Ki Yachol Nuchal!

New olah; mom and wife. In small ways, every day, trying to rectify the error in judgement of my zaydies, the meraglim. "See these big grapes? We can make really big wine!"

Archive for the ‘bonfire’ Category

It’s ten o’clock. Do you know where your children are?

Posted by rutimizrachi on 12/05/2009

Yom shlishi, 18 Iyar 5769, Lag b’Omer.

There was a public service announcement (popularized by a Jewish radio announcer, incidentally) in the 60s, 70s and 80s that reminded parents to be aware of what their kids were up to during the late night hours.  It was understood in those days that a responsible parent ought to know that his kids were safe at home by then — or at least know where they were at and whom they were with.

It is Lag b’Omer, the night Israel goes up in flames, in the most positive sense possible.

Every unguarded piece of wood is in fractals of fires all over the country, “stolen” by little boys and set ablaze by same.  There are several bonfires glowing at this moment around my yishuv.  I know where my little boys are.

The two fourteen-year-olds are out with their friends, feeding that yearly pyromania that Israeli kids are permitted to nourish.  (Mine are less bizarre at Chanukah now that they have this ultimate boy-pleasure.  The piles of fallen and burning candles have thankfully been replaced by something a bit more normal.)  Oh — and The Dearly Beloved and other parents will pull patrol through the evening, to make sure that Shmuel doesn’t burn his eyebrows off, and that Chaim is discouraged from tossing that aerosol can into the flames “just to see what will happen.”  In most cases, a reminder that next year’s bonfire depends on no incidents happening at this year’s bonfire, coupled with cruising parents, seems to keep the young hopefuls relatively tame.

We have spoken on the phone; and they know that they must keep their heads.  Have fun — but stay smart and safe.

Meron is filled with more humanity than I can appreciate all at once.  I know where my medium boys are.

The seventeen-year-old is enjoying the company of his best friend.  He and his nineteen-year-old brother, visiting from his yeshiva in the States, are immersing themselves in the kedusha and craziness that is Meron on Lag b’Omer.  Thousands of Jews are dancing and singing and perhaps encountering the divine within themselves as they celebrate the mystical wonders of Judaism that Shimon bar Yochai brought down from the Higher Realms in his lifetime.

We have spoken on the phone; and they are happy to share that they are experiencing something sublime.

Soldiers are guarding the borders, so that the celebrants can dance without fear of anything less than the Almighty.  I know where my big boy is.

The 22-year-old new husband, new father is on a jeep patrol with his comrades.


He would rather be home with his exhausted wife and their two-week-old daughter, helping to carry the little one around for an hour here and there so the new mommy can sleep.  But he has a job to do; and he does it with focus, even though he has the weight of the world on his young shoulders.

We have spoken on the phone; and it helps him when we tell him that his brothers can dance because he is doing his job.

This is my Israel on a Monday night in May.

It’s eleven o’clock.  Do you know where your children are?

Photo credits:  Isranet, Avihu Shapira, AP

Posted in bonfire, Israel, Lag b'Omer, Meron | 16 Comments »