Together we will be victorious

Soldiering on the frontlines is difficult and risky, but yesterday I understood yet another aspect of how we can help them win.

By Anat Schneider | | Topics: Jewish Holidays, Gaza
Photo: Anat Schneider

Being on the home front, waiting in my house, living in uncertainty – is not easy at all. During the day I try to be active and do a lot, and happily there is a lot to do. It helps me get through the day and keep my mood up.

At night it’s a different story. I feel how I postpone my bedtime until I am completely exhausted, and only then do I go to bed. It helps me fall asleep faster without unnecessary thoughts that like to bother me at night. But my sleep is very short, for a few hours. Then I usually wake up and realize that we are still in the middle of the night and try to fall asleep again. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

And I wait for the morning light to redeem me from the darkness.

It’s been like this for more than two months. And so we try to find ways to extend the day. One of them is to go to a restaurant every now and then. And so yesterday, on the 6th candle of Hanukkah, Aviel and I went to a restaurant in Jerusalem. The restaurant was bright, and had a healthy buzz and the tantalizing smell of food. Sitting in a restaurant these days helps us feel sane in the insane situation we are dealing with. Immediately upon entering the restaurant we met a friend, who served as a soldier with Aviel when they were young recruits. He approached us and immediately started to talk about the situation.

He told us about his son who is serving. And about his second son who is post-traumatic from another event that happened years ago in the army.

He also said something that sunk into me. He said that it is very important that the home front continues to operate in the country in a healthy way. So that as soon as the war is over and the soldiers return home, they will realize that there is a strong country behind them, which will also help them to recover.

He is right.

We sat down. We ordered. And we started to enjoy the food. Then a family entered the restaurant – parents, their children and even their grandchildren. This is a family we know well, they have a bakery with wonderful cakes in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood in Jerusalem. We have been their regular customers for many years. (The bakery is called “Paresh,” and I highly recommend it to those of you who will visit Jerusalem.) They entered with two trays full of Hanukkah “sufganiya” donuts and special cakes. I was sure they brought it to eat with their meal. We also exchanged greetings with them. And we continued to eat.

Suddenly the owner of the bakery was called to light a menorah in the restaurant for the general public. He was celebrating a birthday, along with the sixth candle. On the bar of the restaurant stood a beautiful menorah with six candles and the “shamash” servant candle. We all stood up and joined him in blessing the candles.

After he finished lighting the menorah, he added another blessing for all the soldiers of the IDF that they will soon return safely, healthy in body and soul. It was very moving to see the great love that the people have for all security forces, especially for the men and women of the Israel Defense Forces. The “Amen” that was heard from everyone was full and genuine. We finished with a short song, and everyone returned to their seats.

What a wonderful people I have,” I thought to myself at that moment. When we left the restaurant, we saw the trays of cakes they had brought placed at the exit of the restaurant, so that every guest could help himself. They brought them for all of us.

Jewish tradition is known for its cordial and warm hospitality, and the sense of community and togetherness.

Like today, when we see everywhere the phrase: “Together we will be victorious.” This moment was part of that togetherness.

We can see Israel and its heritage preserved even in these unimaginable days.

We have a strong faith that fills our souls and lifts our spirits.

And when we are together and united, it has an unbreakable power. “In every generation, enemies rise up against us to annihilate us, but the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from them.” We returned home; I was both very moved and very tired.

And I managed to stay fast asleep until 5 in the morning.

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