From Staring to Praying.

 A guest post by Truthy Ruthie

I don’t know exactly when I made the transition from appreciatively eyeing up the gorgeous Israeli soldiers to uttering a silent prayer for heavenly protection over them.

I do not recall a defining moment for this transition; perhaps it was a gradual process born out of maturity and the gift of motherhood I have recently been blessed with.  Perhaps it is because I’m in my thirties. Who knows? But there was at some point a shift in my attitude.

Don’t get me wrong, I can still marvel at some of these fine-looking youngsters with their golden tans and uber-cool aviator sunnies. But my primary instinct and concern is to will them a long life and utter a silent prayer that G-d sees them safely through their service and that they all come home in one piece.

 Of course all this praying and inner well-wishing is done with a poker straight face, lest I be accused of over-anxiety. We should all be thankful that I leave it at the silent prayer and stop short of going over to give them a hug, buy them lunch and make sure they are getting the enough food. After all, I don’t want to scare the poor souls with these overt motherly expressions of love and appreciation.

Today marks Yom Hazikaron, Remembrance Day for our fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. During the minutes’ silence throughout the whole country, everything comes to a standstill. Flags are flown at half-mast. The state’s official ceremony is held on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem where the founding fathers and mothers of this country and fallen heroes were laid to rest. Sad and mellow music is played on all Israeli radio stations. Countless other public and private ceremonies are held up and down the country to remember the fallen.

For me personally I take inspiration from the nation’s collective heartache and tears that are shed together with my own for our fallen brothers and sisters. Those who laid down their lives for the defense of the Jewish State tap into my innate need to do my bit in helping build this infant nation as a mark of gratitude to them and their bereaved families. I want to do my part in showing them that it wasn’t all in vain.

What right does any Jew who enjoys the countless wonders of this land have to walk about their business without the acute awareness that their steps tread on earth reddened with the blood of its fallen warriors?

 And what right does any Israeli citizen have to not live in an existence of gratitude to the defenders of the land? I believe that thanks to the strict conscription laws of this country, many are all too aware of the high price paid to live as a free people in our own land and therefore do indeed have an attitude of gratitude.

After thousands of years of yearning and waiting to return home, whilst the joy is immeasurable, the pain of loss and remembrance remains constant.

Z”L for all my fallen brothers and sisters. May your memory be a blessing and may HaShem comfort the mourners of Zion.



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