We are in Ashkelon now, had Seder last night with about 100 people in my husband's family. His 93 year old father was there, although he has not been well. He was so happy to see us all together, that's why he and my late mother-in-law arranged for us to do this every year. I tried not to think of the terrorists who would like nothing better than to attack another hotel on Pesach night- a la Netanya 5 years ago- and the damage they would inflict on this extended family. I don't try to figure out why anyone would consider that a good thing to do, it's beyond my capabilities as a Jew and human being. While Israel sends medics into Gaza to treat an Arab woman for a heart attack I can only be thankful yet again that we are who we are, despite the evil around us.
Our blessed soldiers are working so hard to keep us secure; they had their Seder on tin trays in guard posts and bases all over the country so that we could be safe with our families. And then there are the 119 families whose sons (and one daughter) were killed in Lebanon last summer, the 3 families of our captives, the civilian casualties, so many people for whom the sacrifice of keeping our freedom has come at great cost. There are no words to express the gratitude I feel to all of them, I can only do my little part to make this a better place so that it will have been worth it. Maybe.
It is a joy to see our niece Batsheva in advanced pregnancy, patiently taking care of her 3 little ones. Her firstborn son, Yehuda Shoham, lies in his tiny grave in Shilo, a 5 month old victim of the terror that has plagued us for so long. Life goes on, but it's never the same. All our children and our granddaughter are with us, something Earl and I did not take for granted and which made my night complete -even before I had 4 cups of wine.
We are long out of Egypt, a great nation chosen by God to be a light unto other nations. The road is a long one and sometimes I think that our problems with some Jews are no less a burden than our issues with our enemies. But what a privilege to belong to this people, to be living in our homeland and remembering our humble beginnings and the continuing miracles wrought for us on the way. Parting the Reed Sea was only the most dramatic one.
Instead of having a Judean evening I am listening to the surf outside my window (and hopefully not a Kassam exploding nearby). We are out of Exile but still have to get the Diaspora and appeasement mindset out of us. May this holiday of redemption herald the final one and a world at peace.
Happy Pesach to the House of Israel.