The 9th of Av is a weird day in the middle of the summer, where we stop having fun and stop enjoying ourselves, and mourn. Mourn for the destruction of Jerusalem, mourn the horrible things that happened to the Jewish people- all in the past. Yes, there are Kinot from the Holocaust, but that is still far away, that is the time from my grandparents (and for kids in camp- their great-grandparents).
This year was strange. Unfortunately, there was something to mourn. Something that I was experiencing at that very moment. Something that I have first hand experience. But at the same time, I found myself not being able to mourn. I felt that it was more of a fake day than usual.
Eicha and the Kinot did not make my heart break and want to pray. Praying while fasting and weary didn’t make me want to call out to God and hear my prayer or the prayers of those around me.
In some ways- it felt that it was a light day. I can’t say that I was happy, but I definitely wasn’t sad. I wasn’t in a state of shock. I wasn’t in a state of holding in prayer and tears.
I think that this was because for the past three weeks I’ve been holding my breath. For the past three weeks, I have been tied to reading the news. For the past three weeks I had been praying and crying and saying extra Tehillim. For the past three weeks, every time I heard of another soldier killed, I mourned. In some ways, I don’t know if there was more to mourn. I don’t know if my body was able to take it. I couldn’t get to a sadder place (ok, maybe I could, but I didn’t want to go there).
And at the same time, that was the start of the cease fire, and one that was actually holding. That was a time to rejoice. The soldiers were told that they could leave Gaza- that was something to rejoice. The residents of the South were finally told that they can go to camp and school, and were allowed to leave their homes- that was a reason to rejoice. With those things to rejoice, how can I be full in mourning?
Now that the ceasefire time is coming to an end, it is terrifying to see that Hamas might not want to keep it. That if they don’t get their demands, they will start sending rockets. That the soldiers will have to go back and fight and kill. That the residents all over the country will have to go back to figuring out how to do things in between rocket attacks. That Israeli will have to continue to kill in order to defend, and with that the public image will go down.
I hope that this is not a false quiet. That this was not a time for bad people to learn how to destroy and kill more than they were able to in the beginning. I hope that this is a time that we can learn how to leave in peace. And that the world is able to learn how to help those who are in need. And that no one, on either side, has to live a life of fear.