The Jagged Vase

We at Achdut HaLev & Hadar Yehudit take great pleasure in welcoming a patriotic and loving Jew Batsheva Vanismach to our team as a guest contributor. We are sure you will agree she deserves the title of patriot and loving Jew after you read her heartfelt account of what happened to her this week.

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(12/05/22) 26th of the Omer 5782, 11th Iyar

I am hesitant to wipe up the blood stains on the bathroom floor and on my bedroom tiles where they stand out like teardrops on a faded gravestone. 

It happened yesterday in the shower, a stained green glass vase with a jagged edge came tumbling down when I reached for the towel by its side. It felt like I could almost catch the thing, which I had saved although it was broken because I loved the unique crooked shape of it and had decided that it could still look pretty there on the shelf. But it came tumbling down and, on its way, managed to cut through my pinky finger.

The pain made me know it was deep and close to the bone. The blood and pain jarred my thoughts out of their free-floating morning trance that they were in. 

A day later I am here at my keyboard with an uncomfortable bandage on my finger feeling like I needed this accident to happen:

Our country is a crooked shaped vase with jagged, borderless edges.

Insane governments hold on to the idea that it can still look pretty there, that way on the map. This months’ widows and orphans should have been jarring our people awake. But I still thought I had time to take a leisurely shower before work, and get wrapped up in my luxurious towel with free floating fanciful thoughts in my head.

I feel the jagged border in my northern Israeli home when we pass through the Israeli Pdeh Poriah (Hebrew for “Redeem the Fertile”) hospital entrance and are given a mask by an Arab security guard. My name is called out in an Arabic accent, and I am seen by an Arab male nurse. Arabs of all ages are waiting to be treated as well. We allow an elderly Arab couple to get ahead, then a crying Arab boy with a broken arm.

I am lying on the emergency room bed being very painfully injected in order to get numb. Then my bloody pinky gets stitched by the Arab doctor with my husband looking on, his face, in a concerned grimace. I feel sorry for putting him through this on his birthday! Another Arab staff member comes in. He is unrelated to the process; he is he callously asking in Arabic about the toranut (shifts). The doctor cannot look up, but converses with him anyway.

The absurdity of the situation hits me: two young Arab men are standing over my gory, bloodied finger speaking in Arabic. In another setting I could be a victim of their violence- and that is how I feel.

Am I wrong? 

My pinky finger will be wrapped for 2 weeks until the stitches need to be taken out. I vow that the scar should remind me of the orphans and not of my personal pain. 

On Pesach I will use that pinky to take out the drops of red wine. One for each of the 10 plagues. They say they signify our empathy for the Egyptians who suffered from them. I disagree, for me they are the drops of blood and pain of my fellow Jews in every generation who suffer because of the enemy’s cruelty which bring the plagues on. Am I wrong?

So when I came home from the hospital, I did not clean up the blood stains on the floors, on the towel, nor the lone drip of blood on the bathroom wall. They are still there.

Let me see my blood, and let it mix in my mind with the blood of my Jewish brothers that has been spilled without end. Let me linger there and get a tiny pinky’s glimpse of what the orphans saw when their fathers were shot and axed to death before their innocent little eyes this month. It is a painful stab in the heart knowing that next year, the government will have the nerve to commemorate their parents on Memorial Day. 

Am I wrong?

Bat-Sheva Venismach

  • Batsheva, from all the team at Achdut HaLev & Hadar Yehudit, congratulations on a thought-provoking article.
    Its hoped there will be many more to follow.

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