I went to bed Wednesday night with the thought that shabbos is almost here and what a relief that will be. No more news, or obsessively checking my phone. No more sirens, just shabbos calm. It took me a full 15 seconds until it occurred to me that this shabbos would not be like the shabbasos that have come before it and it certainly won’t come with its usual relief.
It’s now erev shabbos here in Israel, and I’m trying to prepare. My preparations look a little bit different this week. I bake challah every week, but not today. There were countless challah bakes happening, and yet I couldn’t pull myself together to make the dough that usually takes me just 5 minutes on Friday mornings.
I am watching the men left here on the yishuv panicking. They hear rumors of what we can expect over shabbos and they are terrified. I allow myself to worry for a moment, and then I remember, we have what we have. There is nothing more we can do to physically protect ourselves from the enemy. We’ve done what we can, and we trust that Hashem will take care of us. But then I consider what else it is that we can do. I mentally review what we know from history. What we can learn from Tanach. What would Dovid do? What would Esther do? What can we do? I remember how the Jews painted their door posts with blood before leaving Mitzrayim, and I keep asking, what is the equivalent?
I don’t know.
I know that ביום ההוא יהיה ה’ אחד ושמו אחד. I think about social media and how maybe it’s purpose is to help accommodate this. I know that the Jews have to be united and this too can be facilitated through social media. I think about how we have a physical location that we have the ability to gather together in, and I feel like the stage is set. But I keep coming back to the same question. How do we make it happen?
Noki asks me to pow wow with him about hilchos shabbos. How can we set things up to avoid being mechalel shabbos as much as possible? How can we connect our phones to Bluetooth speakers so that we will be able to hear alerts from anywhere in our house?
I think about how we will read shabbos morning about the very first shabbos that ever was. How it is a fundamental part of the world and our lives and how keeping it is one of the most sacred things, and I’m scared of how much honor it will get this week.
I’m back to Dovid and Esther and the Jews in the midbar. At the end of the day, I think the message is the same each time. The more that we embrace that Hashem is in control and that He has it under control, the less there is to be concerned about. How many times did the Jews in the midbar question this after having every reason not to? How many times did their lack of faith bring about tragedy? Maybe this is our job. Maybe we, who didn’t see the miracles of Mitzrayim and in the midbar and in conquering Eretz Yisrael, can pull ourselves together to believe and to trust that everything will be ok even though it seems like anything but? Maybe this could be the thing that makes all of the difference.
I still have to wash the floors, clean the bathrooms, and put granola bars in the safe room.
My shabbos preparations are a little different this week indeed.