Other things come back too. I remember now why it is hard to be a Jew. Not because of the many customs and laws, but because of the pain. It’s hard to read about young Israelis gunned down alongside a road outside Jerusalem, to see the photos of their beautiful, shining faces. It’s hard to face the hatred that inflates our enemies. The news from Israel is so often bad. Beyond bad; heartbreaking. James Joyce wrote: “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken.” But we know there is no escape. Our history is indeed a nightmare, a revelation of the darkest pits of human evil. It’s hard to carry that weight. It’s hard to watch my husband clean his plate at every meal, and wonder if he does that because his father was starved in Auschwitz. That is a lot of pain to carry. It is hard to be a Jew. It’s hard to care and feel so much.
I joked about the statement of the President of Iran in the previous post, but really, it's quite frightening to hear. I have good friends, whom I love dearly, living in Israel, and many relatives - and this man wants to wipe them all out! He's not seeking justice for the Palestinians - he's seeking mass murder.
It is a sobering return to reality after the splendid silliness of Simchat Torah services last night and today. I was one of the leyners for Bereshit (5th, 6th, and 7th days), and inbetween each day people in the congregation sang songs and acted out each day's creations. At the end, for the maftir reading (which outlines the sacrifices to be brought on the day, were the Temple still standing), we set up a grill & little stuffed rams were placed on it, next to some Triscuits (representing the grain offering). The two people who received Hatan Torah and Hatan Bereshit smiled with pleasure at the honor.
The other event I always mark on Simchat Torah is my mother's yahrzeit. She died on October 21 / Tishrei 23 in 1981 - 24 years ago. I was only 25 at the time, and it was devastating - and changed my life.