A Silly Israeli Thing

It’s just after 6:00 in the morning. Our dog started barking and I woke moments before my alarm to see what was wrong. A cat walking too close to the house I thought. Suddenly, I realized there was a policeman outside and I started to open the door. It was still locked for the night and the door stuck in place. I called out “one moment” – and unhooked the latch and pulled again. Last person in had used the key – another delay.

It felt like forever for the key to release, the door to open. My heart was pounding. Where is everyone? I thought as I fought the locks that kept me from asking. Who? What? Like a check in my mind, I went through. The only one not home is Shmulik. He lives with his new wife downstairs. Has he left for the army this morning? I have no idea. Elie is home; Davidi returns today to school after the Passover break, but he is still home.

It’s funny that my mind didn’t think of my oldest daughter, of her husband. My mind didn’t get that far. Chaim was here for the weekend with his sister and her amazingly beautiful daughters. I dropped them back at Chaim’s apartment very late last night – they are probably still asleep. Shmulik?

I opened the door wondering in the split second all these thoughts tumbled through my mind, if my life was about to change. “Mizrachi family?” he asked.

“What?” I asked back.

“Mizrachi family?”

“No,” I answered, feeling myself begin to settle just a bit. “no, they moved more than a year ago.”

“Do you know where they live?”

Not mine. Nothing. My mind was beginning to think. This is one policeman – the army sends their own, and more than one. It can’t be that bad. If it was really bad – especially in a religious neighborhood, I have heard they even come with a rabbi. He was calm. Not serious.

I told the policeman the little that I knew of where they had moved to. Still in the neighborhood, I explained the apartment complex where they live now.

“It’s just that their car alarm has been sounding off all night. It’s in front of number 110” and he named the street.

“Yes,” I said – they moved there – to an apartment on the lowest level. Over a year ago.

“I’m sorry to have bothered you,” he answered. Wished me a good day, and left.

Life can change in a split second, never to return to what you know as normal. But not this time – a silly car alarm and instead of looking in the building in front of where it sounded, the police checked the registration.

“We haven’t changed the name on the front of the house,” I explained to the policeman.

“And they haven’t changed their address either,” he confirmed back. The registration led them to here. A simple mistake because the family didn’t go to the Interior Ministry to change their filing with the government. Nothing wrong; nothing serious.

My first prayer of this week, of this new day, is a word of thanks and a desperate request. When my life next changes, let the news not come from the police or the army.

That knock on the door – please God, never let me know it. Please never, ever. I’m not sure I’ve settled down. My brain is still saying to my heart – a car alarm, the Mizrachi family – not you, not that. Stop. Sometimes, my brain laughs at my heart for its silliness. Sometimes, it wants to groan in frustration, “you are SO dumb,” it will whisper in a voice that sounds much like one of my children, “you don’t have to worry about that.”

This time, my brain is not angry at my heart; it is simply so vastly relieved. This time, it is gently encouraging my heart to catch up.

A new sunrise of a new day, a new week, even a new calendar month – may God bless this day, this week, this month, this year, and this family…the one under this roof, the one whose car alarm sounded all night, the one who lives next door, in the next block, the next neighborhood, this city, the next one and the next – all over this country and this world.

May you never know the meaning of a knock on your door and strangers coming to give you bad news. May all the news we receive be only good – of births, of marriages (well, riches and winning lotteries is okay too).

Only good things!

4 Comments on A Silly Israeli Thing

  1. One of my most fervent prayers, for all of you – and us…

  2. Amen. This is in its way one of your most genius writings. (OMG. I now talk like my kids.) Many Israeli mothers and wives read this, I am sure, with a lump of recognition rising in their throats. I practiced for years before I made aliyah, as my Dearly Beloved was a career US Army soldier. Many of my gray hairs came from that waking nightmare. May we share knocks at the door of happiness, or silliness, or opportunity — but never THAT knock.

  3. It has been a long time. Though I havent commented in many months, I do check in often to catch up.

    I thought i’d share with you a post that your blog sort of inspired:

    I hope that you and your family are well. You’re all in my thoughts often.

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