Tuesday, September 17, 2013

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A Woman’s Memory from the Yom Kippur WAR

© & by Rachel Wheeler at Mystical Paths

Rachel_Workshop 2012

For some time we’ve wanted to add a religious & chassidic Jewish woman’s voice to our blog.  After much cajoling, we’ve prevailed upon a professional lecturer to share her messages.

Rachel Wheeler is a Lecturer, Writer, Consultant and Workshop Facilitator in the areas of relationships and communication, working with thousands of people both in the private and corporate sectors, as well as seminaries and rabbinical organizations.

Thoughts After Yom Kippur

40 years ago on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement when many of us thought it's actually a religious day and has nothing to do with us the “non-religious” a young woman allowed herself to get on the bus from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv without a proper goodbye from her boyfriend and with the last argument being left in the air.

Both were serving in the Israeli army. He was an officer in a combat unit. In the news there were talks that the borders were heating up, but the heads of the country assured us that everything was fine and we believed them.

At half past two pm the next day, on Yom Kippur, it felt that the earth was shaking. The unthinkable happened, the Egyptians and Syrians really surprised us. With trembling hands the young woman called her boyfriend to make sure he knew that a war was going on, and actually to hear his voice before he disappeared into the war. That was before cell phones, before people fumbled every moment and communicated non-stop. He said he was about to leave the house, some of his soldiers are waiting for him downstairs to pick up to his unit, she mumbled: ”Take care” hung up the phone and was horrified, who knows when will be the next time they will talk (if at all…)

At that time (in the era before mobile phones and instant news) the only way people knew their dear ones were ok was if they did not got bad news from the army representatives…

Our woman was ”lucky” to have an access to the lists of injuries and fatalities in the army headquarters (she was serving in that department), every day she was checking the list with trembling hands, crying over the names that were there and joyous inside that her boyfriend was not at the list. But there was something bothering her and freaking her out. IT couldn’t be that G’d forbid something terrible would happen and their last conversation would be so cold and estranged. Their last conversation from Yom Kippur Eve , before she got on the bus from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

Until this day she does not remember what she told her officers. She knows she found herself on the plane on the way to Raphidim (the forward Israeli military position facing Egyptian forces at the Suez Canal). The plane was supposed to pick up girls and women who were serving in Raphidim and transport them to the north, to a safer place. There was available space and she succeeded to have a job on board this airplane that would allow her to have the last chance to go (as a woman) to the Sinai.

Looking back, she does not remember how she found her way in the turmoil that was in the big army base. (Raphidim was the biggest army base in Sinai and served as the hub for all Israeli forces). She remembers she managed to find her boyfriend’s unit in the last minutes before they were going down to the Suez front. Needless to say how surprised and happy he was.

She knew she was ready to fly halfway around the world to be able to say: ”I'm sorry, I'm sorry that I broke up with you in such a way, and that I care and I am waiting for you to come back safely”.

When the war was over and he came back he told her how meaningful this visit was for him.

Forty years later, this year, when the media reminded all of us in Israel of the Yom Kippur War, we are flooded with memories buried deep inside.  A few days ago while in the Yom Kippur prayer I was overcome with live memories of this young woman who insisted on repairing what was damaged. This woman was me, it seems as if it was in a previous lifetime.

Looking back now I know that I had Heavenly help.

During the years I learned to know that Yom Kippur is the day that the gates of heaven open and every Jewish soul can connect. Today, I know that the possibility of “fixing“ (Tikun) a spiritual low that was imprinted in the world.

Today in the middle of the Chazan’s repetition of the prayer about the forgiving G-d, I was thrown into the memories of the Yom Kippur war, and was thinking about this young woman making such an effort to “fix” and ask for forgiveness - and I thought of all the women and men - failing to fix a misunderstanding or miscommunication, and then there is no longer with whom, and I cried.

I thought of all the wars and pain of the human race and I cried.

Suddenly I had an insight how this incident actually influenced my life when ten years later I chose a path of supporting people to transform their life by way of communication.

Suddenly all that I was saying all these years on stage (in workshops, lectures…) or in private meetings was amplified ten thousand fold – “Please do not wait for wars to wake us up.  Do not wait for G-d forbid diseases or disasters – Do not wait for Yom Kippur, do it in real time, do not wait for tomorrow, even if it is difficult, uncomfortable or even if you are (in fact) very right. Apologize now, accept apology, start to communicate!  Mumble your words with true intention, express love and caring - Heaven will help to make this reconcilement happen.”

Wishing everybody Gmar Chatima Tova for a Good Year, good marriages and great relationships, and great friendships with real peace and much simcha!

copyright & by Rachel Wheeler – Lecturer, Writer, Consultant and Workshop Facilitator in the field of relationship and communication. Working with thousands of people both in the private and corporate sectors, including seminaries and rabbinical organizations.  She can be contacted here.

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