Leah’s Blog – Tisha B’Av and Living in the Protective Edge
A place I like to visit is a little bend at the bottom of the road that winds around the ample body of Mount Gerizzim. It’s a place of pools of water collected from the underground streams there, its greenishness a contrast to the summerlike beige sunbaked fields in the valley right below it but the first thing that comes to meet you is the pungent scent of the ripening fig trees. The mood there is absolutely primitive and if you’re lucky to be there alone, it feels primordial. Low walls of mossy grey rocks embedded into part of the slope of the mountain define a claim to territory, old and ancient.
Beyond the summit of the mountain, above and over the sharp edge that separates this paradise of myrtle and early autumn leaves and the drip drip drip of the sparkling water and the quiet, of soft moist air, a tire is burning. I can just make out the black smoke as I remember Dina taken by Shechem, probably in this very place where evil tries to come to meet goodness.
Erev Tisha Ba’Av 2014 and no buffer zone separates good from evil as a busload full of pious men with their holy books and little old women with wagons full of vegetables ready to prepare the meal before the fast gets abruptly impounded by a terrorist on a bulldozer in our Jerusalem. Hothouses is Eshkol are punctured by the shrapnel of a thousand little bullets and still, no peace has come to Israel as when Yaakov, called Israel returned and knew no peace. There is no safe border because we are all living on the edge. Yet, on this day, maybe the blackest of days when we have a custom to eat ash, we know that when we need to- we are a nation of warriors. The Shimon and Levi come out in us as we turn to each other as the cherubs in the Temple of old and say “Ish et reyehu ooleachiv yomar chazak” – Together we will overcome!