I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that I’m not a particularly observant person. Although I love going to shul for Kabbalat Shabbat and I have been known to quote Rebbe Nachman, I don’t pray 3 times a day, I’m not especially concerned about kashrut, and shabbat often involves a phone conversation with my family in the States. I’m not religious, in the observant sense of the word.
But I am religious because I believe, because I have faith, because I am grounded in my emunah. This past week I was walking the streets of Jerusalem with a friend visiting from America and he shows me that he brought his knife and his pepper spray with him. I’ve never bought pepper spray. I never even thought about buying pepper spray, even during the height of the gal terror (wave of terrorist attacks), even when a bus I got on every day, 2 times a day, was attacked by 2 terrorists with a knife and a gun, leaving 2 dead and three injured. Maybe I’m naive. Maybe I’m silly. Maybe I’ve been in a suburban bubble for much of my life and haven’t had to live in fear or watch my back.
And yet…I just believe. I feel so strongly that if God wants to take me from this world, he’ll do so, and there’s nothing I can do about it. If I walk around like I expect someone to attack me, there’s a greater possibility that they will. Because that’s the energy that I’m putting out into the world.
But expecting an attack is not the energy I want to be walking around with. The energy I want be walking around with is the energy of being rooted in the faith of God, of being unwavering in my belief in Hashem’s plan for me, of being grounded in the fact that I chose to live here. I chose to make aliya, to move to Israel, to make it my home, at an extremely challenging time.
And yet…I did that because I knew that it was best for me. Because I knew that whatever the next stage was that I had to go through in my life, that it had to happen here. That I knew that this is where my heart is. And that if my purpose for being here is for God to take me in a terror attack (chas v’shalom), then he will…and there’s nothing I can do about it. What can I do something about? Be a model, show my faith, allow myself to feel scared and worry that the 17 year old girl stabbed in the Gush could have been my cousin. To feel anger and sadness for those who think killing others will solve their problems, that being rooted in hate and anger will somehow bring them happiness and peace.
What I can do is be present in every single moment and thank God for for every step I take in this beautiful, holy land, for every breath of air that I breathe in from trees that have been here for longer than I can imagine. Sometimes I stay in that moment. Sometimes I stay in that gratitude. Sometimes I catch myself when I am moving into fear and move myself out of it, into the loving kindness and mercy of Hashem. I know that I will be safe no matter where I go, no matter what I do and no matter what happens to me. And I choose to feel safe.
My blessing is that we may all stay strong in the faith of God. In knowing that the plan is greater than us and that there’s not much we can do to avoid it. May we surrender to that plan, may we feel embraced by God’s love and may we walk around with the energy of our faith firmly rooted in Hashem.