Monday, July 21, 2014

"My Heart is in the East"

Three times I restarted this blog. It's amazing to me how long ago Israel seems already. Our younger kids left for camp today. Jesse is not yet home. Blog posts posed last week came from the holy land. It was only nine days ago that we arrived home, and yet it already seems too long. I find myself staring at pictures, craving the hummus and pickles we ate on our last day. 

Yehuda Halevi, a Spanish poet from the early 12th century, wrote these lines-

My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west-
How can I find savour in food? How shall it be sweet to me?
How shall I render my vows and my bonds, while yet Zion lies beneath the fetter of Edom, and I in Arab chains?
A light thing would it seem to me to leave all the good things of Spain-
Seeing how precious in mine eyes to behold the dust of the desolate sanctuary.

Though Israel is bombarded daily, the longing fills my chest. In my mind I am sitting on a bench looking out at the Judean Desert. Deer scamper in the brush, almost fully blending into the colors of the sand beneath. 

I hear a comment from my fellow watchers"Toronto sounds calm and safe."

"Yes," I reply, gesturing to the view, "but you miss this."