Since October 7, the collective Jewish consciousness has been shaken like a snow globe.
Comfort and security (albeit a false sense) has been violently ripped from us, leaving fear, trauma, vigilance, and intense grief in its stead. On the other side of the ledger, in-fighting, squabbling, passivity and conflict among Jews has been eviscerated, replaced by unity, kindness, giving, and connection to God and each other.
We are processing a lot.
The shock and disbelief of the unspeakable brutality of Hamas/ISIS has settled into our bones.
The velocity of hate being unleashed on Jews and Israel around the world feels like a noose around our necks.
The anxious vigilance about what is around the next corner for our soldiers, our land and our people is suffocating.
It’s a high price to pay to get us all on the same page.
So what are we supposed to do with all these difficult emotions? How do we manage not knowing what is around the next corner? How do we calm the fears and the anxiety? How are we supposed to process that Never Again is happening now?
It’s not. It’s different.
Yes, the hate is the same.
But we, the Jewish people, are not the same.
The irony is that we are not the same for the exact reason we were attacked – we have Israel.
In the wake of the massacre, the appreciation for our homeland has never been higher, in Israel and in the Diaspora. The necessity of protecting our homeland has never been clearer. The efforts to be in Israel, fight alongside Israel, stand with Israel have never been stronger. And our bond between one another has never been more evident.
That is why we’ll win this.
But what about the emotional tsunami we are feeling? Yes, we are steeped in the intense pain and grief we feel for every precious soul we’ve lost. But it’s more than that.
Because unlike what our enemies claim, this is not a fight for land. This is a vicious fight, once again, for our very survival as a people. And we feel it.
We see it on college campuses. We hear it from the UN. We read about it in the biased reporting. We experience it in attacks on Jewish students and citizens. We are flooded with it on social media. We are finding out who are friends are and we are stunned by who and how many are not.
Russia may want Ukraine. But if every Ukrainian citizen fled to another country, Russia would not pursue them. The attacks on Israel are not that.
It’s about killing us simply for who we are. That’s what it’s always been. It’s an actual manifestation of genocide, a term that, like apartheid, gets bandied about where it isn’t true and weaponized when it is.
That’s why our fear and our anxiety is so high. It’s an existential fear. It’s survival of our people. And after millennia of persecution, our land has everything to do with that survival.
The existence of the State of Israel has and continues to return so many Jews to themselves. It has inspired countless people to reconnect with Judaism by seeing the the promises of God and the Torah come to life through Israel’s existence as a Jewish State. Israel bolsters the morale of Jews in the diaspora and gives us something to be deeply proud of because no one else could make that desert bloom, literally and figuratively. And Israel gives us a deep sense of security that we have a home that will welcome us with open arms no matter what the world says.
Israel is our home and we are its people.
So how do we center and calm ourselves in these intense and scary times?
Know with a full heart that….
Israel will never again be taken from us again.
You are part of a miraculous and ancient people that has survived and thrived despite the most horrific attempts to annihilate us. You are a precious link in that chain and each of us has a role to play in our continuation. Focus on what you can do to actualize that.
God will never abandon us. It’s hard. It’s painful. We don’t understand. But neither are we alone in our suffering.
You are a soul. No matter what happens to our physical bodies, our truest and most essential selves can never be hurt, destroyed or taken away from us. Our souls are a beloved part of God and they are precious and eternal. Try to connect to your soul daily in whatever ways are accessible to you.
It’s good to practice self care and to know thyself. You don’t have to spend hours scrolling or trolling the news outlets if it raises your anxiety level. It’s important to be aware and compassionate but it doesn’t help the soldiers or the families if you are paralyzed by fear, anger, anxiety or depression. So walk gently with yourself. It will help you help others.
The yeshuah is coming.
“I shall return the captivity of My people Israel and they shall build the waste cities and settle… I shall plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be plucked out of their land that I have given them, says G‑d, your G‑d.” “Amos 9:14-15: “
May we merit to see the redemption speedily in our time.