As I sit and write this tonight, we are still experiencing darkness of a sort. It’s been 5 days now. Completely unexpected, unpredicted, unexplained. I woke up much later than usual Tuesday morning,thinking it still before dawn. I went out of our bedroom, looked out a small window at the bleakness outside. The air was thick with a heavy mustard-colored cloud. It was almost 8am and I was totally late for class. Egads!!!! Another dust storm. It should blow over by afternoon like the one last spring. By noon, it was only worse. You couldn’t see 40 feet. Visibility was near zero, and we had to take Max to his base (he’s doing a pre-army training program now) 1 1/2 hours to the south. Yuk!!!!! It was pretty nasty goings….
The next morning, we woke up expecting to see relatively clear skies. More of the same. News reports said is was coming from Iraq and Syria. Will blow over by tomorrow. Of course, I stayed home from class, and we “hibernated” and watched DVDs under the air conditioner. By evening, the filters on the mazgan (AC) were so blocked, they were ineffective. John had to remove and wash them down…. Despite the fact that everyone here has treesim, heavy duty, rolling metal shutters to cover the windows in case of raids, bombs – or dust storms, and all the windows were closed, the microscopic shmutz seeped in anyway. By Day Three, things were not much better, and the heat and humidity was on the rise due to the trapped air. Women were posting that they were overwhelmed and were supposed to be cleaning (immaculately) the house before the holidays. What to do? I went to class, to the store with a face mask. I’ve only seen 2 other people with face masks. These crazy, brave, impenetrable Israelis were walking around as if all of this was perfectly a normal chain of events!!!!! Life as usual. In mid afternoon, I could look at the sun without glasses as if it was the moon. In the next picture, the spots on the windshield of the car are not from rain or water, but big huge dust blobs!!!
I had been praying even before this event, “Lord, make us invisible to our enemies.” Who knows? But in these conditions, airports are closed, there can be no spying, and any attacks at least delayed. Also, in the days before the High Holy Days, we are supposed to be doing a check of our soul. What have we done right/wrong? Who have we offended in any way? What junk still needs to be cleaned out? I took this as a sign: I still have a lot more cleaning inside to do!!! Not just dusting or floor mopping… Day Four: it began to lighten a little but the air was still foul – and did I mention sulfurous/selenium smelling? And we still can’t see the mountains and towns just across the way. Changing mazgan filters every day. Still wearing a mask…. We’re now at the end of Day Five, and it’s sharav – beyond hot and sticky. Nothing like this has ever happened in Mideast history. None can predict its ending. Syria is hit especially badly. People have died, many have been hospitalized. Israel has taken several Syrians into the Northern hospitals for treatment. This air literally makes one retch… all my lovely plants in my garden have withered and died…
Please pray that if G-d has been using this dirt cloud to conceal us from those seeking to do evil to us, it will come to light, and all people will see. For G-d to have mercy on the refugees in Syria and Iraq who have none of the comforts we have to protect them. Pray with me that the farmers’ lands will be able to recover from this, and that as we leave the Shmittah year, new crops will able to be planted in good soil.
Please join with me, whatever faith, in thanks to the Lord for the US leaders willing to fight the fight against the proliferation of evil and terrorism in our world by standing against the Presidential Agreement with Iran. May this further delay their ability to fund terror throughout the world. And we pray for the safety and swift release of the 5 US prisoners, and all those being held by the Iranian regime.
In Israel, six months after elections, a budget must be presented and voted in. The Knesset is due to vote in November on a budget which will set government spending for the next two years. According to Israeli law, if a budget is not agreed on then the nation automatically goes to new elections!!! With a government majority of only two seats, this gives much power to the different coalition parties. They can demand more money for their own ministries and interests with the threat of bringing down the government if they don’t get what they want. HaShem, give wisdom to Finance Minister Kahlon and to Netanyahu to see the budget through while bringing unity in the government.
With the weakening of the Assad regime in Syria, both Iran and Russia have been pouring in resources (anti-missile shields, attack planes, arms, troops) to prop up their major ally. Russia is now very close and is using a military airstrip not too far from us. For Iran, this is also a major key to maintain the land connection with Hezbollah, their proxy in Lebanon. For Israel, it is vital to prevent Iran from establishing a base on the Syrian part of the Golan Heights (31 miles from us – our house!!). Lord, G-d, give wisdom and alertness to all our forces, especially those guarding our borders. Provide the intelligence we need to know what our enemies are doing and planning. Give Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon keen, cool observation and wise judgement of how and when to act.
On this anniversary weekend of the Islamic terror attacks on the US on September 11, 2001, may G-d comfort those still mourning the memory of a loved one. Give alertness to US security in the coming days and weeks to prevent any further attacks. May the people of the United States unite as one under G-d to be the strong nation and defender of freedom that is its potential.
And lastly, I ask for a sweet New Year: a year of health, wisdom, joy, inspiration, courage to do the right thing, righteousness, protection from all evil, and above all else, may we have a year of peace. Shalom rav! Much peace, G-d. And may we be inscribed in the Book of Life for the coming year…. good weather wouldn’t be too bad either as long as You are listening ( and the ability to pass my Ulpan exams too….)? Thanks!