Elie’s coming home….

He’s on the bus…they kept them until very late but finally put them on buses to come home. He’ll be tired…but he’ll be home. I’m so happy!

I don’t know what this means on a global scale – if we are less concerned about a Hezbollah reaction…if the feared reprisal has yet to come. For now, at this moment, I don’t care. He’s on a bus heading south. To get home faster, he’s taking the bus to Tel Aviv and then he’ll catch another to Jerusalem. I’ll probably meet him there and bring him home, or he’ll catch another bus. Either way, it’s a Shabbat when he’ll be home, when we’ll be together. His father will bless him tomorrow night.

Elie will do his laundry and share in the cooking. We’ll talk. The house will seem full of energy, as it often does. His middle brother is home as well, contemplating moving up his army service rather than remaining another year in yeshiva. Maybe he’ll talk to Elie. We don’t know what unit he will enter – I’m praying it is Artillery. Artillery is the family I know, the danger I understand.

My friend’s son is in Givati; another is a proud Golani. I’m terrified of those honorable units. If I was a basket case with a son in Artillery, I don’t know how I’d handle those others. The Artillery division has lost soldiers – we faced that reality only a few months into the army when they held their first ceremony at the Gunner’s House in the north – and on the walls near the open plaza where the soldiers stood – were the names, year by year, war by war, of Artillery’s fallen.

There isn’t a unit or division that hasn’t lost soldiers in our 61 years as a state, but I know the Artillery, I like the Artillery. Silly, I know and not yet time to contemplate it so I’ll wait. I’ll put that slowly churning burn to the side. Elie is home and I still haven’t gotten my fill of that concept.

Next week is a “sports” week for them – they’ll be doing physical training and exercise, a break before the real training begins. The following week – they have vacation again. Though they had a week off just two weeks ago, everything is still off course because of the war – delayed by more than a month on alert, at the war’s front.

This vacation week will be spent together as a unit – a gift from the army. Sometimes they take the boys to places that are not appropriate for religious men, and so the religious among them choose to go spend the weekend at home. Elie is still waiting to find out what they have planned and if he will participate or spend the weekend here and at his yeshiva.

Again my mind wanders to the future when I want to keep it solidly here in the present and so I’ll go cook, fold laundry, deal with a week’s worth of chores. Already I have filled the Shabbat candles with oil. I’ve started doing that almost immediately after the Sabbath ends Saturday night. It’s my way of beginning to prepare for the next Sabbath – all week long, through phones and laundry and schedules and homework, the candles ready to be lit are a reminder that a peaceful time is coming.

Someday, maybe the peace of the Sabbath that we force into our world will become a real part of our lives. For now, it’s only a dream, but Elie is home, the candles are ready and even now, the house is filling with the smells of the weekend – the soup on the stove, the chicken in the oven.

Shabbat shalom, Israel. May it come in peace and pass in peace, or even better – may its peace never leave us.

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