Thursday, February 7, 2013
Of Bombs & Brides
I find myself in a weird and paradoxical experience.
As I near the day of my wedding, which will be the biggest day of my life thus far, my every thought is directed towards my preparation for it, both spiritually and of course logistically.
Yet, every time my smiling face looks either at the news or at Facebook I am reminded that as I plan how I will walk down the aisle, in Southern Israel they are planning how they will run to the bomb shelter in time for the next rocket. As I plan where my family will sit at the Chuppah, they plan how they can keep their family alive and unharmed.
What happened to me? What happened to the young Zionist who couldn't sleep when his people were under duress? Have I become so self-absorbed that I can't spend five minutes a day to worry and pray for my brethren under fire?
I know many will say that I am normal. That before one’s wedding it is normal to think about one’s own life. But I don't want to be normal! The Jewish people have survived because we are not normal! Because we live by a code: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its craft... if I do not place Jerusalem over my rejoicing." (Psalms 137) We do not stand by while our brothers’ blood is spilled, even for the greatest of Smachot!
But this is the life of a Jew. All the more so a Jew living in Israel. The adage goes: A Jew will dance at a wedding and an hour later be sitting at the house of a mourner only to leave to catch the end of a Brit Milah.
This is my crash course in Judaism in Israel. This is my crash course in Israeli life. I should be obsessed with my upcoming wedding, and within that gladness feel the sorrow of Southern Israel. A Jew cannot live in one reality. I have yet to learn this slow waltz from gladness to sorrow to gladness again. I am young, but I will learn, I will have to.
That is what it means to be a "normal" Jew.