How Can I Explain my Love for Israel?

Even for a writer, there are sometimes no words for the incredibleness of this place.

Right now, I sit on a mountaintop with absolute perfect Shabbat silence outside my open window, the occasional bird squeaking and a distant dog barking. Last night, the sun set behind the mountain range here in the north of Israel, quite close to Lebanon, as teenage boys sang the prayers to usher in the Sabbath.

They stood in the street for there were no cars anywhere around, and welcomed the Sabbath bride. Women stood on the perimeter, which was for me the only damper on the beauty of the moment. I love this tradition of my ancestors, and hate how the most fervent and most poetic of the observers have evolved it into a women on the sidelines kind of religion.

Where can I find such holiness in a day? Even if you observe outside of Israel, it isn’t the same. There is a holiness to the land that contains it in the dirt and rocks and in the sunshine and in the air.

The air here…magical. Fresh. Clean. Brilliant. Sweet.

Even in the extreme heat of an Israeli summer, I cannot imagine wanting to be anywhere else.

But I digress. Now is fall and the perfect time to be here. Not too hot, not too cold, the crisp night a single perfect kiss on every lip.

We met a man, an artist, David Friedman, originally from Denver, here in Tsfat for the past 35 years, making art about the Kabbalah. And in his explanations I saw the chakras. The unity in the meaning. The universality.

Here, the buildings are made of stone and the tables are laden with the freshest fruits and vegetables and cheese and wine pressed from a vineyard just a few miles to the east. We are close to Lebanon and to Syria but here, we are infinitely safe.

When we left, everyone wished us a good trip and urged us to “be safe.” I say it every time someone questions the wisdom of traveling to this Land: I have never felt safer anywhere else, including my home of the United States.

I love this place. I love it deep within my soul. I can’t believe it took me seven years to come back. It won’t be that long before I return, mark my words.

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