Writing articles is always full of surprises. In fact, it’s fraught with danger. All articles come with deadlines that are several weeks to several months before the actual publishing time. This means that whatever one writes must be, if not timeless and eternal, then at least not time related. But then how does one write what’s happening now, today? Living, as we do, in the Holy Land, one never knows what tomorrow will bring. (Come to think of it, we’re never sure what tonight will bring either.)
If, for example, one chooses to write about some light, pleasant topic such as a vacation or a funny story or a new song everyone is singing, the day it shows up in print may be the day when our not-so-friendly neighbors decide to fire rockets across the country. Our funny, pleasant article is then not only irrelevant, but absolutely unfit to print.
On the other hand, if one concentrates on events taking place the day of the writing – in this case, rockets being fired across the country by our not-so-friendly neighbors – by the time the article appears in print, the nations of the world may have succeeded in forcing another vacuous, unholy ceasefire on Israel while proclaiming that Peace in the Middle East is just around the corner. (They conveniently forget that Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Iran are also just around the corner with Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia lying-in-wait on the next block. Just think of 1948, 1956, 1967, and up to today.)
In cases like this, all articles are in danger of becoming Old News – a journalistic embarrassment. Who wants to read Old News when the Internet is already giving you tomorrow’s happenings before they’ve even occurred? So where does that leave the poor journalist?
I suppose it leaves him or her together with the rest of Am Yisrael – in the tense, perplexing present. On quiet, “normal” days (we do have a few of those during the year), we may be somewhere in the glorious Galil, at the blue-green Kinneret or the tranquil Yam Suf in Eilat; we may be celebrating at a joyous wedding, be on the way to a hospital to give birth or, lo aleinu, to a funeral. On noisier, less “normal” days – like now – many of us are sitting in a stuffy shelter, or trying to get to the Kotel to daven for the welfare of our boys and men who are in miluim or in Gaza. By the time you read this, perhaps they will be home. We hope.
Eretz Yisrael nikneit b’yissurim – the Land of Israel is acquired through suffering, but if your vision is good enough, you can see the prize waiting at the end of the line. Mrs. Ruchama Shein, a”h, author of All for the Boss, once told me, “I’m ready to go whenever G-d wants to take me but before I leave I want to see the last act in the play. I want to see the arrival of Mashiach. I want to see how it all works out.” She did not get her wish, although I have no doubt she has a front row seat and can “see” clearly from wherever she is now.
For most of us, the visibility from here is definitely cloudy. People ask, “What will be? Aren’t you afraid? Wouldn’t you rather live someplace quieter, more secure?” We just smile. What other place is there in this world that is “quieter”, safer, more fitting for a Jew? The bonds to this particular piece of earthly real estate are so deep, the love so strong, that living elsewhere is simply not an option. Leaving the Land of Israel is like leaving G-d.