Walled City

The world around me is furiously unfurling. Tender roots poke through the earth that lay barren just last week. I offer a quiet, humble welcome to the shoots of grass outside my home; they are as ancient as they are brand new. It is not just the land unleashing itself this morning, it is everything spoken and unspoken, that circles ominously overhead.
The wall juts out sharply from the mountaintop above me. It’s significance runs deeper than the cement and steel it is made of. Deeper still than the very earth it rests upon. Somehow, all that lay behind it and in front of it, all that swirls around it, is as organic as the fabric of time itself. As old as Ishmael and Isaac.

I live at the northernmost border of Jerusalem. I often wonder if one day, without moving an inch, I will live on the border of Israel. Other times, when my mood is particularly dark, I wonder if I will live at all. The ripples of history that float around me whisper that there are no guarantees in this fight for existence.

The whole, endless story reeks of heavenly intervention, as we mumble among ourselves, discussing the shocking blindness of the world to our plight. I am grateful for the reception Netanyahu received and surprised that I feel this way. Certainly uniting Democratic nations in the fight against the most awful kind of terrorism is a given. Certainly the America I grew up in will do everything in it’s power to halt the march of evil. But all my certainty has drowned in the murkiness of the water spread before us. I am no longer certain of anything. And yet, whatever future holds in his trembling hand, today I am alive. I will make choices that are my own and I shall relish them. I will laugh and love and live enclosed in this beautiful, tenuous bubble of democracy and freedom and I will savor it. For the people on every side of us, on top of us and behind us, from all corners of the earth- they are squeezing. Tighter and tighter they squeeze.

The communities that were walled at the time of the Purim story celebrate the miracle one day later than the rest. To wall a city. How very sweet, how very vintage! How very antiquated. Yet here I am, walled again. Many years ago, sitting in my large day school classroom in upstate New York, I wondered what that even meant, a walled city. Now I know. A city’s walls are built on dreams of safety and security. They are built on the desperate desire to hold on to what it is ours, to keep it from sliding through the inevitable spaces within our clenched hands. They are built to keep greedy calloused fingers from ripping it apart. They are built to contain and preserve goodness. They stand as sentries, emissaries of G-d, large concrete marionettes against a blackened stage sky. And He will let them work, or He will let them fall.

It is not just the wall. We have marked our territory with oddly shaped stains throughout the city and those with the right sort of eyes can see them clearly. They are chess pieces set in place for negotiations that may come, the future and the past all rolled into one. If we ever get there.

In Estheresque fashion he pleads with the powers that be for our right to exist. But now, just as it was then, there are no guarantees. No, no guarantees. We celebrate Purim because annihilation was being dangled like a noose above the neck of the Jewish people and repentance brought a complete salvation. Today, from that very same region, weapons of mass destruction sit at the fingertips of those who promise complete destruction. My destruction. My children’s destruction. The destruction of all I hold dear. And we may be saved. Or, Heaven forbid, we may not be saved.

But today we are here. Today I will thank G-d for my right to live on this side of the wall. I will praise Him for giving me this time to live on holy earth in freedom. And just as they did then, I will fast and cry and beg for our future. For interwoven through the spring air and the fragile blossoms and the copious amounts of pollen is the thread of salvation that Adar holds. I will grab it and pull as hard as I can, I will beg for deliverance.

There are no guarantees. No guarantees- with one very crucial exception, promised thousands of years ago. It is a sliver of light in every dark corner. It is a promise that pulsates within each of us separately and all of us together, forever. No matter how high the tide may rise, the Jewish people will survive.

May we all merit to see miracles within our day, within our walls.

About the Author
Rachael is a full time mother who blogs in her head and occasionally finds the time to get some words on paper. She writes fiction and poetry for various Jewish publications.