Seven years ago, today, I was newly returned to the United States from my rabbinical school Israel year. Watching the destruction of these towers -- towers where I worked for some 10 years of my life -- on a dorm lounge television screen in Los Angeles was a surreal and unspeakably painful experience for me. I felt so disconnected. I didn't understand why I was in Los Angeles. Why wasn't I there? In New York, my beloved city?
That feeling of disconnectedness stands in sharp contrast to the feelings of connectedness I have now . . . . now that I have finally been able to return to Israel after such a long time -- much longer than I would have imagined when I left here seven years ago.
One of the things I believed in the moments before that first tower fell was that the towers were indestructible. I knew, of course, that what was inside could be consumed by fire but -- in the wake of the buildings having survived that first bombing in 1993 -- I thought the steel frame could withstand anything short of a nuclear blast.
Jerusalem also gives a feeling of being indestructible. Especially, when you look out from a distance at some of the neighborhoods built on hilltops (like then ones you can look up to from around the mall). The state of Israel, as a whole, feels even more solid to me than it did seven years ago. It does not have the feeling of being a bold experiment, but of something solid and thriving.
But the World Trade Center reminds me of how tenuous even the most solid-feeling thing can be. . . . and of how important it is to be grateful for what we have while we have it.
May it be the will of the Blessed Holy One that all that is strong for you stays strong and that you should know safety and peace.
[X-posted to smamitayim]