Terror doesn’t always look like planes flying into buildings with massive casualties. And it doesn’t have to look like a hotel, strewn with Passover guests about to have their Seder.
We read in the paper about an incident, far away, and we give a collective sigh that it wasn’t close to home, that no one we know was hurt. And then we move on.
But when it is close to home, and when the person murdered is entangled in almost no degrees of separation, there is no collective sigh.
There is just terror.
Terror is a typical Monday afternoon at the grocery store. It’s grown women, nervous about going to the neighborhood grocery store because it’s a location where both Jews and Arabs shop. A location that’s supposed to be an emblem of peace, of progress. Terror is looking over your shoulder in the vegetable aisle and steering the cart through the parking lot with extreme caution, looking for oncoming cars that might be trying to run you over.
Terror is sitting at the dinner table, showing the kids a cute picture, when a headline flies across the screen, “Woman critically hurt in Alon Shvut. Stabbing.”
And running to the phone to call everyone you know in Alon Shvut. And everyone who is at basketball practice there. And in class right by there at their high school.
Terror is waiting for the name to be released, to see whose pain will be the greatest tonight.
And then seeing on Facebook that your neighbor’s daughter knew the girl and her family, and the name is revealed. And then her beautiful picture appears.
Terror is telling your children that they are safe, no really, they are safe, when the bus stop outside of one of their schools has been hit by a knife wielding psychopath bent on killing an occupational therapist whose life was filled with good deeds and love.
Terror is asking your 7th grade son if he knows Haggai Lemkus, the 8th grader in his school whose sister was murdered yesterday.
Terror is reading over and over again last night from your neighbors about their first-hand accounts of what happened down the street. About the heroes who stopped their cars to fight with the terrorist.
Terror is reading that Dahlia was stabbed once before, within a few blocks of this attack, and that she survived that attack only to face this one.
Terror is seeing on Facebook the beautiful, delicate, hopeful paintings that Dahlia made during her life time, posted by her first cousin who lives nearby.
|Dahlia’s paintings, posted by her cousin.
And it’s the pictures from the funeral, where a devastated, devoted and beautiful family wonders how they will continue.
|Picture by Marci Wiesel at Dahlia’s funeral.
And it’s reading from a fellow woman from Tekoa, one who has known her own share of suffering, about Dahlia. The real Dahlia.
Terror is another sleepless night, wondering how you’re going to keep your kids safe. At all times, and in all locations.
And seeing that the neighborhood kids have put up a huge banner at the bus stop that says, “Do not fear them for Hashem your God is with you.” Because that’s what our kids do.
|Picture by Jeremy Gimpel.
Terror is knowing that you’re supposed to keep that poker face. Am Yisrael Chai and we live here and we’re not moving. While all the while holding back tears at every moment and wondering what in Gd’s name is ever going to stop this situation? And wondering just how much a people can be asked to endure. But in the end knowing that we, the people of Israel, have always endured and always will.
This is terror.
This is our lives.