It’s Simply What We Do

Since last Saturday night, when I heard about the Fogel massacre, I have found myself living two lives.

My children are getting ready for Purim; they are excited and full of anticipation. We laugh, we bake, we put together costumes and we prepare for the big day. Each afternoon, when I arrive at Gan (nursery school), my little ones are dressed in yet another adorable costume.

And yet…

The other side of me is holding back tears all day. I find myself drinking in Yakir’s baby smell, unable to get enough of him or to hold him tightly enough. I think of baby Hadas when I see him and I can’t shake the image of her, or of what was done to her as she cuddled in bed with her father.

I’ve been going into my children’s rooms at night, simply to hear them breathe as they sleep.

In the face of such unbelievable hatred, I’ve tried to focus on the good this week. To pick myself up with what inspiration there is to find in such a dark time.

Here is what I have found this week.

Rami Levi, one of the owners of the larger grocery store chain the country, has been delivering food to the shiva house all week. He’s filling the cabinets and keeping the hundreds of visitors fed. And, when a relative thanked him, he said that they should get used to seeing his face – because he would be visiting the orphaned children every week with groceries until the youngest turned 18.

That’s simply what we do.

A Palestinian baby was delivered by paramedics and IDF troops inside Neve Tzuf yesterday – the exact same settlement where surviving member of the Fogel family are sitting shiva.

With the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck, the woman was raced to the settlement for help. As ambulance driver Orly Shlomo recounted, “It was touching, but I couldn’t help but think that a few meters from there, people were sitting Shiva for another baby, who was murdered.” The paramedics noted that, on the day of the Fogel massacre, they witnessed fireworks and celebration in nearby Palestinian areas. They said, however, that the local medical team is committed to assisting anyone who is in need.

That’s simply what we do.

A young couple from Itamar got married last night, and did so at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. Hundreds of residents from Itamar came to dance and sing in honor of Moshe Orlinsky and Natalya Zucher.

The two had planned to wed in Itamar, but decided to become the first couple to get married at Joseph’s Tomb instead. No matter what, we are a people who choose life – and who come together to celebrate it, even under the most trying of circumstances.

That’s simply what we do.

Finally, our listserves have been inundated with organizations that are trying to help. There are those who have set up funds for the orphaned children, those that are delivering Mishloach Manot for Purim to the community in Itamar, and so much more.

Today, my boys and I packaged Mishloach Manot (gifts that are given out on Purim) for the people of Itamar so that they will know that they are not alone in their tragedy. My children wrote notes to them that said, “We are all Itamar!” and “We are thinking of you” and “May Hashem Bring Peace and Take Care of You.”

Because, that’s simply what we do.

If only the world could understand how much we value life and how hard we work at celebrating it.

If only the Palestinians – and the Arab world in general – would use the energy they pour into hate for things that are so much more productive.

What a world we would live in, indeed.

0 thoughts on “It’s Simply What We Do

  1. I don't really have time, this Erev Shabbat, to sit here crying as I read this. Yet I need it. I can't go into Shabbat and Purim without this tiny reflection of the mourning our dear neighbors in Itamar are doing. More important is your reminder that the celebration of life, the binding of many hearts into one, is what we are about.

    Thank you, Romi. May we share more joy than sorrow.

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