The full shock of the devastating news reached us only after sunset, as the holiday ended: the kidnapped hostages, dead, and wounded; the unimaginable brutality with which human dignity was violated; the thousands of soldiers heading to the front lines, our sons-in-law among them.
“Everything has an appointed season, and there is a time for every matter under the heavens.” – Kohelet – Ecclesiastes – Chapter 3:1
Home, sweet home.
After being on the road for many, many weeks, I finally returned to Israel — and what a week to be back.
Every year Israel marks three very important days very close together in the most meaningful ways. First is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Although many countries have such a day, in Israel, almost every Jewish home that can trace their roots back to Eastern Europe is part of the direct chain of the greatest atrocity of the 20th Century. And every Israeli knows that there would be no Jewish state if the world’s countries had not voted in the UN with their guilt over the Holocaust.
A few days later comes Yom HaZikron, Remembrance Day, where those who gave their lives in service of the country are mourned once again. Israelis flock to the cemeteries, and the media is filled with countless moving stories of those who paid the ultimate price for Israel and the Jewish people. This is a deeply solemn and sad day that is not centered on just those who came from Eastern Europe; this is a day that is felt in every single Jewish home. Almost everyone here serves in the IDF, so there is not a home that is not connected to family or friends who gave their lives defending this land.
And then immediately, Israelis go from the saddest day to the happiest, as Yom Hatzmaut, Independence Day, begins the minute Yom Hazikaron ends. It’s one big party in the street, this year marking 74 years young– an ancient land, a baby of a country—a living miracle.
But this year, as this day of celebration was coming to an end, the news suddenly filled with the deaths of innocent Israelis at the hand of terrorists once again. Our hearts break once more.
“A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time of wailing and a time of dancing…” Kohelet – Ecclesiastes – Chapter 3:4
Every day here is like living a meaningful miracle. There is no place like home.