“My heart fluttereth, horror hath affrighted me, the twilight that I desire hath been turned into trembling onto me
They prepare the table, they set the watch, they eat, they drink…
…For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman: let him declare what he seeth:
…One calleth unto me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?
The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: turn ye, come.”
It is 4 in the morning. Darkness outside my window, I step out onto the porch. The sound of crickets, the hum of cars passing in the distance. Blackness of the night brightened by streetlights, by lights from a few neighboring windows, by the flicker of stars in the Heavens.
In the darkness of night, we search for the light, for the ray of hope, for the direction from which will come our salvation.
As usual salvation comes form two directions, internal and external. The glimmer of our actions on earth meets with Divine Light. I pray always that my path should be aligned with the Divine Will. That the path I choose in life should be one which is blessed. For throughout life, Man is partner with God.
And now, gazing into the night, before the new day begins and sunlight will shine upon the reality of our existence, which now has taken on a somewhat darker hue, I wonder about the implications of our current situation.
Where are we heading as a society, as a nation, as the Nation of Israel in the Promised Land?
Is our will aligned with the Divine Will? Are our actions in line with the higher spiritual, ethical, moral values we hold as the Nation of Israel? Are we following along the path which is blessed from Above?
Are we a Light unto the Nations?
We are now in a surrealistic reality, unimaginable just a few months ago. We ‘are not in Kansas anymore’. A situation which we thought in April would be temporary, seems to have become longterm. We do not know if we will be able to quickly overcome this situation, or rather must learn to live with it.
Emergency measures taken in a short-term scenario, can have disastrous effects if maintained for long. One can hold one’s breath temporarily, but the time for such action is limited.
What if we thought that this new situation might persist not for a few weeks, or a few months, as we believed at the onset, but for years? What if we were to accept that we are now in a New Reality? Would our decisions as a society, as a nation, be different?
Do we have a vision for the future? Or are we as a nation engulfed by panic, confusion, uncertainty, terror of the unknown?
As Victor Frankl expressed so beautifully: “… everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms- to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose own’s own way.”
Perhaps we as individuals, as a nation, are being tested by Heaven? Even under such trying situations, can we retain our divinity, leave untarnished the highest principles of life and faith?
What is our ideology at the moment? As a society, as the Nation of Israel?
The basic value accepted by society at the moment, in our fear and chaos seems to be simply that of physical survival.
But what is Man? What is a Jewish nation? What are we as the Chosen People?
What are our moral, ethical, considerations, the considerations which express our vision for the future, our stand on life, on what we hold sacred?
We are creating now the world in which the next generation will be living. How do we want it to look? What are our values? What values are we unwilling to defer, to postpone, to negate? As the emergency situation becomes more of a longterm prognosis, maybe the time has come to align our actions with our spiritual and moral values?
Perhaps the time has come to redefine our identity as Man? To reclaim and cherish our position as the Nation of Israel? The State of Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people. A land where we are free to practice our religion, to uphold values, traditions, morals of Judaism. Is this what we are emphasizing today?
By closing synagogue doors, are we making a statement? By closing schools, even temporarily, are we making a statement. Are we not the ‘People of The Book’?
Have we decided as a society that the physical well being of our children is more important than their spiritual and intellectual development?
Have we in fact decided that physical needs are urgent, and needs of the soul can be put on hold? Until when?
Perhaps at this time we wish to put paramount the values of religion, education, family?
To decide that what is most important in our lives, is not merely our physical survival, but also our spiritual selves?
When one is just as dangerous to health as the other, why is mass gathering in protest considered a basic right, while mass gathering for affirmation of religion (prayer) or of love (wedding) or of nurturing the next generation (school) is open for discussion?
Should freedom of speech, freedom to express our political views openly, be our highest value today as a Jewish Nation?
Or is it perhaps freedom to worship, or freedom to study, or freedom to be with our loved ones? Or something else?
We are reaching a point where we are facing a struggle for survival.
Maybe it is worthwhile to pause,and just rethink.
To reevaluate, nurture, and cherish what we believe to be vital and sacred. ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life’. (Proverbs 13:12)
Nighttime. Stars could be seen in the distance. A hope for a bright tomorrow which will be blessed. A hope for Divine Intervention.
But even closer could be seen the street lights, helping those passing in the dark to find the proper direction.
And lights could be seen in the homes of those who have not turned out the lights, but have them on in the midst of darkness. There is a hope which is among us, the Divine Light which is within us, mirroring the Divine which is above. A hope which is in the present, a glimmer of the hope we maintain for a brighter future.
We are not only waiting for the sun to rise in the morning. We are also lighting glimmers of light in the of night.
Again, I look out the window. The sky has lightened. Dark green tops of trees are outlined against a brightening sky of pale light-blue gray. Birds can be heard singing the Wonder of the Morning.
I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope.(Psalm 130:5)
Dr. Devorah Ungar is an American-born scientist and musician.who mved to Israel 30 years ago.