I wake up, pray, make breakfasts and lunches. I help my children get dressed, argue with them about wearing a sweater or putting on a coat. This one needs help with her ponytail, that one needs help with his shoes. With a blessing and a kiss, I send them off to school.
I nurse my baby. I exercise. I have breakfast with my husband. The baby goes down for a nap. I’m able to see a client. Now I’m off to the doctor for an appointment. On the way home, five minutes from my home, I stop off at the shuk (market) to pick up some vegetables to make soup. I stop by my nut-and-almond man. I leave the shuk and walk onto Jaffa Road to my home.
Five minutes later. I’m home. The phone rings. Sirens, sirens. I hear the sirens. Another terrorist attack. Two Arab women stabbing civilians, a defenseless old man, among others. Where? On Jaffa Road, outside the food market, five minutes from my home.
I say Psalms. I pick up my baby and smother him with kisses. I give tzedakah (charity). I thank G‑d that I made it home. I send messages to friends and family that thank G‑d I’m okay.
I’m in shock. I shake myself. I look at the clock. Life. Reality. Get moving. Time to make lunch and supper. Time to fold laundry and put it away. The kids will be home from school soon. Life, an ordinary day for an ordinary wife and mother.
My mind can’t help but return to the sirens. Ambulances, police cars. I don’t understand these people. How can women do such things? I just don’t understand.
I don’t write this in the hopes that I can convince anyone of the obvious craziness of a people who only want to destroy and hate. I know that we are living in an era of darkness, and that there’s a reason that the world is blind. I write this to give myself, and maybe you, strength—to remember why we are here.
We are here to live! To continue, to bring light and holiness into this world. We have mission—not of hatred and murder, but of peace and life.
When Israel was enslaved in Egypt, Pharaoh issued a decree to kill all the Jewish baby boys by throwing them into the Nile. Amram, one of Israel’s leaders, heard the decree, wept and said: “Why bring children into the world for nothing?” He separated from his wife, and all the men in the generation followed his example.
His daughter, Miriam, said: “Father, your decree is worse than Pharaoh’s. He decreed only against the males, and you’ve decreed against males and females. He decreed death only in this world, and you’ve decreed both in this world and in the next. Pharaoh is evil, and chances are that his decree will not come to fruition, yet you are righteous—surely, your decree will come about!”
Amram listened and reunited with his wife, and all the men followed his example and reunited with their wives. (Talmud, Sotah 12a)
What happened then? Amram and Yocheved had another son, Moses, who grew up to be Israel’s humble leader—G‑d’s chosen redeemer. Moses merited the task of leading Israel out of Egypt to freedom. And Miriam, his sister, with her prophetic vision, her vision of life and hope, merited to see this all happen and take part in the redemption.
What was Miriam’s message—not just to Amram, but to all? The Nation of Israel must live! Keep going, living, doing. Have babies. Continue! Live! This is what we must do. Yes, it’s scary and dark out there, but G‑d gave us a distinct mission, a purpose. Make light! In this month of Kislev, of Chanukah and miracles. Make life. Create sparks of holiness. Know that just as G‑d did salvations and made miracles for our forefathers, so too does He make salvations and miracles for us today.
My thoughts as I, just an ordinary wife and mother, walk down the street? Please G‑d, let me live so that I can nurse my baby. Please G‑d, let my children and husband and all of Am Yisrael be safe. Let us see bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings and births. Let us live.