Sunday, May 8, 2011

Another great reason to celebrate Israel: Haveil Havalim

Yom rishon, 4 Iyar 5771.

The first couple of weeks in May (late Nisan, early Iyar) in Israel typify the roller-coaster life of the Jew.

Yom Hashoah has been designated as the day to remember the Heroes and Martyrs of the Holocaust.  The anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was chosen by the secular Jews who initially settled the land of Israel after WWII.  I have heard that they chose this day out of that evil thirteen years because it was a moment in time when Jews fought back -- and these new Israelis wanted to put as much distance as possible between their new State and the cauldron from which they had escaped.

While I understand the Chareidi viewpoint of expressing the link between the Shoah and the Destruction of the Temple, I can also appreciate the standpoint of these escapees from Hell.

As I stand for the siren that signals the national moment of commemorative silence, I pray for the Geula; I mourn the members of my father's family who didn't make it out; and I am grateful that my entire nation is standing quietly together for this moment.

Tonight, on Yom Hazikaron, we will remember those who fought and died to defend our tiny nation.  In recent years, this day has also been designated to remember all of those who "defended" Israel just by living here, and by dying here:  those who were blown to bits while sharing a bite of pizza with a dear school friend, or while buying an ice cream cone for a doting grandchild.

Again, we will fly flags at half-mast, and stand for a moment of silence when the siren sounds throughout our land.  A dear friend asked us to accompany her to the memorial service to remember our fallen tomorrow on Har Hertzl.  We struggled with this.

We are not keen on crowds, even for worthy causes.  I left the decision to the Dearly Beloved, who would be responsible for logistics, such as "getting us there."

Finally, he said, "Tell her we'll be there.  We have soldier sons now."  May they never need be remembered by us.  May they serve their country, and come home healthy and whole, with amazing stories to tell their great grandchildren.

And before we catch our breath, we will drag out our mangalim  (barbecue grills) to set the country on fire with barbecue events in honor of the birth of our small nation.  The entire country will celebrate, regardless of political affiliation, the fact that we are indeed a free people in our Land.

A frightening amount of beef must be purchased and prepared.  The fire that fills the land will only be rivaled by the bonfires built by children on the Thirty-third day of the Omer...  but that's another story.

In the meantime, let's enjoy one of the benefits of being one people in our Land.  Haveil Havelim #315, the One Wedding and a Funeral Edition, has hit the stands, and is available at Esser Agaroth.
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