I don’t know what to say so I’m just going to start with the basics. You of course know everything, all our thoughts and feelings, the comings and goings of each of us. What has happened and what will happen. I do feel and know You’re watching us and loving us during all of this.
You’ve never left us, never left me, even when I feel desperately alone.
I tell everyone how I talk to You, how I started talking to You when I was a scared teenager. That I learned about you from reading the translated prayer book at my temple. I loved that book and I’m so grateful to my parents for bringing me to that place.
I talk to You in the shower, on my walks, before and after I eat and use the bathroom, before I go to sleep and when I wake up. And even occasionally in synagogue, though not recently. I cry to you when I’m scared or lonely. Sometimes I ignore you and focus only on my own thoughts.
The truth is most of the time I feel painfully disconnected from You. But somehow I know to keep trying and to learn from others.
I know You want us to love each other down here in this world. I haven’t always been so good at that. My kids say I’m spiritual. I often carry a Book of Psalms with me. Even though I’ve heard how powerful those words are, I still have to force myself to open it.
I’m often a hypocrite. I criticize my spouse and others, including myself. I have been jealous. I have lied. I have been indifferent. I haven’t always honored my parents or myself as a Jewish woman.
As I sit here with my dog and cats on my back porch, my kids are still asleep in their beds upstairs. I encouraged Danny to go to the Kollel to learn and pray with the other men there. We are also preparing practically, researching bomb shelters — which one can we get to in less than two minutes? Reading preparedness websites, stocking up on food and water, getting advice. It’s sort of like we would and did in Florida when hurricanes were coming. We sent a video of our downstairs room to someone to help us assess if it’s safe to stay there.
My friends’ husbands and sons have been called up to help protect our beautiful land. My teenage son is still too young for the army.
We made aliyah as a family 13 months ago. It is literally the land promised to us by You, G-d. You want us here. It’s what I’ve learned, and somehow I know this with my entire being, my mind, body and soul.
It is here–this tiny piece of land on a spinning planet in an infinite universe–that we are plugged in. But still I sometimes forget my mission here. It’s so easy to get distracted.
Nearly every page of the Tanakh bursts with passionate descriptions about the beauty, holiness and significance of the Land of Israel.
It is a Land that the Lord your G-d seeks out; the eyes of the Lord your G-d, are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. DEUTERONOMY (11:12)
I will return the captivity of my people Israel, and they will rebuild desolate cities and settle them. AMOS (9:14)
Now I sit here, just after the High Holy Days when I didn’t pray or do as much as I could have, feeling the cool autumn breeze with a pit in my stomach. What is going on around me is literally incomprehensible. But we have once again come together as a people, like we do in every generation. Our people’s story is filled with not just persecution, but also faith and miracles.
We are here to be a light unto the nations. But how can we know light if there is no darkness? So I sort of understand.
I talk to you and I practice meditation. It’s hard for me– a few deep breaths in and out and my mind wanders. I think you laugh at me. Maybe You want to say You love me, that I’m enough.
I sob for the people I see in the videos, moms and children and others experiencing such cruelty I literally can’t even process it. So then after another fit of tears I go back to compartmentalizing.
What do you want and need from me, G-d?
I hear jet after jet flying overhead. In between there is peaceful silence. Another deep breath. Where are You?
People literally suffer throughout this world every day, here in Israel and around the world. I know this intellectually. I hear about it. But it’s so easy to be indifferent. To focus only on myself. Yes my responsibility is first to me and my children, but they must know, we must know, that there is an enemy, seen and unseen. Sometimes the enemy is within us, and sometimes it’s the scary men with their faces covered doing unspeakable things to our fellow humans.
Why are we not all screaming and crying–demanding an end to it all? We have so much power, much more than we realize.
The worst place to be is in denial, to not know or to forget that you matter. You have to pick a team.
I want people to know they have SO. MUCH. POWER. That sending someone good thoughts and prayers, and doing some random act of goodness, really makes a difference. I want to tell them to open their mouths, even if it’s the first time ever.
No one escapes death, which is actually the beginning. Or a new beginning.
Here You’re so hidden from us, G-d, it sometimes feels impossible to lift the veil.
But in those beautiful, life-changing moments when I can hear You and actually know you’re there…
…ah, the breeze again. The Hebrew word for breeze is ruach. In Hebrew we say ruach hakodesh, holy wind, to refer to G-d. It’s one of many ways we use finite language to refer to the Infinite, to try to know You.
But You know all this of course. Soon, as my soul is set free of this body, I will once again be reunited with You and Your infinite loving light.
For now, I’ll speak to you as if I’m already there, and trust what You’ve been telling me.
G-d, please keep my children safe from harm and protect us all during this time as we turn to you.
Ease my mother’s heart. She is so worried. Tell her You are always caring for me and help her to listen.
Danny has returned. We are sitting outside together, computers opened. Soon we will go look at the shelters nearby and come up with a plan.