Even if I try to go without thinking about it, I can’t.
Every reminder, every bright red KIDNAPPED poster taped to a street sign, gives me a renewed perspective and appreciation of my day.
I read their name. It stops me in my tracks.
I look into their eyes. My throat turns into a knot.
I learn their age. A pit in my stomach.
When I remind my feet to keep moving, I find myself living differently— walking more confidently, praying more intensely. The sense of responsibility for my people returns to my shoulders, heavy, like I’m pulling on a winter coat. We are one heart, one soul, one people.
And then my eyes meet the posters that are viciously torn down. Written over. Ripped in half, just like my heart.
I feel personally targeted. I feel heartbroken. Disrespected, worthless, hated, hopeless, lost, paranoid, uncertain, stomped on, powerless. I wouldn’t wish these feelings on my worst enemy.
Yet I want to meet the person who did this malicious act, because I want to let them in on a little secret:
I want to rip down the hostage posters, too.
I do, more than anything.
I’m ready to run around my city and hunt down every kidnapped poster, tearing them to shreds, celebrating that our family is no longer held hostage by terrorists. I want to dance until our feet give out and toast with my community. I want to sleep normally again. I want to stop saying a prayer for the hostages because there are none left. I want to disassemble the Shabbat tables with 239 empty seats, to give the challah to the families reuniting, to say kiddush together and truly understand how HaShem has redeemed us once again from our enemies.
But no matter how much I want to skip to the good part, to bring out the sparkling wine and celebrate, I hold myself back. It’s not time yet. We still have work to do.
For now, I force myself to keep my head up, to continue doing my part. And perhaps, most importantly, I remind myself to keep fighting through the tears and struggles because, like Miriam, I’m holding onto the timbrels, eagerly waiting to dance at any moment.