Thoughts & feelings
I can’t fully concentrate. No matter what I do, some part of my mind is always thinking about the situation in Israel. I find myself wanting to check the news to see if there are any updates. Very often. I wonder if more rockets have been fired. Has the situation escalated even more? Is there any news about the hostages? Oh, the hostages! I can’t stop thinking, worrying, and praying about the hostages. I have to stop my mind from wondering what sorts of horrors they are faced with. I have to stop my mind from wondering if they are all still alive. It hurts too much to let my thoughts stray in those directions.
How many times have I been asked if I have family or friends in Israel? Sure, I do. But that’s not what matters, really. I feel a connection to every Jewish person in Israel. I don’t need to actually know them or be related to them to feel a bit of their pain. We are all one. The pictures speak. I see a picture of a family. A few weeks ago, they were alive and well. The next picture shows a row of bodies covered and ready for burial, one for each family member. How could I look at these pictures and not feel anguish piercing my heart?
When explaining the unity of the Jewish people in the Torah, the commentator Rashi says that the nation was “k’eish echad” – like one person “b’lev echad” – with one heart. Times of trial and tribulation such as now bring us together. We are united in our care and concern for our people, and for the land of Israel. I feel it deep in my heart. These circumstances unite us. We are connected. We focus less on our differences and join together with a common cause—to be an entire nation like one person with one heart. The feelings in the heart of one of us mirror the feelings in everyone else’s heart. So, yes, even if I do not know those who are suffering and am not related to them, I feel their pain, pray to G-d for their salvation from our enemies, and hope and pray for peace.