Shock, pain, disbelief, stunned confusion and anger about how this could have possibly happened are thoughts many Israelis have had since the horrific surprise attack by Hamas terrorists that took place on the morning of October 7th.
Initially, almost to the point of embarrassment because of the magnitude of the devastation and loss of life, I started to use the phrase “Israel Through,” referencing the phrase “Ride Through,” a concept that I have adopted as a metaphor for life since the loss of my son Ariel z”l.
How can I even think about comparing the loss of one person — even if it is my own son — to the loss, as of this writing, of 1,300 people killed, thousands wounded and over a 120 civilians being held as hostages.
There is no comparison, period.
Yet, the need for national psychological resilience after watching the horrors unfold before us on social media is going to be a critical factor in Israel for many years to come. So, while personal and national grief are vastly different in terms of the sheer magnitude of loss of life, I would suggest that the experience of my loss and grief may be applied and, hopefully helpful, on the national level.
Both Ride Through and Israel Through have absolutely nothing to do with speed, pace, elevation, or distance- the important stats on my Garmin watch which I copiously analyse after each bike ride.
Rather, it is about waking up every single morning with a bizarre hope that reality was different and then the painful realization that my life has been forever altered and the painful scars will always be etched into my soul.
From that moment on, it is a decision to live life — often joyfully — and move — at my own pace, on my own path — with the pain at my side. It is always there; but I always move.
The encouragement to myself and others is not about pumping one’s fist after an amazing ride in the Jerusalem Mountains. That simply does not happen after a loss of a child. I imagine it does not happen after the massacre of our citizens and killing of our soldiers.
It is more like a gentle whisper saying we will never be fully healed; but there is, somehow, a healing process.
Israel will never be the same. And yes, we will be scarred forever. But we will prevail. We will move.