The Joy of Israel

I knew it’d be impossible to visit Israel without being reminded of the trudging in life. What happens when we are strangers to each other, noticing the dirt under our neighbors’ fingernails before the softness in their eyes. I was prepared for resentment and debates over God’s intention for his creation. And yet I hadn’t thought to prepare myself for the immense amount of joy of Israel. I found it in all kids of places. Boys racing through corridors, enjoying the freedom of play on a sunny and pure Shabbat. Wildflowers everywhere, purples and deep blues and yellows and pinks, sprinkled over hills and roadsides, stringing them in our hair. Warm people who opened their homes to us, bypassing acquaintance and settling on family. Sandcastles left on the beach in Tel Aviv, just because. How strange to have thought the air would hang heavier here, that sunsets would be smaller miracles. For each memory of misunderstanding, there’s another of beautiful, uncontrolled joy chasing behind it.

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