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 ‘Yom Haatzmaut’ Category

"This is Hashem’s doing. It is wondrous in our eyes."

Posted by rutimizrachi on 29/04/2009

Yom revi’i, 5 Iyar 5769, Yom Ha’atzma’ut.

Prior to 2008, I was always a little wistful on Israel’s Independence Day.  Not much was said, if anything, in most of Baltimore’s shuls and schools.  There were no special prayers to thank Hashem for giving us the miracle of the State of Israel.  I listened to all of the explanations about why we didn’t celebrate this gift.  But I remained dissatisfied, and a little sad.  I sought out those who, like myself, longed to be in the Land; and we sang songs of praise to the only One who made a Home for the Jewish Nation a possibility.

On Yom Ha’atzma’ut in 2008, I was thrilled to be living in Israel at last.  Still somewhat confused by what one was permitted to say and not to say in the prayers on this auspicious date, I tentatively said Hallel — without a blessing.

This morning, I happily followed the Torah of Rav Shlomo Aviner, and said Hallel with a blessing.  And as I said these words of praise, reserved for very special days on the Jewish calendar, my heart heard anew the words “This is Hashem’s doing.  It is wondrous in our eyes.”

It suddenly occurred to me as surprising and sad that the holy congregations of the Diaspora, steeped in the teaching that only Hashem makes miracles, would not defiantly remind themselves and the world that modern Israel could not have happened without His direction.  It was not the Israeli army, for all its courage, that created the State of Israel.  Nor was it Herzl or Ben Gurion or the United Nations.  Not by my might, nor by the strength of my hand…

It seems to me that it is a very frum concept indeed to thank The Only One who could have made such a miracle.

The Dearly Beloved reminds me of the great story of Napoleon, hearing the heart-rending cries of Jews coming from a synagogue.  When he asks over what they are weeping and wailing, he is told that they are crying over the destruction of their holy Temple.  He wonders how anyone could destroy the Temple of this poor people during his reign without his awareness…  and he is informed that the Jews are crying over a loss that had occurred more than a thousand years ago.  And he praises this people, saying that a nation that feels the pain of the loss of their holy Temple so acutely so many years after the fact will surely merit to see it rebuilt.  This is a great story.  At Tisha b’Av, it gives me a great deal of chizuk.  But today it brings to my husband’s mind a different thought.
“When we were in Chutz l’Aretz, we were very good at mourning for our loss.  But we were not so good at celebrating the beginning of our Redemption.”

The Dearly Beloved recently bought for me the new Koren Siddur, which replaces my beloved Artscroll.  I feel a need to say farewell.   

Dear Artscroll Siddur, 
Please don’t be hurt or offended.  You were my friend as I tried to learn how to be a Jew.  You told me when to bow, and when to say the right words in the spring and in the winter.  You have been a good friend; and I will always love you.  But now I am here in Israel.  And the kohanim bless us every day!  And there are words I can say here, that are different than the words I said in America…  and they really matter to me.  Koren is the best teacher for me now.  I will always have a special place for you in my heart — but it’s time to move on.  I hope you will understand…

There is more to process.  But now I must follow my husband, Avraham, who says:  “What is the best way to celebrate the gift of the return to Israel, and the gift of the return of Israel to us?  It’s time to walk the land.”

If you want to see a really GREAT photo of the new little Eastman sabra, check out Through Josh-Colored Glasses, and read her abba’s love letter to her.  (As usual, have a box of tissues handy.)  Stay tuned to hear what is her name.  I won’t know until after Shabbat…

Posted in Israel Independence Day, Yom Haatzmaut | 10 Comments »

Family Together

Posted by rutimizrachi on 13/05/2008

Yom shlishi, 8 Iyar 5768/13 May 2008, Tuesday.

I haven’t written in a while. Too busy living, b”H.

