Parashat Tazria-Metzora (Living in Exile)
This week I don't want to discuss the parasha, I'm sorry and I hope the parasha forgives me. I want to discuss the past ten days.
The past ten days are the first time since shnat when I've missed Israel. Of course, I've missed Israel before, for the first two weeks here I walked around like a fish out of water, wondering where all these straight lines came from, why everyone was following so many rules, and why I couldn't eat anything I wanted any more. Those feelings never left me, but that was just me missing superficial elements of my holiday destination. But the past ten days, I really missed Israel.
The days from Yom Hashoa to Yom Hazikaron are known as the Aseret Yemei Tkuma - עשרת ימי תקומה. As a nation, the people of Israel navigate a harrowing emotional timeline, mourning for those we lost in the past during Yom Hashoa, mourning those we lost in recent history and continue to lose during Yom Hazikaron and ultimately celebrating the gift of the state of Israel during Yom Haatzmaut. Last year I experienced the unity as the large majority of the nation experiences these emotions as one. No one was worrying about uni assignments or midsemester tests.
But this year I was. This year, while my country mourned its lost soldiers I missed my communal tekes to study for a biology exam. On Yom Haatzmaut, after spending the night driving around Carlyle street with 'Static and Ben El' blasting out the windows (which garnered some strange looks from construction workers) I went to uni, to learn about the thalamic region of the spine (don't ask me what it is, because I don't know). I spent my day discussing how 'stressful' all these assignments are with people who don't know the difference between the Israeli flag and the North Melbourne football team flag.
This is not to say that the Melbourne Jewish Community didn't honour the Aseret Yemei Tkuma, but no amount of tekesim, carnivals at racecourses or flash mobs at fed square, can replicate the full-time emotional journey of these days in Israel. This is not to say that I am not thankful for my free(ish) tertiary education in Australia, but during these days I truly understood the word 'galus'
'Galus', that chasideshe word for exile. These past few weeks I felt what it meant to be exiled from where one is meant to be.
I put myself at your mercy for being so unapologetically zionist #sorrynotsorry