I don’t want to write this post. I am actually really angry that I am writing it. What I want to do is to be curled up in bed with a book, with a kid, with the NYTimes crossword. But I’m not. I’m here. Feeling sad and not brave.
When Erez Orbach was getting killed, I was probably driving a carpool run to soccer practice on the same Kibbutz where he would be buried a day later. Just earlier that morning, I felt that there was a modicum of closure after Yakov Don’s murder. There was a step forward.
Alon Shevut is a bruised and battered place to be. But they sure know the drill. The older kids shuffle out to Bnei Akiva, to the snif, where they say tehillim, cry and sing. Adults show up with drinks and soup (it is, after all, right after a fast day). The trained professionals from Alon Shevut show up next and speak in murmurs of kindness and faith. The 16 year olds, the “older generation” sit with their chanichim to talk and to listen and to cry. Everyone comes home shattered.
The funeral felt like this: All of Alon Shevut gets up and walks across the street to the cemetery, buries another victim of terror, and turns around and walks back home. It is sadly a beaten track. It felt like the average age at the funeral was 20. Kids upon kids upon kids who should have been in school, in the army, somewhere anywhere that wasn’t a cemetery. It is a heartbreak that there is no need to explain funeral etiquette to a 16 year old.
And the wind feels relentless, bursting forth throughout the funeral. The soldier next to me with the crumpled white satin kippah loses his kippah to the wind four or five times and we just keep passing it back and he keeps putting it back on as if this time the outcome will be different.
Today everything is more subdued. Quieter. Sadder. But the sunset tonight is exquisite. The entire Gush seems to be on fire. And much like the rainbow where God promises forgiveness, tonight it feels like He is offering an apology.
Picture credit: Shachar Kelner
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