Sunday, March 01, 2009

Great, so now I hate Israel.

Well, maybe not HATE.
 
For years, whenever anyone mentioned Israel, the conversation was easy:
Them:  "Have you ever been there?"
Me:  "Nope."
Them:  "Oh, you have to go, it's incredible."
Me:  Eyes glaze over - no chance we'll ever get there.
 
Almost literally, my eyes would do the glaze-over thing whenever anyone mentioned anything about Israeli politics, geography, history, literature... ANYTHING.
Like, I knew it was mine, or supposed to be mine, but it was so, so distant, so far from actually being mine, that I just didn't pay attention.
 
And then, suddenly, we were GOING.
It was more than an awakening:  suddenly, it was real.
I couldn't read the chumash or even bentsch without realizing:  we were GOING.  We would BE there.  It was OURS.
I was crazy-gung-ho Zionist, for about a month, once the reality set in that we were GOING.
 
The opposite reality seems to have taken about a month to set in as well.
We WENT.
It's over.
It's gone.
 
Now, like yesterday in shul, the conversation is an entirely different one:
Person who doesn't know what happened:  "Oh!  How was your Israel trip?"
Me:  "It was great; beautiful - we loved it!"
Walk away.  Walk away fast.  Walk away before they ask "How long did you go for?"
Like I did yesterday - just grabbed Elisheva and walked away.
 
I hate it.  Okay, maybe not Israel, but I sure hate something.
 
Not hate hate it, like I said, but yeah, it makes me angry, it makes me sad, to have the whole country snatched away like that.
Because I really did fall in love...
 
In the car on the way home from driving Abigail to Hamilton tonight, I was thinking, it's easy to fall in love with a country when you're there on a surreal "honeymoon" like our trip was:  direct flight from Toronto, all-expenses-paid (by my father), nice apartment, giant jacuzzi tub, walking distance to all amenities.
So, okay, maybe it's cheap that I fell in love with it like that. 
Maybe it wouldn't seem so ideal, so idyllic, if we had to go there and try to earn a living... but I would sure as heck like to have the chance to try.
I would have liked the chance to stay there no matter what.  Would I rather be poor in eretz Yisrael than middle-class here?  Nobody seems to be giving us that choice, actually... it's more like poor here or poor there.  And, yes, I would probably rather join the poor there than be even comfortably middle-class here.
 
But, man, I can't get over how awful, how painfully RIPPED OPEN I still feel having that land torn away from me like that.
For a couple of weeks, at least until the return date on our original plane tickets, I kept saying "I'm not really here" (in Canada).
And then, for a while, I said Hashem sure owed me a return trip.  He still does.
But now I get angry, or rather, tear up, whenever anybody mentions Israel.  Okay, or if I see a plane, which is what triggered this whole line of thought, while I was driving past the airport on the way home.
Things are a little raw right now, I think.
 
After I had my wisdom teeth out a couple of weeks ago, I kept thinking, "it's always going to hurt like this."  I'd check back in with my mouth a couple of days later and, sure enough, it still did hurt.  Couple of days later:  hurt.  But you know what?  The hurt went away.  It's mostly all gone now, and it hasn't even been a month.  I can even poke and prod with my tongue at the back of my mouth - the way you have to even if you suspect you probably shouldn't - and it doesn't hurt, though it is creepy having empty space there where teeth once were.
 
So maybe someday I'll be able to see an airplane and not hate Israel (or hate having Israel taken away).  Maybe I'll see an Israeli flag and not hate Israel.  Maybe I'll participate in this year's Walk with Israel, which we haven't done in a while, and not cry too much at the thought of how much I'd rather be walking in than with Israel.
 
Maybe someday I'll be able to poke the hole in my life that is Israel and somehow, somewhere, find another $4000, another six plane tickets, another apartment, another... crap, it's a lot of work getting six of us over there and back.
 
Maybe someday we'll never come back.

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