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Broken Thoughts on a War

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(I started writing an actual post, then realized I couldn’t really get out two consecutive coherent sentences. Considering that “Putting together coherent sentences” is kind of what I get paid to do, I figured I was in a pretty bad way. So after sitting for a while and coming up with only, “Geeze, this war is depressing,” I thought perhaps I would gather all of my half-formed thoughts in one space.)
 
 
In a few weeks we will read in shul
 
“Nachamu, nachamu, ami / Be comforted, My nation”
 
Ha
 
It seems a daunting task
 
How, where, do we find comfort?
 
Soldiers, dead, leaving behind mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, wives and children
 
Other soldiers, injured.
 
“Light.” He “only” has broken bones, burns or shrapnel.
 
“Moderate.” Will he ever walk again?
 
“Serious.” Will he ever open his eyes?
 
Meanwhile, the world is demanding we stop “the atrocities.” Immediately! they fume.
 
As the young folks say these days, “I just can’t.”
 
As in, “just can’t” begin to process what that means
 
The “atrocities?” Are we even talking about the same thing? How can it be that we are understanding this war so, so differently.
 
Meanwhile, an 8-year-old and his friend are playing, their cars and Legos dotted with discussions of  
 
Sirens, Tzahal, Aza, Iron Dome and what’s truly the best strategy to win the war.
 
We collect food and toiletry items for soldiers who haven’t been home in weeks
 
We’re trying to feel like we’re doing something, even a small thing
 
Because the helplessness is just the worst
 
… Shejaiya
 
I remember when I had never heard of you
 
Now you are burned into my brain as the place where 13 soldiers lost their lives
 
Their images—so handsome, so young—embedded in my mind, along with the images of our other casualties, along with the images of our three boys
 
(Was that only a month ago? Feels like three lifetimes)
 
We see the unbearable pictures of grieving families and friends
 
And hearing, with a heart both heavy and determined, more and more soldiers getting called up
 
You know, I thought rockets were bad
 
But terror tunnels, those are so much worse
 
Sophisticated, impressive, laborious tunnels ending right in our cities, our kibbutzim!
 
If ever the phrase “If only you would use your powers for good!” was applicable
 
It is now
 
We left you greenhouses,
 
You gave us tunnels.
 
But the thing is, your “fight to the death” doctrine has united us
 
We are depressed, yet resolute, together
 
We’ll intercept your rockets, destroy your tunnels, get your bad guys
 
We know—painfully—that we may lose some of our own
 
But perhaps at the end of all of it, we can truly be a free—and safe—nation in our land
 
Maybe only then can we find that elusive comfort.

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