Yom shlishi, 19 Tamuz 5768/21 July 2008, Monday.
I've been away a while. So I'm keenly aware of how much I love my Home.
I go to pick up the mail at the post office, a decent walk from my house. It is after 9 PM. I go at this hour, because I can.
Kids are outside playing. They sound nice.
There are few cars. No sirens. That is one of the joys of small-town living. Emergencies are a little fewer and farther between.
I walk by 15 bicycles on my way home. None of them are chained to anything. They will still be here in the morning.
The sound of the muezzin calling Muslims to prayer wafts across the glittering jewels of Beitar below us. There was a time when such a sound would have been quaintly pretty to my ear, an ancient (albeit amplified) part of the music of the Middle East, with a claim to this ground older than mine. Unfortunately, the terror against my people (which has its own much more valid ancient claim to this soil) has soured the sound in my ears.
For a moment, I am sorry for my "cousins." I wish they could hear what I hear. The music of children playing. Crickets singing. The soft sounds of evening embracing night in a peaceful town.
Instead, in a few hours -- at three or four AM -- they will be awakened to their obligation to declare Allah the chief invention of men in search of the rationalization they call "god."
Do they feel as loved by their god as I do by Hashem? Do they feel as dear children to a Father? Does their god love peace among His creation as much as does my King? I feel very sorry for them. This will pass. People make their choices.
May Hashem bless us to make the right choices.