That was Friday's adventure. We went away for Shabbat to my family and a few minutes before candle-lighting (to welcome in the Sabbath) Eli got a call on his phone from his commander that, from his end, went something like this:
-I'm not home; I don't have anything with me.
-Ok, I need to get my stuff.
I knew that it was his commander-- no way was that a friend. So we raced back home (even made it back in time to light Shabbos candles in our home (although we did ask Eli's mom to light candles for me in case we didn't make it in time to light, because you cannot light a fire on Shabbat)) to get him ready to leave. My family wanted me to stay and I did too, because I knew that the mom knew about what I was feeling, but there was no way in hell I wasn't going with Eli. So I went with him; on the way out the dad brought out the pans of apple-pecan and pumpkin-cinnamon buns we had brought and threw them in the backseat, saying, "You take them with you."
The house is now a mess-- Eli went to his parents' house to get a big army bag to take, as well as some uniforms, equipment, etc., and I stayed home to get stuff ready for him by us. On the way home we made a list of things he needs and attempted to go according to that; we forgot the Band-Aids but remembered the ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin). At least he has enough socks and underwear. And a sewing kit (which apparently came in handy when his pants ripped. Oops).
His mom sent his sister over to be with me, but I really just wanted to be alone so I could concentrate and just get what Eli needed ready, so I sent her back. I felt bad, but I needed my space and time without having someone else there to think about, to tell what to do, or whatever.
He came back from his parents' house plus snacks and minus a few things he needed; we thought they were in our apartment, but they weren't, so I went back to his parents' house where his brother helped me find some thermal shirts and more uniforms, and Eli stayed at home and continued getting ready.
I went back home and continued packing him up while he took a quick shower and got dressed to go. He got a message from his commander and then coordinated with someone else in a parallel unit who he traveled with. By about 6:30 he was packed, and I got changed into Shabbos clothes and we went to his parents. Sang Shalom Aleichem (the song to welcome in the angels who escort people back from shul [synagogue]) and Eli's dad made kiddush [the blessing over the wine at the start of a festive meal] and gave him a bracha [blessing] while everyone else went to wash their hands before eating.
First course was fish, but Eli had to leave so he skipped the fish and his mom made him a plate with food; he ate very little and then had to go. As he was leaving, a neighbor came out and gave him a bracha. His mom gave him a hug and a kiss and then we walked to the car where we said goodbye. It sucked.
His mom insisted I sleep over that night; I did-- it was easier than arguing. Didn't eat-- I really had no appetite. I brought pajamas (aka Eli's, because his sweatpants are comfy) but forgot my toothbrush...oops.
In the morning I went back to my apartment and brushed my teeth and found the mitpachat [scarf] that I wanted to wear and then went back to his parents' house and we all went to a friend of mine for lunch. In the afternoon I slept by his parents and went back to my apartment right after Shabbos was over, made Havdalah [the ceremony that ends the Sabbath and seperates it from the rest of the week] by me and attempted to sort out the mess we made. It's a work in progress.
I sent my family and some friends an email breifly explaining what happened over Shabbbos, and then stayed up until it was after Shabbos in NY to call my parents' house so they wouldn't read the email and freak out, or read Eli's mom's blog and freak out. Of course my sister called me at 1:28 in the morning to check on me...I did say they could call at any time, but seriously? Don't call at an ungodly hour in the middle of the ight to CHECK on me. I'm fine. Assume I'm sleeping and would like to stay that way until my alarm wakes me up at 6:20. Please. Thank you all, have a nice day.
Eli's family is being really great and making sure I'm okay, but I really just want to be left alone. I have other friends and family, too, who are also fantastic. But just...unless I ask, leave me alone. I really know how to ask for help when I need it, and I know I can go over to any of my friends whenever I want, but for now-- just leave me alone.
It's kind of like over the summer, when I was in NY and Eli was here. It sucks, but we will get through this.
His mom asked me not to read her blog, because then I'll know she's scared. Of course she's scared- we're all scared. Welcome to life in Israel in the middle of a war...
