My Me vs. Them Shabbat

My Me vs. Them Shabbat

All my kids were home this week for Shabbat lunch. We don’t all get together so often, and I had been looking forward to a nice chance for everyone to reconnect. But soon after the meal started, the conversation turned into an stormy debate over Judicial Reform. We Weisbergs are a colorful, diverse bunch, and our political views vary nearly as widely as the Knesset itself.
Politics isn’t my thing, especially on Shabbat, so after a while, I went to tidy up the kitchen and then went to lie in bed with a magazine. In Israel a lot of families have family members that have stopped speaking with one another or coming to family gatherings because of the current tensions. Maybe I’m lucky that we all get along and are talking, even if, more and more over the past year, it’s in order to argue.
At the end of Shabbat, I went on a walk. Rabbanit Yemima mentioned in this week’s class that the afternoon of Shabbat Hazon is a very powerful time to connect with Hashem, to sing Yedid Nefesh from the heart, to envision all our dreams coming into reality. So I set out in search of quiet, grassy place to sit down and do just that. But as soon as I left my house, I saw a helicopter hovering overhead. I live just a 10 minute walk from the Knesset, and I know that helicopters on Shabbat means trouble, a sign that a major military operation is underway or in the works, requiring emergency meetings in the halls of power. But then I saw a river of people holding Israeli flags walking towards the Knesset. The helicopters were supervising the demonstration. A big one. After Shabbat I read 80,000 people protested this Shabbat in Jerusalem alone.
As I continued on my walk I passed lots of people who were coming back from the demonstrations. My religious dress I knew, in most of their eyes, meant I’m the enemy. I thought of greeting them with a friendly “Shabbat shalom!” to put a bit of love and unity into this charged “Me vs. Them” energy, but I thought that might backfire, as though I was rebuking them, “Shabbat shalom demonstrators! Do you even realize it’s Shabbat??” Was this how it felt right before the Destruction of the Temple? I wondered. Baseless hatred (I bet back then they also said, “But it’s not baseless, cause I’m right and they’re wrong!!)
I finally reached my destination, a grassy park, and I found a quiet place to sit crosslegged and sing “Yedid Nefesh.” Soul Friend, Merciful Father, my soul is sick for Your love. A few demonstrators with small children were also at the park, as darkness fell some little girls did cartwheels, a father played tag with his 2 young sons, and a mother nursed her baby by the bushes.
And I sang Yedid Nefesh and Ka Echsof as the darkness enveloped all of us, and I envisioned my dreams for my family and for all of Israel (the Jewish people one, with each other, with Hashem) coming true.’

One comment

  1. Is there a continuation to this post?

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