The sky is beautiful.
The Hebrew word for sky is shamayim. Our tradition tells us that this word is a construct of the Hebrew words esh (fire) and mayim (water). It’s a lovely image- fire and water combining to form the heavens.
Frequently we look to the heavens for salvation. Our prayers and liturgy are full of references to our dependence on God and the natural world to provide us with rainfall in its season, for crops and bounty. You don’t have to look any farther than the Shema to get a sense for that kind of language.
But sometimes the heavens don’t just give us rainfall. Sometimes the sky is full of fire.
The skies over southern Israel, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem have been darkened by a deluge of rockets from Gaza, literally raining fire down on a terrified population. While the YouTube footage of Iron Dome rockets destroying Hamas-launched rockets is amazing when viewed from the safety of my living room, the fear in which Israelis have been living for the better part of seven years is something we will never truly understand.
At the same time, the skies over Gaza have been full of drones, helicopters, and Israeli aircraft seeking out and destroying terrorist infrastructure. And while I wholeheartedly support the IDF’s mission to protect its citizens and weaken Hamas, I also empathize with the suffering of a population in Gaza being held hostage by a terrorist regime. I hope the skies, one day, will hold comfort for them as well.
As we all take a step back this week from our everyday lives to give thanks and spend time with friends and family, let us not forget the words of Anne Frank, whose diary will forever serve as an example of hope, even in the darkest of times.
When I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that this cruelty too shall end, and that peace and tranquility will return once again.
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