Let's get real - if only for today

It's all stored up for this one day, when for 24 hours we are allowed to show that we really do care.

By SUSIE WEISS
May 6, 2008 19:16
3 minute read.
Let's get real - if only for today

israel 60 224 promo. (photo credit: )

Here we go again. The anguish, sadness, frustration and grief that are bottled up all year long are about to burst through the floodgates of emotion we call Remembrance Day. The new members join the old, who join generations of Jewish people who fought for our right to simply just be. Each year on this day we are "permitted" to show vulnerability and grieve with all our hearts - publicly, openly and with no pretense. For those of us personally affected, it is the one day our pain is allowed to show. On all other days we must show strength, fortitude and stubborn determination. In reminiscence of Pessah's recent Mah Nishtana, I question, "Why is this day different from all other days?" The answer now is that on all other days we must show the Arab world that no matter how brutally and barbarically they strike us, we will persevere and show no weakness, no vulnerability. But on this day, we are visibly broken and openly grief-stricken. It seems that after the most horrific of strikes, the immediate reaction of the Israeli people is to show the Arab world that they have not "gotten to us." We must show them strength and steadfastly insist on going forward with our Purim parades, our Pessah celebrations or previously planned festivities. Our primary concern is that our enemies shouldn't think that our spirits are broken. But guess what? They have broken our spirit. I'm not ashamed to admit the bitter truth: Our lives are forever marred. Purim will forever be saddened; Pessah seders will always seem empty. Any family simcha now will always be diminished. They have broken my spirit and that of my family. Yes, I know, we are told not to let them in on that little secret, because that is their goal. And if they know this, then they have won, and a victory for them is the last thing we want. BUT I have news for you: Their goal is not to break our sprit, nor is it shatter our pride, but to break our bones and shatter the State of Israel, so that it exists no more. Frankly, I don't give a damn what they think. Their considerations are at the bottom of my emotional totem pole, and I don't care what they "think" I feel. But I do care about how we think and how we feel. When a devastating blow of a soldier being killed, or the cream of our youth being slaughtered, or unthinkable random acts of bloodshed befall our people, we should be outraged, grief-stricken and mortified. Yet we are shockingly restrained in our reaction. We hold no immediate national days of mourning; we don't stop our daily routine for a second. The bizarre obsession to continue life "as normal," to go on as if nothing happened is absurd and obscene. It's all stored up for this one day, when for 24 hours we are allowed to show that we really do care. I just don't get it: A suicide bomber dies, along with precious, innocent Jewish blood, and it is his village that holds a national mourning period. Life stops in his town so that all can join with his exalted family as they sit proudly in their mourning tent. But as for us, we go about our business, in shock and disbelief, bemoaning our fate and tempering our rage. As our precious youngest son approaches his induction into the IDF, he has been forewarned that his traumatized parents - against his wishes - will not sign a release allowing him to serve in an active combat unit. While God alone knows what the future will bring, I'm not ashamed to say that the enemy has dimmed my smile and made me believe the unimaginable. I'm sorry; losing Ari was enough. As a people, our resilience is astounding. We never forget, but we manage to go on. In the spirit and memory of our lost loved ones, we build communities, name babies, promote acts of kindness and build spiritual centers. The names of our loved ones are constantly "rolling off the tongue," spoken of with reverence and respect. Just know that each time that name is mentioned, a mother out there is crying. The writer's eldest son, Staff Sgt. Ari Weiss, was killed in Sep. 2002 in a raid on Hamas headquarters in Nablus. In his memory, she directs the Ochel Ari food for soldiers project: jocmtv@netvision.net.il


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