arah:

Sunday, 11 Tammuz 5775

I’ve been officially unemployed ever since I was injured. I thought I might start taking on sewing jobs, but I still don’t have enough range of movement in my arm. I’m not sure if that arm will ever be back to normal, and my physiotherapist isn’t sure, either.

In the meantime, I’ve been helping Itzik with his work. At least I can type. So I do a bit of typing for him when necessary, and sometimes I draw up tables of corrections. He likes to do his proofreading with a red pen, old-style, and the graphic artist can’t work with that, so I sit and type up a list of all the corrections: “P. 3, line 5. Delete yoret, insert yoter.” And so on. It’s tedious work, but I’m not working anyway, and he can use his time for more productive things.

This morning he had a problem getting the municipal tax account registered in the name of a tenant, and I volunteered to go to City Hall and take care of it. Itzik told me exactly which clerk to go to and what papers to hand over.

It’s a beautiful day, so I’m walking there. Only when I turn left onto Rechov Yafo does it dawn on me that I’m heading straight for the spot where they shot me.

Maybe I’d better take a detour. I could approach City Hall from Rechov Haneviim and avoid passing by that spot. But it would be therapeutic to revisit the spot — a corrective experience, I think they call it. I keep walking.

Then my phone rings. It’s one of Udel’s cousins again. Suddenly the tension is back.

“Sara’le,” says the cousin. This one’s name is Shoshi, and she’s called twice already since we came back from the Aravah. Every time she calls, she has some new ideas about what they should say to Udel and how they should say it, and I have to knock down one idea after the other, and she has to admit I’m right.

She and her sister can’t understand why I’m not jumping at the chance to help them in their holy endeavor to break up the Shawl Cult from within. I can’t get them to understand that if I’m happy with my life, I have no reason to want to break up other people’s cults. They say I’m being selfish.

“You managed to get out,” they say, “and it doesn’t matter to you that other women are suffering?”

“They’re not suffering,” I tell them. And the same tired argument begins again.

“So what should we tell her, then?” Shoshi asks me now. “How do we get her out of there?”

“Try loving her,” I say, suddenly inspired.

“Of course we love her! If we didn’t love her, we’d just leave her there in that cult, with all that nonsense in her head!”

“You’re so busy trying to get her out of there that you have no time left to love her,” I counter. I’m passing by Machane Yehudah. The train sways along beside me, ringing its bell. For the past few weeks there’s been nothing much in the news, aside from a couple of protests against the Natural Gas Framework. This week, there was only one small terror attack near Dolev.

“Right,” Itzik had laughed bitterly. “ ‘Only’ one person was killed. And ‘only’ a few stones were thrown at a school bus. When are people going to realize that we can’t go on living with this never-ending conflict?” (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 719)