Monday, July 15, 2013

The Nightmare

The decision has been made and we’ve told everyone. Now we’ve begun packing our belongings. As my husband is balanced on a ladder to bring down the curtains I am overcome with an overwhelming sadness.
“Why are we doing this?” I ask him, my voice full of tears.
He shakes his head. “You don’t want to go either?”
I smile in relief knowing that he shares my feelings. Next I call my mother. Now there are more tears in my voice, tears of apology.
“We’re not moving back. I’m sorry. I know I’m disappointing you.”
My mother says something comforting and then I awake.

The dream had seemed so real. And yet, I assured myself as I lay in bed, caught between fantasy and reality, it could not be true. My mother has been dead already thirteen years. The young children in my dream are now grown, most of them with children of their own. No, I assured myself. It was a dream. We were not leaving Israel. 
What, I wondered, possessed me to dream such a dream. Surely there was something significant in the timing, two days before the ninth of Av. For the ninth of Av is not just the date that both the first and second Holy Temples were destroyed. It is also the date that the twelve leaders whom Moshe sent out to spy on the Land of Israel returned with their evil report. That evil report caused HaShem to sentence the Jewish people to wander in the desert for forty years before entering the land. (For more see The Sin of the Spies from May 30th, 2013) That evil report was also the root for the decree that the Holy Temple that would be built would later be destroyed twice and the Jews exiled from our holy land. That evil report, a justification for not living in Israel, is the reason that we still fast on the ninth of Av every year.
My dream was reminiscent of an opposite reality from thirty-seven years earlier. In this reality my husband and I were a young married couple in Phoenix, Arizona and we had decided to move to Israel.  Living in a small apartment we did not have many large possessions and what we had was not worth taking with us. We advertised a Friday rummage sale and were pleased with the amount of interested shoppers. Sometime after we sold our kitchen table I received a phone call from my friend. She had just returned from her summer vacation via Wichita where she had seen my father. 
“Tell them not to move,” my father had reportedly told her. I took her report hard and lay on my bed crying. That was where my husband found me several minutes later. He had with him two customers eager to buy a bedroom set.
“Uh, we’ll call you back Sunday if we still want to sell,” he told the couple.
My weeping brought all of his misgivings to the fore and after much introspection we decided not to move to Israel. We stayed in Phoenix for an additional ten years and then, Baruch HaShem, we did make Aliyah. Sometimes I have been sorry that we had that ten year delay but most of the time I believe that, as with everything, it was all from HaShem and therefore for the best. Still, as I awoke from my dream I marveled at the similarities to the previous reality.
Those of you who read my articles regularly should understand my feelings about living in Israel. It is not just a nice thing to do. It is a commandment from the Torah. I believe that in order to hasten the arrival of the Moshiach the Jews need to return to our Holy Land. In order to have our Holy Temple rebuilt we need the Moshiach.
As we draw closer to the ninth of Av longings for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple are very much in my heart and on my mind. Therefore my dream- maybe I should call it a nightmare- was not surprising. Perhaps I needed that dream, so similar to our decision to stay in America, to shake me up.  For those ten years we delayed in leaving America, similar to the Sin of the Spies, contributed to the delay of the Moshiach.  For that I am sorry. However, I am full of gratitude that HaShem gave us a second chance.

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