Wednesday, 4 October 2017
171004 Succot and Las Vegas
4th October 2017
Chag Sameach, Moadim le Simcha.
Today I wanted to make you laugh, to tell you about the tap tap tap tap tap of frantic succah building, long into the night after Yom Kippur; I wanted to describe the beautiful decorations made by our grandchildren, in Israel, Britain and New York; I really wanted you to know that our pomegranate tree has loads of sweet juicy fruits this year but somehow my brain can't reach that happy place – not after the diabolical insanity that hit Las Vegas.
I have been trying to think of how to express my sorrow and distress at what happened in Las Vegas. The sheer magnitude of the horror and evil are beyond imagination and certainly beyond my understanding. Clearly my heart goes out to the city, the families and the people, but so much more.
One question keeps running through my mind - not why did he do it, perhaps we will never know - my question is - how, on G-ds good earth, did a man manage to buy, acquire and accumulate dozens of weapons. Not just weapons but automatic rifles adapted with "bump stock" to increase the speed of firing!!
There is a saying in the theatre -"If there is a gun in the first act then someone will die in the second"
Guns are death not freedom and nothing will convince me otherwise.
Natural disasters are natural – albeit horrific but other than taking cover or building strong homes there is nothing we could do to prevent the fatal destruction – guns are not natural…………..
If I hear one more person say that security checks are an insult to one's freedom I will shout! I do not live in a police state, as if having one's handbag checked outside public places and shopping malls is an insult to freedom. Honestly, grow up!!!! I can walk freely wherever I wish without fear, yet here in Israel where there is a relatively limited danger of attack, only soldiers and police have automatic weapons; no private individual is allowed more than one gun and in order to achieve that must go through psychological testing, training and have a clear police record.
Growing up in the UK where even the "Bobby" on the beat doesn't carry a gun it is anathema to me.
So you see, the horror of Las Vegas has taken over my brain.
We must not dwell too much because Sukkot is a joyous harvest celebration and people of all nations will be in Jerusalem for the Tabernacles Festival https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ8WLRNEDWg
I am about to go to see Rachel, Igal and the children and inspect their huge Succah – which grows exponentially each year!!! Saturday night is Igal's birthday (Happy birthday Igal) and all the big Rabbis of the Jerusalem area come to visit the Succah to pay their respects to the young man who does so much Chessed. Rachel has been cooking for days of course but each and every one of them will have a feast – and the children will be a big help.
Up and over Har Shmuel – Samuel's Mount – past Samuels Tomb carefully glancing right over the phenomenal panorama of Jerusalem all the way to the sea. Coming home the car will be redolent with the aroma of Rachel's freshly baked Challot which will adorn our table tonight. Zvi's bags are packed as he leaves tomorrow night for Mexico to see old friends from the Yiddische Schule where he spent his teenage years and to speak to various communities. He will also be in San Diego to speak so if you want to hear his mellifluous tones – check out where he will be.
I will not be home alone – I am going to check out Gideon, Stephanie, Sammy, Olivia and Zachary's Succah!! I will dance on Simchat torah with my beautiful grandchildren and I will meet the new family member for the first time – Maple the dog!!!
I wish you a safe and joyous Succot filled with delicious fruit and waving palm branches with willow and myrtle and the Citron (the Lulav and Etrog). May your Succah (Tabernacle) always be filled with friends and family
One song keeps running through my head – Pete Seeger's Where Have All the Flowers Gone https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pZa3KtkVpQ Not for Sukkot but for Las Vegas and every country that threatens another
To lift our spirits a beautiful Sukkot song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXx5Wp3GcSE
With love from glorious Jerusalem