Last week I went to bed very late every night.I had to stay up to see that the day’s hostages were finally safely in Israel. I felt that if I went to sleep maybe Hamas would play one of their tricks and turn the vehicle carrying them around back to Gaza. My heart pounded with fear as I watched in real time the mob of Gazans surrounding their vehicle, banging on it ready to lynch them if they could get their hands on them
To say it was nerve-wracking is putting it mildly. We watched in real time. The commentators in the newsroom knew no more than I did. We were all watching the same screens. Me in my home in Jerusalem, the news broadcasters and commentators in the studios, the friends of all the hostages in their hotels around the country, and the immediate families of those expected (but never 100% sure) to arrive already waiting in hospitals around Israel – and, I guess, millions of other viewers around the world.
We all knew that nothing was certain, nothing was guaranteed. Hamas has been waging a horrific psychological war. I cannot begin to imagine how the hostages’ families are feeling. They say they only fall asleep when their bodies are exhausted, wherever they happen to be. I can understand that.
Mazel Tov, my daughter just had a baby girl.
But some people don’t know if their daughter is even alive.
Should I make rice or potatoes tonight with the leftover chicken from Shabbat?
When did those who were kidnapped last have a meal?
We have a close family wedding tonight.
Did I buy the new outfit I promised myself I would when we first heard about the wedding? Of course not how can I think about shopping for new clothes when we’ve just suffered a massacre. Our brothers in the south who are still alive and whose homes and communities have been destroyed are now displaced in hotels and hundreds still don’t know if their family members are alive or dead.
I’m living life on two planes.
I know it won’t help the soldiers or those kidnapped if I don’t eat a meal but it’s impossible to just get on with life ‘as usual’ when so many can’t. So many lives are still in limbo.
And now the fighting in Gaza has resumed.
Every morning, as I tum on the radio when I wake up, I pray that the news headlines will not be “Here are the names of the soldiers who fell yesterday in Gaza….”
And if that is the headline, then I pray that I don’t know any of the soldiers whose names will shortly be announced.
And then I feel terribly guilty because even if I don’t know them personally they are our brothers, they are some other Jewish woman’s son/ husband.
At night, snuggling under my thick duvet as the wind and rain lash our house reminds me that soldiers can’t wear thick warm coats as they would hamper their movements and stop them from running and fighting. I hope they at least have something waterproof
At each meal we sit down to ,I think of the thousands of soldiers eating their manot krav (battle rations – canned/packaged long life food, which will stop them being hungry but is hardly appetizing) with one finger on the trigger of their weapons.
Day after day we pray that all our soldiers and all the members of the IDF and Hatzola, M.D.A and ZAKA who risk their lives for the sake of our country and all the hostages who are still enduring purgatory at the hands of terrorists, will return home to their families healthy, uninjured and able to resume their lives.
From our hearts and lips to G-d’s ears.