking” doesn’t feel like enough. So I add: “But what does OK mean anyway?”
Is it OK to wake up every morning with dread? To be torn between the compulsion to check the news and the fear of what you will read? To wonder how you will spend your day stuck in the house? How you will provide the kids with some structure and some semblance of security when both are nonexistent? How you will explain to them that their neighbors’, teachers’, friends’, are burying their loved ones?
Is it OK to be at a funeral for a fallen soldier from our community that only started at 12 am? Is it OK that in the span of time between 2 am and 7 am when you finally collapse from emotional exhaustion (that surprisingly allows you to sleep deeply), that there are reports of 100 more deaths?
Is it OK to have to tell another one of your children that someone close to them lost someone else?
Is it OK to just be waiting for the news that we are no longer “safe”?
Is it OK to ponder if the presence of army tanks in your area is comforting or really not?
Is it OK to have to consider the fact that most of our gun carrying men were called up for the reserves, and wonder about how that impacts the protection of our yishuv?
Is it OK to contemplate for the first time in your life the necessity of you carrying a gun?
Is it OK to worry about arranging a self defense course for your teenagers?
Is it OK that despite raising the funds, there simply is no place to source bullet proof vests and helmets because the demand surpasses the supply?
Is it OK to frantically bake cookies for soldiers because you are desperate to feel good for a few minutes, and seeing their smiles does that, even though you know that they could use underwear more than your cookies?
Is it OK to be grateful for your safety when you know that others aren’t as lucky?
Is it OK to think about how long your safety will last?
Is it OK to feel guilty for feeling like things are not OK even when you know others have it much worse?
Who am I to say?
Nothing feels OK. But I believe that one day it will be.
I know that Hashem has a plan. I know that the outpouring of love and support and solidarity is powerful enough to change everything. I have seen amazing videos. I have heard the most inspiring stories. People are stepping up in every imaginable and even unimaginable way. I know that for all of the horror that our enemies are unleashing, we have the power to counter it 1000 fold with our commitment to each other. Now is the time to show the world what it means to be a Light Unto the Nations. Everyone is watching. Let’s show them how it is done.
May we be successful, and may Hashem respond to this merit with the final geula.