Letter From Jerusalem, Part 3

Yeshayahu and Adi were supposed to have been married this past Wednesday night, May 12. Instead, because of the war, their wedding was postponed. Fine, in true Israeli spirit, instead of having 500 people at a wedding, on that night, 30 family and friends gathered at Adi’s parents’ home in Haifa for a small but loving celebration. There are two things from that evening that I will always remember.

When we were driving from Haifa to Jerusalem, tanks were being driven on the highway by big trucks that transport tanks. Driving on a highway alongside a tank that is being taken to Gaza for possible battle fills one with a sense of dread. I could feel a pit in my stomach, and I am not the soldier in the tank. I could not even imagine what it must feel like to be in the tank, on the way to fight Hamas in Gaza.

One of Yeshayahu’s brothers is named Netanel, married to Loreen, and the father of six-year old Yarden and three-year old Ophir. They were driving back from Haifa to their home in Tel Aviv. What was ordinarily an uneventful drive became epochally harrowing and traumatic. The road they usually take was closed because Arab Israelis in the vicinity had been pelting cars with rocks. They were trying to take detour roads, at night, in the dark, unfamiliar roads, in forbidding and unfamiliar places, when the sirens went off and rockets started to fall. They could see the glare of the rockets, and hear the terror of the siren, while trying to drive their small sleeping children home. After three hours of a terrifying ride, they made it home, safe and sound, thank God.

This Shabbat was to have been the sheva berakhot weekend at a nice place up north. 23 rooms were booked for family and friends to savor and extend the simcha.

The day after this festive Shabbat, on Sunday, Yeshayahu, the would be groom, reports for duty to his miluim unit. What must it be like to be his beloved, saying good bye to the husband you did not yet get to marry? What must it be like to be his parents?

Given his wedding that was scheduled this week, he is not required to report. He is choosing to report, volunteering to go early.

That is Israel.

Shabbat shalom,