I have been following the events in Israel for the last 2 weeks with interest and trepidation, knowing full well the dates we are approaching. Hezbollah’s entry into the fray and Israel’s decisive reply in Beirut, only serve to heighten my fear of the future in the Middle East. Today is the 17th of Tammuz in the Jewish calendar, a day that signals the start of a 3-week period of introspection which ends in the saddest day of our year, the 9th of Av. It was on the 17 of Tammuz that the people of Israel worshipped the Golden Calf and Moses broke the first set of Tablets of the Law; it was on this day that the First Temple ceased its daily worship services, signaling the beginning of its end; and it was on this day that, in Roman times, the walls of Jerusalem were breached by Titus’ forces, concluding with the destruction of the Second Temple on the 9th of Av. Now, on this 17th of Tammuz, 5766, the spectre of war looms menacingly over Israel, and I fear what the next three weeks can bring, especially what may happen on the 9th of Av. Last year the 9th of Av marked the last day of Jewish settlers in Gaza; the expulsions began early on the 10th. I truly am afraid of what may happen this year.
I have faith in G-d and know that all events are unfolding according to His will, but I am only human, and I fear even as I trust. I feel for the lives that have been lost so far, on both sides equally, though especially for my kinsmen and kinswomen in Israel. I hope that all leaders involved will have the presence of mind to act with restraint and intelligently to avoid a major conflict, that G-d will give them the wisdom to seek the welfare of the world and not selfish agendas.
I hope this is not the beginning of something we will all regret in the future. Though it already is.