If there is a silver lining to life’s tragedies then can there be a smokey lining to the terrorist fires that have burned through Israel this past week?
As the fires rage on, I can’t help but try and find deeper meaning. Is it the burning bush circa 2016? Is God talking to all of us? Or is this a moment for us to talk to each other? As America celebrated Thanksgiving, and I did my immigrant style Thanksgiving Shabbat here in Israel, I pondered what all the burning hate and being thankful have to do with us here and now.
Egypt, Jordan and even Palestinian firefighters are helping to combat the flames. Ultra Orthodox Jews are dancing circles around firefighters to celebrate their courage and strength. American firefighters volunteered their time and energy too. Israelis throughout the country donated food and money to help give that extra boost of energy with snacks and drinks in what seemed or seems like an endless fight against the fire. After all this is just another form of terror.
In my neighborhood, while we haven’t experienced brush fires or homes burning to the ground, we have had plenty of molotov cocktails thrown at houses, where sleeping children awake with renewed fear. Same hate. Different form of fire. Same terror. Different form of terrorism.
So here we all are. Together. For me, as I said, if this is a burning bush, then this time it is saying, you can find the smokey lining in all off this. We are together. Our hearts burn with love. While their hate just burns. We can come together. Sometimes we forget that we are the only Jewish State. I know, we don’t actually forget…but in a way, we forget our purpose here. We can be divided as a country of Jews. With our Jewish opinions. We fight too. We disagree. We argue. We live our lives. We go to work. We get things done. And we forget we need each other. Maybe these fires remind us, we are all together in this. That there is international support and even support from “the other side.”
From the north of Israel, down to the south, we are living together. We are fighting this fire together. We are fighting to be together. And how do we know this? Well, Kay Wilson, a survivor of terror, puts it best in her tweet: “For the first time since 1948 1000’s of Arabs have inadvertently recognised our right to exist by typing word…#Israelisburning”
I am not justifying hate or terror. Those responsible should pay the price of their evil acts. And those that have lost their homes and livelihood should find comfort with friends and family. If our houses burn to the ground, we know we still have our home here. We will build again. More. Better. With the strength that we have always had. With every fight. With every war. Together we find ourselves. From the ashes we keep rising. The smokey lining. We are still here. Come Tu B’Shvat, we will plant more trees. They will grow with this nation. We will be proud of what we can and will accomplish. And those that terrorize will feel disappointment in their actions that leave them with just the ashes. Their fires will burn out. While our passion rages on. We are together in this.