We who are the sons and daughters of Abrahma know how different our life is.
I have no problem with being amoung "the chosen people." We have been chosen to bring Torah to the world. We women light the Shabbat candles once a week, light that shines from Shabbat to Shabbat. And whether you believe in a real, personal Messiah (like we do) a Messianc Age, that he has come or will come, it is from the loins of the hebrew people he shall come.
It is an easy life. Everything in our lives, from clothing to food reminds us that we have the Name of the Creator upon us. That we are called to live a life that is shines like the menorah that once stood in the temple, shining forth a light that draws all men and women to G-d. I cover my head to keep my beauty for my husband alone. Mark the kippah becuase he is under the submission of G-d. How often Mark and I are seen as the "jews first" and then Mark and Laini.
This is true even in the army.
How often we hear, "how can you be jewish and in the army." "isn't Mark being in the army against Torah?"
I often find that wheen people hear the word “military”, they automatically think of cool umiforms, guns, jeeps, warships and bombs. They think of airports with men and women dressed in greens and blues heading for home or another deployment.
Or they think of the technology that continues to makes our military the superior force in the world, of what seems to be an never ending war in a land that is stuck in the Stone Age.
As Mrs. Major, I hear this all the time.
What I also often see is that people overlook, that undereath the cool umiform are real flesh and blood people who are leaving loved ones and praying that they return home safe. They forget there are family and friends praying for their loved ones far from the supper table. They forget that they want to be a force of change. That with the guns, tanks, jeeps and bombs, but also stuffed animals, clear water and building schools. That many carry with them into the warzone their faith That faith is one of the common threads that unites us not only as a nation, but remains one of our strongest military assets.
They forget that when these servicemen and women are off duty, many head for places set aside for worship. And for some, those place are also their sleeping quarters.
While all faiths are welcome in the armed services and many do, it is hard to practice one's faith in the mililarty. And for some of us, it is harder than others.
When you think of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines of faith, jewish isn't the first faith that comes to mind. During this time, our thoughts turn to getting Christmas gifts and cards to servicemen and women.
I remember taking Mark to the airport when his R&R was over last Feburay and an older gentleman stopped us to thank both of us for our service. Spotting Mark's kippah, he asked if it was hard to be jewish and in the army. Mark said sometimes, but he makes it work. He says he craves out the time he needs to pray, to study torah and keep Shabbat the best he can. Sometimes he is the only Jew in his unit and sometimes there are a few jewish soldiers.
The man nodden and noted that with Mark's size, few would mess with him.
Even from the birth of this nation, the jewish people have had a hand not only in the building of America, but also serving and protecting her.
We are commanded to be protectors of life. Not to sit back and allow others to attack us and not fight back. When our home, family the inoccent are threaten, Torah commands we stand up and protect ourselves, our loved ones, our homes. And therefor it is right and proper for those who chose to, to join the mililarty and service their nation.
But it ain't.
I hate that last week before he leaves, when I have to face seeing Mark's thick and lush beard shaved off. Packing extra Tzit Tzit and Shabbat candles.
If there are other jews in the unit, Mark shares Ere Shabbat and other holy days with them. If there are none, and most of the time there are not, he calls me, we light the candles together, and then he goes to his room to keep Shabbat the best he can.
It ain't easy, but its worth it. For while hard, it is a challenge that we chose to meet.
Just as we do in every area of our lives. Just as there are times when we are to past on a dish because it isn't kosher, Mark has to be just as picky when on post. Just as we take care of what we read, watch and the company we keep, so too, Mark has to do the same when deployed.
For in having to find created ways to practice our faith, it becomes something precious and more dear.
Hmmm, sounds like a jewish marriage.
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