It wasn’t only me. Jews from every spectrum of society talked about how the soldiers were doing and worried for their families. Everyone sought ways to contribute and show support, and indeed, many did so by praying for soldiers whose names were provided by a special organization that made that its mission.
My question is, what will happen afterward? Will the end of the war herald the end of this beautiful ahavas chinam – loving others for no other reason other than because they are Jews? This time, love and respect were not dependent on our identification with these Jews’ lifestyles and choice. It was plain, baseless love. Will we still have that? I desperately wish the answer will be yes.
The war will, indeed, be remembered fondly.
The war has also inspired our deep yearning for Mashiach. Never before had I, personally, been so convinced that this was “it.” The subtlest change – a sudden noise and any unusual piece of news sent me into a frenzy of adrenaline. Mashiach! Mashiach! Mashiach is really coming!
The signs were so convincing. It was the Three Weeks of mourning, the time we hope for the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash. Jewish love on one hand, and the odds against us on the other, were so great. Anti-Semitism reached an unbelievable peak. There seemed to be no more practical solutions to our centuries-old problem.
Early one Shabbos morning, just after my husband had left for davening (don’t things always happen then?), the floor under me began to quiver. Then the windows jumped. I shot out of bed. My first thought was that rockets were falling without any warning sirens. I felt sick to my stomach, sure that the Arabs had deactivated our siren system so no one would take cover. Again the windows trembled. Should I schlep my kids and run to our safe area? I groaned. I wanted just a little bit more of Shabbos quiet. But I didn’t have it anyway – the windows kept trembling, and so did I.
Then it hit me. This must be a sign of Mashiach! Something is happening. The world is shaking. I jumped up again, and now my knees were shaking too.
What should I do? Should I get dressed for Mashiach’s arrival? (But if it’s not Mashiach, then I’ll want to go back to sleep and will have to change back again…the sheer worry of it!)
In the midst of my excited thoughts, the trembling stopped, after almost an hour. Dejected and still wondering, I fell into bed and grabbed another few snatches of sleep.
Later, my husband reported that the shaking indeed reverberated all around the area, and that it was claimed to be vibrations caused by the huge bombing going on in not-so-far Gaza! This was chilling “regards” from our brothers and enemies down south. So the vibrations were the sounds of war, not Mashiach.
But I continued to wait. Mashiach was the topic at breakfast, lunch, and supper. (We discussed if I’d still need parenting classes when Machiach comes, or if I won’t, and then will my mentor return the money for the prepaid course? And what about my niece’s wedding in a few weeks from now? Would it be in the same hall or does another hall in Jerusalem have to be booked? And what about my plans of flying overseas? These were the burning issues.) I was certain we wouldn’t fast on Tisha B’Av, and even when the fast began, I waited breathlessly for the moment. I was grateful that the fast went well but frustrated as well. Now that the Three Weeks of mourning and the war have come and (almost) gone, where does that leave me?Malka Katzman
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