The world has become a pretty scary place.  Clearly, Hashem runs the world and orchestrates things precisely as they are meant to be.  Yet, for some reason, we are under the impression that if we just do the right things in the right way at the right time, all will be well.  Maybe it’s a defense mechanism, so that we won’t walk around all day trembling in fear.  But whatever the case may be, we think that certain things are within our control.  When the corona virus rages uncontrolled in the outside world, we can cozy up and spend quality time with our family inside our homes and feel somewhat safe.  We can ward off the virus.  Similarly, when rockets are fired in our direction from evil enemies bent on our destruction, we can opt to keep within close range of our protected rooms, and rush for cover when necessary.  We’ve got this.

The summer of 2007 was not an easy one for my family.  I tried my absolute hardest to provide my young children with an enjoyable and “normal” summer while simultaneously caring for my ailing mother during the final months of her life.  Cloaked with the façade of a calm and carefree spirit, I tried to take my kids on educational outings, read with them, play with them, and entertain my charges, just as I would during any other vacation.  In my wish to keep them happy and constructively busy, it seems I let my guard way down and in a totally out of character occurrence, I agreed to let the school rabbit live in our home over the course of the summer.  I am no animal lover (unless they’re stuffed), and this extra dependent minor was not something I needed to add right then to my already full plate.  But before I knew it, “Rebbie Rabbit,” as he was affectionately (to some) known, was running around my living room, scattering his wood shavings in his wake.  At least my kids were kept busy with something wholesome. 

Baruch Hashem, my husband and I were blessed to escort our second son to the chupah two weeks ago.  The range of emotions felt during such a momentous occasion are hard to capture in words.  I don’t think I could even try.  Now that the wedding and sheva brachos aare over, I feel as though I am in the slow and gradual process of returning to normal life.  Normal sleep patterns, scheduled meals, and exercise routines.  I’m becoming reacquainted with my friends along with the lines and sounds of the supermarket.  But during the weeks, days, and hours leading up to the big day, as the preparations intensified, I found myself to be living in a time zone different from the world around me.  I actually knocked on my neighbor’s door to bring her something one day and was surprised to find that she was at work.  Really?  The possibility didn’t even cross my mind.  I was living in my own reality, my wedding zone, and was oblivious to the fact that most people were involved in regular living. I feel as though I am returning to earth and I am finally beginning to process some of my experiences during that hectic, yet precious time. 

What a week!  I feel like I can pull out my articles from the last few weeks and just copy/paste them for this week’s column.  More rockets.  Another terrible accident involving masses of people who came together to be elevated spiritually.  More pain.  More injured. More deaths.  It’s actually quite difficult to keep up with the pace of events. 

Yesterday, at 6 p.m. in the evening, my husband, daughter, and I were in the kitchen discussing plans for our upcoming simcha while eating dinner, when we suddenly heard a siren.  We each looked at the other, in an attempt to confirm that we were actually hearing what we thought we were hearing.  We had been aware of the security tensions in Yerushalayim in recent days, and of the rockets raining down on the communities surrounding Gaza, but it had been years since the last siren had sounded in Beit Shemesh.  There had been no warning about this whatsoever.  We usually feel protected in the center of the country and didn’t see it coming. We headed up the stairs and went straight into the mamad (the secure room), shut the special metal doors that cover the window and secure the room, and then, a few seconds later, heard the boom of the interception of a missile by the Iron Dome.  There were five interceptions over the Beit Shemesh area. We waited the requisite time and left the room. 

 Shellshock. Disbelief. How? Why? When we surrounded our bonfires in celebration of Lag BaOmer on Thursday night, none of us were in any way prepared for the events that tragically unfolded just a few short hours later in Meron.  Many were awake all night trying to track down their family members, but my family didn’t hear the news until the next morning, when we woke up to a message from our son telling us that he was fine, baruch Hashem. I had been in touch with him at midnight the night before after he had already left Meron, so we didn’t understand why he sent us this seemingly superfluous message. But my husband then saw the news and actually thought he wasn’t seeing properly.  Maybe he needed a new prescription for his glasses. What he saw made no sense.  How could it be?