What’s news? We had the best Pesach of our lives. One Seder definitely rocks, as the kids say. I used a gimmick suggested by a close friend, in order to bring home the feeling of really getting out of Mitzrayim. When we reached the part of the Hagaddah which begins “Avadim hayinu…” (We were slaves…), I invited the family into a darkened room, lit by candlelight. Each person was asked to tell over his day under our slavemasters, the Egyptians. I started, and spoke of helping another midwife to secretly help a mother bring a new boy child into the world, and then to hide him. Abba told of a recent beating from one of the Mitzri. Aryeh, whom I expected to make a joke of the whole thing, instead spoke very eloquently about finding a toddler who had wandered from the “safe house,” and helping him to find his way back. Dovid spoke of learning a Mishna, b’al peh, with three young slaves and a rabbi/slave, and how they had to be very secretive about their learning. And Dani lamented that a Mitzri had taken away the ball he had made of straw and mud, and how poor rocks were for secret moments of soccer. We have no clue whether or not there was any historic accuracy to our fantasies. But when we left our little stage set, and returned to the Seder, we shared a feeling of escaping from slavery.

Dovid, our yeshiva bochur, was visiting us from the States. As a visitor to Israel, he had to make a second Seder. It was to be his very first, without Abba or another adult at the helm. Several people in Neve Daniel had out-of-country guests, and asked if Dovid would let them attend his Seder. I was proud to hear that he was excited at the prospect. For one reason and another, only one guest was able to attend… and he ended up being an old friend of Dovid’s from one of his yeshivot! They had a really wonderful time together, with lots of ruach and divrei Torah. I took a few photos (because I could), and monitored the brothers, so they wouldn’t crash the party more often than was cute.

We spent the extra-long Chol Ha-Moed traveling to Meron, Tzfat, and to Avnei Eitan in the Golan. We spent time with old friends; and the boys hiked to the Black Falls. It was Dovid’s first time in the north; and it meant a lot to him and to the rest of us to include him. There was much beauty, and many moments to experience the holiness of sacred places. In reality, it should have been an awful trip. It was very hot; the car overheated about a dozen times; we ran out of drinking water for a time. But, due to the amazing attitudes of three teenagers, it was our best vacation ever! They laughed at every hardship, rather than complaining. Dovid sang Breslov songs, with his arms upraised, in his Na Nach Nachman kipa (which he had purchased for the sole purpose of “freaking out” his beloved Rosh Yeshiva, for the fun of it). Aryeh made a documentary of “nearly dying of thirst” on the road. Because it was an Aryeh Eastman Production, it was extremely funny. We took lots of photos of Abba pouring bottles of water into the radiator. We played music together, and enjoyed ourselves, our friends, and each other.

In our last week with Dovid, we visited Ma’arat HaMachpela. This was also a first for Dovid. As with all spiritual experiences we have shared, the moments were made even more precious because he was there. Dovid always finds the deeper meaning, and shares it very articulately.

Yom Ha-Atzma’ut was spent with friends, participating in the holy Israeli ritual known of as “mangal.” While I do remember barbecues as part of Fourth of July celebrations in the States, the nearly frantic urgency of the mangal makes it unique. Also, perhaps because beef seems to be less available in Israel (at least of the quality and variety one finds easily in the US), there seems to be an almost religious fervor surrounding the grilling and consumption of mass quantities of hot dogs, hamburgers, and steaks. In an attempt to be “true Israelis,” Dani and Aryeh ate approximately one cow each. Our host wondered how we feed them the rest of the year…

Josh is now in Golani Brigade, and engaged to be married! It was good to have the brothers together again, after nine months. Although their lives and directions seem to be very different, Avi and I are honored by the way they love and respect each other. Avi has always told them that achdut (unity) starts at the Eastman table; and when the Jewish people truly have achdut among ourselves, the world will have true peace.

So now we are planning the big trip back to Baltimore, in July. Soldier Boy will get a few days off from his IDF responsibilities to get married, and then will return to training. (We try to be his cheerleaders, and completely close our minds to what he is training for, and where he will probably be sent.) He and his bride will live in Israel; but as of yet, it is a mystery exactly where in Israel. May Hashem bless them with finding the right apartment, at the right price, in the right location. In the meantime, we have reminded them that family is about being there for each other, and that the spare room can be made into something resembling “comfortable,” at least for a short time.

Enough catching up for now.

Posted in Pesach, Yom Haatzmaut | 1 Comment »