Suddenly, It Got Personal
July 28, 2006[The following was sent out, as part of a 'weekly thought' email, sent out each Friday, since Chaim Fachler and 30 others went to Poland for a week in May]
We all know the saying "mishenichnas adar marbim besimcha" [when adar begins, we should be happier].
Less commonly quoted is "mishenichnas av, memaatim besimcha" [when av begins, we should reduce our happiness].
But on wednesday, Rosh Chodesh Av, we were given a stark reminder. Nine more kedoshim (holy ones) were lost. Nine more families in mourning. The whole country stunned and in shock.
This week's parsha, Devarim, always falls just before tisha ba'av. Moshe Rabeinu asks bnei yisrael - somewhat selfishly "eicha essah levadi .....?" (how can I carry you alone?). And we chant those words with the tune of "eicha yoshva bada ...." (how the city of Jerusalem sits in solitude - how she has become a widow) which we will be saying on tisha ba'av on wednesday night.
I started last week's thought with the words "this has been a difficult week", and I wrote about the power of prayer.
I wrote that from London. and although I knew what was going on, and I followed the news at every spare moment, I was still a bit detached. I theorised, with everyone else, what we needed to do, how long will the West allow us to do their work, how long it will take etc etc.
All this from a relatively safe physical and emotional distance.
And suddenly, it got personal.
Dov was mobilised.
[For those who don't know, dov is our 4th child, our eldest son, married to Michali, father of 13 month old Benzion Aharon, and currently is in his second year of a very intense rabbanut course in the Kerem BeYavne Yeshiva Kollel, having completed 5 years hesder at Yavne.]
I returned home 2 days early, partly to be with Judith, and partly for myself because it was unthinkable that our son is fighting on the front, and I wasn't as physically close as possible.
Knowing your son is on the front, changes your life. Everything takes on a different perspective. And all my earlier theorising about the war was relegated to simple thoughts; "is Dov safe?" followed instictively by "when can he return home?"
Selfish of me? Absolutely. [It was of course Dov who reassured me that this was all necessary, and that with all the tefillot, he felt safe and confident.]
And yesterday [Thursday] morning, after we actually spoke to Dov for the first time since he joined his artillery unit, I was so thrilled and relieved to hear his voice and that he was well.
I would like to ensure that our very supportive families and friends in the dispora continue to FEEL this war in Lebanon and Gaza, by sending you periodical updates.
And with the zchut (merit) of the undoubted achdut (unity) that this creates, we should FEEL Hashem's compassion, we should see a successful end to the hostilities, we should embrace our brave children very soon, and be part of the long overdue rebuilding of the temple, amen.