It’s Four Months Since 10/7 And I’m a Better Jew Because of It

We are not supposed to ask to be tested according to Jewish tradition. We learn this from King David who erred by asking for a test. It’s uncomfortable to see good coming out of unimaginable evil, but it seems to be how God created our world. We didn’t ask for October 7 – we’d give it back, if we could. And also, the Jewish people have grown from it.

There is more unity, more pride, more awareness in our community as Jews than I’ve ever experienced in my lifetime. For me personally, I have spiritually grown from the experience and can say that I am unequivocally a better Jew because of it.

I have struggled to pray in the mornings since I became pregnant with my first child – who’s now twenty! Praying when I woke up was a routine I got into when I became observant in my teens. But then when morning sickness hit during my first pregnancy, I’d have crackers in my bed and start munching on them as soon as I woke up, so as not to vomit.

Before this disruption, I didn’t eat before I davened. Everything was set and orderly for how my morning worked. That is, until pregnancy and a baby and then pregnancy and a baby and so on and so forth – disrupted that. And now for the two decades since, I have tried numerous times, usually leading up to the Days of Awe, to get myself back on track. All of my attempts were well-intentioned and also short-lived. I eventually always regressed back to my worst habits.

But after October 7, there was a sense of urgency. The hostages, the wounded, soldiers in harms way, displaced families, psychological scars. My people needed me and whatever spiritual merit I could create through my prayers, through self-growth, and other forms of work I’ve done on myself since that horrific day – how could I not?

To be clear, I did not become a tzedekes (full righteous person) overnight. I still have plenty of work ahead and extreme, quick changes do not last. But when I see a story of how a bullet missed a soldier or an anecdote of a miracle seemingly occurring, I feel part of the good news. I am working hard for my fellow Jews. We are taught kol Yisrael arevim zeh b’ah zeh – every Jew is responsible for one another. This includes the worldly responsibilities, like making sure our brethren are fed and housed. But it includes spiritual duty as well.

I’m sure many readers here are also better Jews today than you were four months ago. And so here’s my message to you and me:

Don’t stop. They need us. We need us. Jews who are ignited and united made miracles happen in the past and our people need more of them. Our people need an end to this painful and shocking exile. Our people need redemption. We have the potential to be the generation who merits to see it. We have the potential to be the generation who brings it.

All we need to do is not back down from the growth we’ve made and keep inching forward. And then those who sow in tears will reap in joy.

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  • Avatar photo carol says on February 8, 2024

    Thanks for that article!
    I’m sitting here nodding my head to everything, and thanking you especially for that last paragraph of chizuk- we need to keep it up as we inch along. Our commitments to being better Jews aren’t like so many New Year’s resolutions to work out- we really see results daily and we need to focus on all the good that we have seen since Oct. 7th.

  • Avatar photo Pam Machefsky says on February 9, 2024

    Thank you for sharing your personal response to the war– responses which many of us share. And you are so right about the achdut here! In fourteen years here, through several defensive operations, I have not experienced such unity in our Jewish family! .Stay well — בשורות טובות ❣️


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