Have you noticed all the facebook posts this week where someone mentions they’re in Israel and everyone else chirps in to tell them, “Stay safe!”
Now, I’m not INHUMAN. I understand (okay, I share) the impulse here, which is probably something like, “you are special and beloved and I couldn’t bear to lose you.” I feel that all the time.
But telling the person to “stay safe?” How the heck are they supposed to accomplish that??? And are you implying that if they do get hurt, they were simply not trying hard enough to “stay safe”? Of course not… what an evil suggestion. :-o
And also, what about those other people, the millions who are not as beloved? Is it okay with you if they stand and stare at the sky like a bemused turkey beneath a falling Qassam rocket? Didn’t think so. But the fact is, we care about particular people more than we care about “any old” people.
The last time stuff was dropping on Israel in a major way, I didn’t know anybody there and wasn’t on my way to living there myself. So, frankly, I didn’t care as much. I think it’s okay to admit that we’ve become callused here in chutz la’aretz. It just isn’t real when you’re bazillions of kilometres away in a country so cold and safe that it hasn’t been attacked in 200 years. (Oh, okay, also because we seem willing to roll over and give away our forests, water, oil and any other natural resources to any mega-country that asks rather than fight to keep them safe…)
Frankly, it’s very hard to care, no matter how many of those maps people post on facebook showing that if Mexico attacked the United States, it would wipe out New Mexico, or something. It's not right that we don't care much - maybe some people are better at it than I, so I certainly don't want to speak for everybody, but I suspect it's largely true - and I wish it were not true, but it IS true.
It also happens with news: local news usually gets your attention more easily than some abstract story about abstract people far away. It’s hard to care unless you know actual people who are in the thick of it.
This time around, we’re NOT in the thick of it, but I know a lot more people there and involved and yes, it’s a little bit more real and a little bit scarier.
I like the fact that in the original post, above, the person in fact said, “May Gd keep us all safe!” Few people who replied seem to have caught onto the distinction between “may Gd keep us safe” and “stay safe.”
The second implies that there’s something you can do about it – and therefore, if you FAIL to stay safe, and get hurt, it’s all your fault.
The first implies that there’s a Creator with a plan, and we may not know what the plan is, but we certainly hope our physical wellbeing and security – in whatever way we interpret “our”; whether it’s us personally or klal Yisrael as a whole – is part of that plan.
Plus, as someone I know posted on facebook a few hours ago… “I can't stand this any more, logging out, resting my arm, dovening mincha, saying T'hillim and then going to a neighbor for more. I don't think G-d wants us watching screens all day.” There are some excellent ideas in there. Daven, say Tehillim, get off the computer and live life in the face of terror.
In that spirit, here are some facebook updates from people who are “staying safe” by living a normal life in Israel today:
“tonight's my first acupuncture treatment
last week my first Reiki
“on my way to Israel. I feel a deep sense of pride and joy” [posted by a Torontonian catching a plane today]
“Frugal and Kosher: Organic Produce Sale at Eden Teva Online
” [who doesn’t love a sale???!]
H'aGov הגוב. the best place in Jerusalem
שבוע טוב לכולם! מתפללים לשלומם של תושבי הדרום מחזקים את ידי החיילים
It's REAL people. Unconditional love for each other will CHANGE our situation! [from folks in Yavniel who have opened their Tzimmers [B&Bs] to families from the south]
A facebook friend who’s a jeweller: All ready for tonight's Amit Boutique at Reshit Yeshiva. Every single piece is priced, packed and ready to show!
A friend in Beit Shemesh shared this Ben Stein photo and message.
Another facebook friend, in Shiloh, posts a picture of her fruit bowl, saying Life Goes On…
And okay, finally, this actually DOES have to do with the situation, but it’s very, very cute…
The letters spell עד מתי? / Ad ma-tie? = How long?
May Hashem, who promised our ancestors children like the stars of the heavens, protect those who defend our nation, in uniform and in the streets living their ordinary daily lives, so it will still be there for us and our children and grandchildren...