There is a little blue glass bowl I have, a permanent fixture on our kitchen table, always full of sweet candy. After noticing that it is always full, no-one ever asks if it was someone’s birthday or anniversary. It’s just a fact in our home, that there is always something sweet here.
It is not easy to be the mother personally of two boys, soldiers in fighting units, engaged in the war of good over evil this summer. It falls into a solemn time when the fun of the sun is shadowed by our grief for when Rome came against Israel, destroying our Temple, setting our land on fire, scattering us and saying our hope is lost. This is why we have a custom of dipping our bread into salt. To remember.
As a mother living in Israel in this generation, I can say I have the merit of immersing myself in the mikveh of blind faith. I don’t know where the boys exactly are. What they eat, if they sleep, if they can drink when the hot reeking dust of the enemy blows into their faces. I wonder what dangers they encounter and if they internalize what they see. I immerse myself now in steadfast prayer, spontaneously, like never before. Please let them come home safely. Our boys are part of an army whose comradery supersedes any other because “Love your neighbor as yourself” has been so ingrained despite the hundreds of generations since Rabbi Akiva said it. It is a way of life. How they enter the fight in complete will, from the deepest place in their hearts and souls to serve Hashem, the nation and all goodness in the world.
This Shabbat I am baking challah with honey.
This is for the hope restored and ignited that no army or force can ever extinguish. This is for the dreams of all the Jewish generations coming true, for prayers answered. This is not a time for despair. As the missiles fall on Israel, planeloads of her people come to return to her, even now. And here, on the mountain, where I can just make out the sea I wait, knowing prophecy does come true. “Veshavu Banim legvoolam”. – Your children will return to their land” Jeremiah 31:17
Shabbat Shalom, Leah Goldsmith