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Candy: A bridge between two eras


* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])

What a week. A week of a new era which does not yet have a name..

In many places, the Simchat Torah holiday was interrupted. I learned that in hotels in Eilat and Jerusalem, there were many guests who lived in the communities surrounding Gaza, that area within seven miles of the Gaza Strip where the massacre occurred. Despite everything and albeit with tears in their eyes, they danced in a circle -- symbolic of the hakafot when Torah scrolls are carried around the bimah or raised platform in the center of the synagogue. On Kibbutz Sa'ad, also in the Gaza envelope, the few kibbutz members who did not leave danced one symbolic hakafah around the bimah with their Torah scrolls. None of the above hakafot went as planned. They were accompanied by tears, by prayers, and with thoughts of those who were absent.

From the field of battle, Avichai Michlis, called up for reserve duty, wrote that when he left his house last Shabbat morning, his wife Efrat stuck a bag of candy into his satchel; they did not have time to throw it at those dancing on Simchat Torah. "She gave it to me so that I would have something sweet," he wrote. "And so when things are getting tough and I don't want to get bitter, I take a candy and remember tossing it during the hakafot before hearing about the tragedy in the south. You should do this too. Toss good things at each other, taste some candy, make the bitter sweet."

Many of the experts I spoke with this week recommended holding little ceremonies like this one that serve as a bridge between the previous era and the one we have entered. We cannot lose the connection with all that was good and what is good even now. Everyone is invited to remember the candies they tossed on Simchat Torah -- or any other sweet memories from that day -- to keep some of them close by in these difficult times.

Shavua tov and may we hear only good news.


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