Friday, March 14, 2008


Originally posted Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Thursday night was the start of Lag B'Omer (33rd of the Omer, the period between Passover and Shavuot (Feast of Weeks), when the Hebrew slaves left Egypt and traveled to Sinai to receive the 10 Commandments and become the Nation of Israel).

(In the time of Rabbi Akiva, who witnessed the destruction of the Second Temple and who was the greatest Torah Sage of his generation, twenty four thousand of his disciples died in an epidemic. The underlying spiritual cause of the epidemic was the students' lack of respect for each other. This sad event and others took place during the Counting of the Omer. As a result, the Omer period has become one of semi-mourning in which we don't hold weddings or festivities, nor do we shave or get haircuts. But because the epidemic was suspended on the 33rd day - Lag B'omer - Lag B'omer has become a joyous day of celebration.
After all his students died, Rabbi Akiva "started over" and began teaching other students. One of his foremost students was Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, the author of the Zohar. The Zohar, which means "The Shining Light," is the basis of the secret teachings of the Torah. Some people light bonfires on Lag B'omer and sing songs in honor of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who revealed the teachings of the Zohar to the world on Lag B'omer.)

Anyway, Thursday night the settlement had special for the kids and then families did their own. My girls went to the settlement's bonfire, where they roasted hotdogs, toasted marshmallows, made tea and pita...and had a general kumzitz. At 10 p.m. I left them with friends and went to an 'adults' BBQ. We drank and ate, played records (remember those) of 60's, 70's and early 80's music and had a great time. I got home at 1 a.m. and my girls were asleep in their bed. I kept the dog out for the night and we all slept late since I didn't have work and the kids didn't have school.

My youngest daughter awoke with her usual strep/tonsillitis combo (actually if it's tonsillitis/strep, she may have them removed in the near future). She ran a fever all weekend and on Sunday I took her to Jerusalem to the doctor instead of going to work. We got back around 4:15, and my oldest came home around 5-ish.

At 5:30, my neighbor was shot driving up the road. His car was hit 10 times and he was wounded in the arm.

At 8:00, a caravan of cars, vans and trucks from the settlement made their way down to the spot where our neighbor had been injured. We left as cars filled, rather than as one cohesive unit so only the first 5 cars made it passed the surprised soldiers waiting at the crossroads. I was in the 6th car.

Those of us not able to pass blocked the crossroads and just stood around, talking. About 45 minutes later, the first 5 cars returned. I won't tell you what they did. Fifteen minutes later, a few cars from a nearby settlement came to lend their support. One of the guys told us that if/when the police show up, we offer only our name and ID number. Then he started talking about arrest, and prison, about judges and hearings. A few of the men from my settlement left at that point. I stayed.

I stayed because I'm tired of the apparent inability of my government to act.

I stayed because another of my neighbors was injured.

I stayed because it could have been me.

We decided to stage a protest the next day in front of the Prime Minister's residence, with our neighbor's bullet-riddled car, each bullet hole circled in blood-red paint, right on the lawn.

Unfortunately it was canceled at the last minute, as we were told the IDF went into the offending village and 'did something'.

Yeah, I saw what they did. They cut down three olive trees in a grove of 20. Whoopy.

If anyone is worried the men in those 5 cars hurt any Arabs, don't worry. They found a more effective way to get back.

After all, you can't make a martyr out of a cement and brick factory.

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