Soldiers praying at dawn
Soldiers praying at dawnFlash 90

It is the evening of the day

I sit and watch the children play

Smiling faces I can see but not for me

I sit and watch as tears go by

(As Tears Go By, The Rolling Stones)

It is three in the morning. All is dark, and silent. And I am awake, uneasy in the silence. In the absence of the sounds of war in our Holy Land. The quiet is surreal, a silence of suspense. What is hiding behind it?

Again I check. Is it indeed three in the morning? Perhaps I am no longer here, but have drifted off into the darkness which surrounds us. Far away, into the welcoming blackness of night, where hope and mercy are seen in the Heavens, as specks of light against a backdrop of darkness. For here, on Earth we struggle to find the glimmers of light in the seemingly endless dark. Day drifts into night, night into day, and we wait.

Was it only a few days ago that all the grandchildren were playing together? As they all took a day off from school to enjoy the togetherness. I watched them run in joy, out one door, in the next, in blissful contrast to the tragic upheaval which has occurred since the last time we were all together. Before.

I stepped outside. The sky had lightened, morning’s showers had transformed into a sunny afternoon. And yet, all was seemingly gray. As if nature’s green was covered by a cloud, and bright colors had faded into more subdued tones.

Voices of those around me were muffled, indistinct. Faces were blurred, almost surreal. Whiteness overtakes memory, painting a cloudiness over all events which have occurred after one day, in which life turned upside-down.

My father(z”l) used to tell us of the words of the Sages (Talmud, Shabbat 31a), that the first question one will be asked in the World-to-Come will be “Did you do business faithfully?” Did you act honestly, meticulously, when dealing with financial, material matters? Another question will be “Did you await Redemption?” How did you lead your life, in the spiritual realm?

And now. All is gray and tempestous, as an ocean of pain. The endless sound of passing cars a reminder of time passing by, inevitably. In my mind echoes my father’s words. The words of a Holocaust survivor who lived his life “looking towards a brighter future”.

“Did you await Redemption?”

Did you live a life of quiet despair, or of quiet hope? There is here almost a commandment. One which in today’s reality seems somewhat impossible to fulfill.

To know, with the innermost, utmost, unshakeable knowledge, to know with one’s whole being, that the Ultimate End is Salvation. To there we are heading.

It is difficult to remember, in the fog of uncertainty and disbelief, in the sleepless days and nights… But for what are we waiting, for what are we striving? What is our destiny?

In our world of today, joy is interwoven with grief, elation with horror. Sounds of gaiety are muffled, waves of sorrow are coming and receding, relentlessly.

We try to understand, but it is beyond our comprehension. There is a realm where the mind cannot fathom, and turns to the soul in a search for meaning.

What would life be like if we knew, for certainty, that our hand is in the Hand of God, that the light of the Divine is lighting our path, that the road we are on, though at times seemingly dark, is leading us toward Redemption.

In the darkness of night I try to catch a glimmer of the star’s light, mirroring the flicker of an inner enchantment. There is a place of stillness within, in which an echo may be heard in soft reverberation, or is it a psalm.

“Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalms 46:10).

We hold on to that faith which will guide us, the hope which will lead our way, brighten our path. We ask only that our inner strength be unswerving, as a beacon of light in a dark night, to guide us.

Somewhere deep within, we can almost hear an echo of the Voice which spoke and Man was created. ”And God said:”Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26)

May we always be blessed to feel within that we, Mankind, were created in the image of the Divine.

May that knowledge provide us with faith in the future, and in the One whose Hand is holding ours.

“When I falter, you hold me up” (Psalms 37:24).

We are now in the month of Kislev. The month of miracles. In the miracle of our beloved returning home we see the heralding, of Redemption.

We are challenged daily now, to maintain our hope in the the face of despair. To retain our goodness, and our belief in goodness. To remember beauty, simple kindness. A glimmer struggles to be seen, now.

Outside my window, red roses grow. When I am home, they glisten in their splendor and hopefulness. When I am gone, I return home to find they have gone as well.

And now, I wait for their return. For the day that will see flowers in bloom, not in contrast to our sorrow, but in unison with our serenity.

We pray for the speedy and safe return of all our captives and brave soldiers.

May the day come, when we will be blessed with Peace and Security.

“He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings shall you take refuge” (Psalms 91:4).

Dr. Devorah Ungaris an American-born scientist and musician who moved to Israel 30 years ago.