Tonight is my last night here in Jerusalem. I am returning to San Diego to celebrate the Pesach holiday with my family, and I will continue writing from there.
My heart is torn. On one hand, I am so thrilled to be able to be home, with my family, my friends, my community. Yet on the other hand, I will miss the Land so very much. How can I explain the feeling between my heart and these smooth, Jerusalem stones? How can I put into words the attachment of my soul, to this holy air?
I cannot. But I can quote the saintly Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook, as he writes, when he left Israel:
“Even though I wander in exile, even though I am afflicted with many pains, spiritual and physical, in any case, the mercy of Hashem will not leave me. And I must rise to the greatness of the higher freedom, as it was with me when I was in the Holy Land. And from the dew of the Land of Life, our mighty Rock will nourish me blessing, and will strengthen me all throughout the suffering of my exile. Until He will redeem me, with the redeemed ones of His Nation, and will return me to His Holy Land, to serve in front of Him in purity, with a straight heart, with humility, with fear, with might, with love – and will straighten in front of Him my ways, to redeem me from the yoke of man, to fix all the blemishes, and return my captive.”
And all I can say, as I prepare to leave my true home…are the same words Rav Kook did: “The air of the Land of Israel goes with me, thank G-d, even in my exile.”
I will return to you Israel. Whether alone, or with the rest of your Children, my readers. But I will return.