“Modeh ani lefaneicha melech chai v’kayam shehechezarta bi nishmati bechemlah rabbah emunatecha.” I gratefully thank You, living and eternal King, for You have returned my soul within me with compassion – abundant is Your faithfulness.
That prayer is on the lips of every Jewish child and adult every morning, grateful for another day that Hashem, God, has granted us. Words to remind us to not take our precious lives for granted.
How often do we take life for granted? And, really it is easy to forget to appreciate all that we have. Routine, life, family obligations, work, school..the list can go on and on. I was recently, ok 5 minutes ago, folding a massive heap of laundry that was just staring back at me. It was saying- “I won’t fold myself.” I finally decided to sit down and tackle it- why has no one invented a folding machine yet?! Really, Israeli startups- I’m speaking to you. Anyway, as I sat there annoyed that I would have new dirty laundry in the basket within 10 minutes, I stopped myself from complaining. I said, “Thank you G-d for giving me my children that need clean clothes.” Did it make folding the laundry any less tedious? No. But it did remind me to be grateful for my children and that they have clothing to wear.
Life in Israel is unlike life, I think, anywhere else in the world. Life here is definitely not taken for granted. Every single person you meet has someone they know or are related to that has been affected by terrorism. I include myself in that group.
Walking down the street and feeling the need to turn around every 10 seconds to ensure someone isn’t following me with a knife, is also a constant reminder to appreciate life. So if we appreciate life so much, why is it so difficult for THEM to appreciate life? Why do they ingrain it in their children from the time they’re born to hate us so much? Why do they want to kill us? Why do they want to wipe us off the map?
Yes, I know there have been millions of articles written about this, that’s why I won’t even try to answer these questions. What I will do is try to show you the personal side of it.
People have asked me, “If it is so dangerous with terrorism in Israel, why on earth did you move your family there?!” My answer is: This is where the Jewish people belong- this is our rightful home, the land G-d gave to us. We aren’t going anywhere, so they better stop trying to get rid of us. It’s enough. And to be honest, there is terrorism all around the world- I was in NYC on 9/11… The Muslim extremists, the terrorists, have infiltrated themselves all across the globe. So, personally, I feel safest in the Jewish homeland. Safe where we have a Jewish army- the best, most moral in all the world protecting us every day. Safe where we have security guards putting their lives on the line when they sit in front of every cafe, mall, supermarket, movie theater, and school.
And even though you hear in the news about all the horrible atrocities committed against the Jewish people, in the Jewish homeland, there is still something that makes you feel safe here. I haven’t stopped going to Machane Yehuda Shuk every Thursday morning, or taking what feels like 6 buses a day, or walking through town, or into Talpiyot to go to the malls. I still go twice a week to the hospital to do my volunteer work. (I’m looking forward to writing all about volunteering in the hospital. Stay tuned to a future blog post.)
Life here isn’t so simple, there is a lot to get used to. A new language, a new culture, new food, new way of life. And I am enjoying every minute of exploring every aspect of life here. People are waiting for me to stop floating and come back down to reality. I just say to them, this is my reality- lucky me!
There is so much to appreciate. Waking up every morning looking out my window and seeing the sunrise- yes- I am up that early every morning- and yes, I need to find a way to appreciate that too. Thanking God for another precious day. But when I look outside and see the sunrise, I think, maybe today, maybe the world will be peaceful today. Waking up with the sunrise.. it’s like Hashem starts the morning out the same way every morning: With light and hope.
When we say “Modeh Ani,” let’s hope that maybe, just maybe, there won’t be any notifications on our phones today about another terrorist attack. And if we do get those notifications on the phone, let’s remember to appreciate our lives and the special people we share our lives with.