Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Od lo avda tikvateinu..."

Yom sheni, 5 Iyar 5770, Yom HaZikaron.

When I was a little girl, American flags would be displayed proudly on Flag Day and Independence Day.  Older people even had them flying on their homes on Memorial Day and Veterans' Day.  And, of course, there were people who flew the American flag all the time -- some taking it down at night, and none that I remembered allowing it to touch the ground.

Times changed.  Fewer homes flew flags.  Fewer people knew it was Flag Day or Memorial Day.  It was hard to completely forget Veterans' Day, because invariably there would be some old fellow with watery eyes shining  with an old doughboy toughness from beneath his military cap, his jacket covered with medals of heroic campaigns forgotten.  The Fourth of July was easy to remember, because it was a day of sales and fireworks and barbecues with the neighbors.  There might still even be parades...

We stand for the Yom HaZikaron siren.  The country stands still to remember our fallen heroes -- those in uniform, and those whose heroism was earned over pizza or ice cream, or just because they chose to ride the bus our enemies targeted.  We will concentrate on these losses as we travel through this very sad day.  And tonight, we will build up for the joy that is Yom Ha'Atzma'ut, the Day of Israel's Independence.

Yom HaZikaron flows into Yom Ha'atzma'ut as a perfect metaphor for the life of a Jew. It is not unusual to go to a brit milah in the morning, followed by a vort, followed by a shiva visit, and end the day at a wedding or bar mitzvah celebration. The rollercoaster life of one who is privileged to be embroidered into the tapestry of others' lives...

As we have prepared for these twin days of abject sorrow and joyful pride, my neighbors in Neve Daniel have been showing their true colors.

 Flags are flying all over town in honor of our dear departed, who fought and died for this soil we call Home.

Flags dance in the Neve Daniel wind to celebrate the honor of being raised over the country that is the closest thing we Jews have had to something of our own in thousands of years.

And here and there, an old soldier will still see a flag that has blown to the ground, and pick it up, to preserve the honor it represents.

As more than twenty neighboring Arab nations manipulate the Western world's negative feelings toward our people, trying to wrest this tiny piece of land from us, piece by piece, we celebrate Israel -- the first flowering of our redemption.  May we see the complete redemption of the Jewish people and G-d's world, speedily and in our days.

"Od lo avda tikvateinu..."  We have not yet lost our hope..." -- a line from "Hatikva," the national anthem of Israel
Yom HaZikaron:  Day of Remembrance (of those who have fallen in battle to defend our nation; of those who were killed in terrorist acts, may Hashem avenge their blood


Anonymous said...

Thank you, my dear friend. Beautiful and true, as always. Have a meaningful Yom Hazikaron and a truly joyous Yom Haatzmaut. Love, kn

sparrow said...

A beautiful post. We had three Israelis from Kfar Saba with us yesterday. They are kids travelling after their stint in the army. Truly delightful young folk. They are coming over again this evening for a fish and chip supper, so we will celebrate together.

sandra said...

Aww, what a beautiful sight! I got mine in the mail and displayed it immediately on my merpeset.

Anonymous said...

"The rollercoaster life of one who is privileged to be embroidered into the tapestry of others' lives..." what a beautiful and perfect way to say it! I really enjoyed your post, meaningful as always. an old neighbor and friend, esther

bataliyah said...

Thanks so much for the pictures. They make me swell with pride.

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

Ruti, as usual you get the point, say it beautifully, and the PHOTOS!

The American practice of venerating the flag fascinates me, perhaps mostly because here we are NOT so careful with our flag. I think one of the most beautiful sights on Independence day is the flag drill the kids do, with those beautiful flags sweeping the ground over and over. Growing up, flag drill (with the school colors) was about the least Jewish thing a person could do. I don't remember ANY Jews on the flag team. But when I see those kids swinging those big flags, usually to some meaningful music, it never fails to bring tears to my eyes. It transforms flag drill in my mind, and thereby transforms me.

Anonymous said...

Dear Fellow Jews - please make aliyah quickly. Look what is happening in Europe - in the blink of an eye, Hashem has made it impossible to leave.
You do NOT want to be stuck if God forbid terrible things start happening in the Diaspora.
Hashem is sending us signs - are we reading them???

Shalomis said...

My dear friend, your posts create a kind of umbilical cord for the neshama to the "Motherland," providing both nourishment and connection for the Jewish heart. My neshama flies to your window words and finds a sweet resting place--a respite from the gaping yearning of galus.