As notes have dropped in from friends in Israel during this week, there are few sentiments more poignant than the ones that, despite everything, draw reference to the excitement about settling into and taking comfort in Shabbat regimens.
At least one Shabbat table in Tel Aviv (a city that remains unjustly accused of being apathetic) will be a little more crowded as refugees join from Be’er Sheva. I imagine that all this means is that, in addition to a few extra dishes to wash and a few extra bottles of wine to drink, the songs and prayers that have made the Jewish people a nation will have the weight of more voices behind them.
This afternoon in Jerusalem, as households carried through with their familiar Friday scrambles, an unexpected noise rang throughout the city. While the episode fortunately bore no casualties, danger’s grasp had seemingly and immediately grown larger and altered the calculus of what’s expected to happen next.
Nevertheless, Israelis remain adept at making the best of these situations.
“I could have sworn it was the Shabbat bride making a hell of a racket,” one friend wrote of the sirens.
Families in Israel and elsewhere will have a lot to talk about this Shabbat. Given the week’s events, there is plenty to ponder. What can be accomplished? Will short-term military objectives imperil long-term aspirations? Will things get worse as it appears they might?