I end with the prayers for Israel and for the Welfare of the Soldiers of the Israel Defense Force:
Prayer for the State of Israel:
אָבִינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם, צוּר יִשְׂרָאֵל וְגוֹאֲלוֹ, בָּרֵךְ אֶת מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, רֵאשִׁית צְמִיחַת גְּאֻלָּתֵנוּ. הָגֵן עָלֶיהָ בְּאֶבְרַת חַסְדֶּךָ, וּפְרֹשׁ עָלֶיהָ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ, וּשְׁלַח אוֹרְךָ וַאֲמִתְּךָ לְרָאשֶׁיהָ, שָׂרֶיהָ וְיוֹעֲצֶיהָ, וְתַקְּנֵם בְּעֵצָה טוֹבָה מִלְּפָנֶיךָ. חַזֵּק אֶת יְדֵי מְגִנֵּי אֶרֶץ קָדְשֵׁנוּ, וְהַנְחִילֵם אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְשׁוּעָה וַעֲטֶרֶת נִצָּחוֹן תְּעַטְּרֵם, וְנָתַתָּ שָׁלוֹם בָּאָרֶץ וְשִׂמְחַת עוֹלָם לְיוֹשְׁבֶיהָ. וְאֶת אַחֵינוּ כָּל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל פְּקָד-נָא בְּכָל אַרְצוֹת פְּזוּרֵיהֶם, וְתוֹלִיכֵם מְהֵרָה קוֹמְמִיּוּת לְצִיּוֹן עִירֶךָ וְלִירוּשָׁלַיִם מִשְׁכַּן שְׁמֶךָ, כַּכָּתוּב בְּתוֹרַת משֶׁה עַבְדֶּךְ: "אִם יִהְיֶה נִדַּחֲךָ בִּקְצֵה הַשָּׁמַיִם, מִשָּׁם יְקַבֶּצְךָ ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ וּמִשָּׁם יִקָּחֶךָ. וֶהֱבִיאֲךָ ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יָרְשׁוּ אֲבֹתֶיךָ וִירִשְׁתָּהּ, וְהֵיטִבְךָ וְהִרְבְּךָ מֵאֲבֹתֶיךָ" (דברים ל,ד-ה). וְיַחֵד לְבָבֵנוּ לְאַהֲבָה וּלְיִרְאָה אֶת שְׁמֶךָ, וְלִשְׁמֹר אֶת כָּל דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָתֶךָ. וּשְׁלַח לָנוּ מְהֵרָה בֶּן דָּוִד מְשִׁיחַ צִדְקֶךָ, לִפְדּות מְחַכֵּי קֵץ יְשׁוּעָתֶךָ. הוֹפַע בַּהֲדַר גְּאוֹן עֻזֶּךָ עַל כָּל יוֹשְׁבֵי תֵּבֵל אַרְצֶךָ, וְיֹאמַר כֹּל אֲשֶׁר נְשָׁמָה בְּאַפּוֹ: "ה' אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֶלֶךְ, וּמַלְכוּתו בַּכּל מָשָׁלָה". אָמֵן סֶלָה.
Our Father in Heaven, Rock and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel, the first manifestation of the approach of our redemption. Shield it with Your lovingkindness, envelop it in Your peace, and bestow Your light and truth upon its leaders, ministers, and advisors, and grace them with Your good counsel. Strengthen the hands of those who defend our holy land, grant them deliverance, and adorn them in a mantle of victory. Ordain peace in the land and grant its inhabitants eternal happiness. Lead them, swiftly and upright, to Your city Zion and to Jerusalem, the abode of Your Name, as is written in the Torah of Your servant Moses: “Even if your outcasts are at the ends of the world, from there the Lord your God will gather you, from there He will fetch you. And the Lord your God will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will make you more prosperous and more numerous than your fathers.” Draw our hearts together to revere and venerate Your name and to observe all the precepts of Your Torah, and send us quickly the Messiah son of David, agent of Your vindication, to redeem those who await Your deliverance.
Manifest yourself in the splendor of Your boldness before the eyes of all inhabitants of Your world, and may everyone endowed with a soul affirm that the Lord, God of Israel, is king and his dominion is absolute. Amen forevermore.
Prayer for the Soldiers of the Israel Defense Force
מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֲבותֵינוּ אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקב הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת חַיָּלֵי צְבָא הֲגַנָּה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל וכוחות הביטחון, הָעומְדִים עַל מִשְׁמַר אַרְצֵנוּ וְעָרֵי אֱלהֵינוּ מִגְּבוּל הַלְּבָנון וְעַד מִדְבַּר מִצְרַיִם וּמִן הַיָּם הַגָּדול עַד לְבוא הָעֲרָבָה בַּיַּבָּשָׁה בָּאֲוִיר וּבַיָּם ובכל מקום שהם. יִתֵּן ה' אֶת אויְבֵינוּ הַקָּמִים עָלֵינוּ נִגָּפִים לִפְנֵיהֶם. הַקָּדושׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִשְׁמר וְיַצִּיל אֶת חַיָלֵינוּ מִכָּל צָרָה וְצוּקָה וּמִכָּל נֶגַע וּמַחְלָה וְיִשְׁלַח בְּרָכָה וְהַצְלָחָה בְּכָל מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵיהֶם. יַדְבֵּר שׂונְאֵינוּ תַּחְתֵּיהֶם וִיעַטְרֵם בְּכֶתֶר יְשׁוּעָה וּבְעֲטֶרֶת נִצָּחון. וִיקֻיַּם בָּהֶם הַכָּתוּב: כִּי ה' אֱלהֵיכֶם הַהלֵךְ עִמָּכֶם לְהִלָּחֵם לָכֶם עִם איבֵיכֶם לְהושִׁיעַ אֶתְכֶם: וְנאמַר אָמֵן
May He who blessed our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, bless the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and the security forces who keep guard over our country and cities of our Lord from the border with Lebanon to the Egyptian desert and from the Mediterranean Sea to the approach to the Arava, on land, air, and on sea, and everywhere that they are.
May the Almighty deliver us our enemies who arise against us, may the Holy One, blessed be He, preserve them and save them from all sorrow and peril, from danger and ill.
May He send blessing and success in all their endeavors, may He deliver to them those who hate us and crown them with salvation and victory, so that the saying may be fulfilled through them, "For the Lord, your God, who walks with you and to fight your enemies for you and to save you", and let us say, Amen.
Suggested Tehillim [Psalms] to recite on behalf of the soldiers are: 20, 83, 91, 121, 130, and 144
Please continue to pray for Israel, the soldiers, the people who are living here under constant threat, and for peace.