Breaking the Silence

I haven't written since last spring. Things seemed to get a little redundant. I mean, how many times and in how many ways can one utter the same warnings to a public already over-saturated with a deluge of information, and downright fatigued by a torrent of earthshaking events?

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Ellen W. Horowitz

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"I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; with compassion abundant is Your faithfulness!" -- the prayer recited upon opening one's eyes in the morning.

I haven't written since last spring. Things seemed to get a little redundant. I mean, how many times and in how many ways can one utter the same warnings to a public already over-saturated with a deluge of information, and downright fatigued by a torrent of earthshaking events?

I felt that too few of us had the time to read the full story and thoughtfully reflect on the issues and their implications, and too many of us were simply not equipped to rise to the challenge of seriously questioning the information being thrown at us by our leaders and by the mainstream media.

The challenge for me was to find another creative way to get a rather dumbed-down and tired public to wake up, think and feel again. And so, I literally returned to the drawing board and began caricaturing again - with the hope that a few basic, simple black and white lines would help to clarify some rather complex issues and expose some very basic truths (and maybe get a laugh in there somewhere, too).

But things just aren't that funny right now, and I feel the need to write again.

So, let's make a deal. I won't say I told you so and harp too long on the disasters of the Oslo Accords, the withdrawal from Lebanon and the Disengagement Plan; if you promise not to tell me that you didn't know or that you didn't see it coming. And please don't tell me that I was right, because you have no idea how much I, and others like me, wanted to be wrong.

For more than a week, I've been listening to the sounds of rockets exploding in the distance and praying that they stay distant.

I utter my morning prayer with a newfound gratitude and I thank G-d for allowing my family to sleep soundly through another night.

My eldest son is with his unit on the northern border - a unit which has suffered casualties. He has less than a year left of service in the IDF, and I pray that G-d will let him return whole, safe and well, so that he can stand in full strength under the chupah next month. And I pray that all of his very strong and determined comrades and friends will be in full attendance at that simcha.

I fluctuate between moments of acute anxiety and remarkable tranquility - which reflect the very psalms I occasionally pick up to read throughout the day. I suppose that's how prayer works. It's the tears and distress that arouse the prayers, which ultimately lead to comfort (and redemption).

I think about all the tears that fell a year ago and the profundity of that weeping. You see, it wasn't about homes and hothouses in Gush Katif. It was about a terrible and impossible choice that had to be made. A choice between fighting our brothers and their deluded plans, and risking a possible civil war; or "cooperating" with the authorities - with the full knowledge of the disastrous security scenario that awaited all of us.

There's a terrible cost that comes with a lack of foresight and lack of accountability on the part of leaders, but the public pays an equally steep price for being passive, uncaring and unaware.

I'm not looking for mass spiritual teshuva from our leaders, but I will settle for some thoughtful penitence on an intellectual level. Maybe some of the experts in their ivory towers will have enough of an inkling of doubt and fear in their guts to give rise to the questions: What have we done? What didn't we do?

I would hope that at a time like this, every Jew could take the time required to look to the heavens, as well as to do an obligatory search and realignment of their hearts and heads.

Lo and behold, based on recent Knesset speeches and military briefings, it does appear that the word G-d and words of scripture are emanating from our leader's lips - whether they be on the ground, in the air or at sea. I guess it's true that there are no atheists in foxholes, in bomb shelters, on the heights, in the valleys, on the coastline, or in the Knesset at this time.

I hope that counts for something.

With hopes and prayers for peace and comfort for all of Am Yisrael, may our sons, husbands and fathers be granted strength and success in the field.


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