The Fast of Yom Hazikaron

Painting by Yehuda Sussman

When our children were 3 and 1, we started discussing what type of life we wanted them to have, and where we wanted them to have it. How would we imbue in them a sense of purpose, with a Zionist thirst and with an understanding of their history and their people?

There are many answers to these questions. The answer that we decided upon was Israel.

Gathering up our (limited) worldly possessions, we moved to our new home.

Time moved, as time will, and the children grew. In our day-to-day lives we don’t always see the answers to our parental questions and longings. Have we managed, in over a decade and a half, to give them a love of Zionism? Do they fully understand how intricately tied their lives are to those of their people, past-present-and-future?

Once in a while, if we are lucky as parents, we catch those glimmers that allow us to take a deep breath and get the confirmation that we constantly seek. And those moments are glorious.

I was given one such moment last night at the dinner table. We were discussing the week ahead, the plans for Yom Hazikaron (staying home and remembering) and Yom Haaztmaut (staying home and celebrating). The baby who made aliyah at 2, and is now 18, said “Wait, Yom Hazikaron is tomorrow night?” And then under his breath, and really to himself, he said, “Okay, I have to remember to eat well tomorrow before the fast.”

The conversation started to move on. But I caught the moment.

“Fast? What fast?”

“I fast every Yom Hazikaron,” he said.

Then looking around at his confused brothers he said, “Well, you fast for Gedaliah, right? And do you even remember who he was? But this is the most important day of the year. You know these people who died – you live right here with them. The least I can do is fast to remember all of our soldiers and regular people who died so that I can be here.”

Silence.

The kids all sat there, contemplating their older brother’s words, as my side of the tablecloth soaked up my tears.

About the Author
Romi Sussman is a teacher and writer. When she's not at her computer, she's juggling raising six boys ages 9-20 and conquering daily life as an Olah. She enjoys blogging here, at Kveller and on her personal blog at http://aineretzacheret.com.
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