We were supposed to begin physically moving tomorrow. Now I am not sure what will happen and when. My oldest daughter and second son have tests tomorrow and Sunday, my third son has an “important” trip with camp, and this morning, Elie called me while I was on my way to a meeting to tell me that the army had ordered a drill.
“What sort of drill?” I asked, already dreading his answer.
“They want to see how fast we can move.”
“Tell them, really fast,” I tried to joke as my mind began to whirl with details and how I would accomplish this without Elie. Already Sunday, the army has told him that the commanders will be having a “fun” day with PaintBall. These days are important – they help solidify the connections they have, their working together as a unit. It is less conventional than standard training and thus, in many ways, as effective – coming from a different angle.
So Sunday, when we are to move – Elie won’t be here…as for tomorrow….well, Elie has been ordered to a central point, from which he will be collected with other commanders and moved to another point…from which, having assembled and proven they can reach a specific location within a specific period of time, Elie will be able to come back home. Better than we thought this morning, when he told me he was packing a backpack for three days, but still – on such a hot day when he was supposed to finish packing, it amounts to another day going in circles, accomplishing…I don’t know what.
“Do the other soldiers get called in too?” I asked Elie.
“No. They figure if the commanders can get here from all over the place, so can the soldiers.” Their part was “fictional.” They were called and had to respond to the call within a short period of time, but simply reporting back to their commanding officers counted as if they were able to show up.
Anticipated return trip for Elie is now close to midnight. It reminds me of years ago, when I was a teenager and spent a weekend with friends who were in the army. This was back in the late 1970s and there was trouble on the Syrian border. They called in the soldiers – got them up north, only to send them back home. By the time they arrived at the Kibbutz where I was staying, it was already the Sabbath. The boys came in dirty, tired and starving. The kibbutz people jumped up and brought them all food and drink and though we had finished our meal, no one left the room – somehow, everyone wanted them to feel relaxed and “normal.” It is a custom to sing at the Sabbath table. There are many beautiful songs and melodies.
At one point, someone began to sing “Yom Zeh L’Yisrael” – “This day is for Israel” and the newly returned soldiers laughed, stopped eating, and started singing and clapping to the song. That day had been for Israel.
Today, one son began a journey and another will travel for hours – yes, this day is for Israel.