Riding in a Nesher sherut, I can hardly hold back tears. Despite missing my family, and worrying about my mother, especially, my heart aches at the thought that I am leaving Jerusalem in a couple of hours. I am grateful to be the first passenger in the vehicle thus getting a chance for the last ride through the streets quickly turning dark. I breathe in the air hoping for the last traces of lavender and rosemary growing everywhere in this amazing land.
A guy across from me doses off. I have no idea whether he lives here, how long and where he is going to, but all I can think is “How can you sleep? You are leaving this land!“ As if hearing my thoughts, he opens his eyes and stares at the road intently.
My mind drifts to my classes, weaving together the stories and names of the Talmud‘s rabbis whose names I saw every day just walking to my rented room. Some well known to me, some I’ve met only during class within the last three weeks. I feel that I can relate more to them now, after my initial fear of a non translated Talmud page subsided thanks to amazing Leah Rosenthal, as her colleague puts it “the best Talmud teacher in the world”. I don’t know, as I have very little possibility to compare, but Leah certainly is the best for me – clear, with her ability to map thoughts and personalities together with the history of the land that I love so much.
Jerusalem is amazing on so many levels. I am not even going to say anything about the Old City, everything has been said and still, everything remains untold.
The new Jerusalem like the old is ruled by the children of this land. They walk alone and in groups, very young and teens, going to camps, playing ball, jumping at the incredible outdoor sports centers. An American mother would be appalled at the prospect of her kids going anywhere alone until they are close to 12 years old. Here, the whole country is looking out for them. Parents that made Aliyah are having an interesting time adjusting.
Here, people that call themselves hiloni, non-religious, are wishing each other Shabbat Shalom on a Friday; here, the songs are full of the spirit of the land; here, the flowers bloom and the pomegranates ripen in every garden. Here…. I could go on and on.
This is it.
Just a few hours left
This land has a grip on me, holding me tight
I didn’t leave yet
And already I miss your air, your smell, your warmth, Your texts.
Let me walk it from end to end
From the green and the blue of the north
To the scorched pained cities of the south
Let me feel your joy and your pain
I will be back!
This is the land and The Torah I’ve been dreaming about for all my adult life. I am sure I will write more about Pardes, and the amazing experiences it allows me to have every time I come here. For now, I am just going to try to keep Jerusalem with me every day of my life until the next time G-d grants me permission to come.