Monday, August 07, 2006

Tisha B'Av in Tzfat

[moderator] catching up on recent postings

b"hOur friend, Moshe Biton, who owns a little store through which Lev U'Neshama gets its produce and staples to be delivered, was faced with a big decision yesterday, Thursday, afternoon. Throughout the morning there were no siren warnings. Yesterday was Tisha B'Av, (the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av). The day is treated as a day of mourning by the Jewish People as we recall the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem and many other calamities that have befallen our People throughout our history on that day. The readings always read on this day took on much more impact than when read during times of relative peace. Fasting (25 hours) is generally required on this day but during a time when rockets could explode at any time, it was a challenging day to the stamina of many in Tzfat, and elsewhere in this area, certainly. Moshe Biton said it was the first Tisha B'Av that he opened his store on Tisha B'Av in the afternoon to enable people to shop for produce so people could prepare on Friday for Shabbat (Friday Night/Saturday). Business was slow and he decided to go home. On the way he made a delivery near our house and Tzava waited on the sidewalk for him. As they greeted each other, the siren went off. His instinct urged him to get back into his little truck and flee; his intellect told him to run with Tzava for the shelter across from our house. As soon as they entered the shelter, the rockets exploded nearby. He made a good decision. Tzava got her produce and Moshe went home. At least 10 rockets hit Tzfat yesterday afternoon. Shrapnel from exploding rockets is extremely dangerous. We've seen some that landed in our area. It can injure someone severely; its like little discs and chunks with sharp edges all around. Chana, who also lives upstairs in our building, showed me the room where her husband had been napping in bed when a rocket exploded across the street from our house a few days ago. A piece of shrapnel whizzed through an open window, slit the screen, continued across the foot of the bed where Yaacov was, (past tense), sleeping, bashed into a closet door, took out a chunk of the door, burrowed into the closet shredding some clothes and landed in a suitcase where it gouged out a hole. No wonder she broke into tears that afternoon. Several time during that afternoon, Thursday, Tzfat got its share of siren warnings and exploding rockets. Smoke was in the air and there were several "hits." One rocket swooshed by our house and exploded nearby. Roxy had been eating her dinner when the siren wailed. Smart dog! She stopped eating, ran for the safe room and got under a chair that was pushed under the table. When it was "all clear," she returned to finish her dinner. What a trouper! Felicia, who lives on the western part of the city, told me today, Friday, that three rockets slammed into the mountainside yesterday afternoon, shaking the entire building. She lives in an area of a series of tall buildings perched on the side of one of Tzfat's mountains. Fires broke out but the fire department, valiant, overworked firemen with three very old, but effective vehicles, responded almost immediately. The area was filled with black, acrid smoke. No injuries, thank G-d. Many rockets have been aimed in that part of the city in attempts to hit the hospital. This was an announcement by the Hizbollah; they want to hit Israel's hospitals, schools and nursing homes and Tzfat has a regional hospital. Today, Friday, a neighbor upstairs, Anshel, answered a plea for help from a nearby Moshav. A male goat had to be transferred to another Moshav for several female goats who were impatiently waiting. I don't know why the male goat needed transportation, but Anshel, with his usual good humor, picked up the goat and got him into the back seat of his car so he (the goat) could make his appointment with the "ladies in waiting." Life goes on. Moshe Biton delivered food to some families today on behalf of Lev U'Neshama, just in time for Shabbat. LUN always delivers directly to recipient's doors. The City of Tzfat has been delivering food but instead of delivering it to shelters, they leave it on the sidewalks in front of buildings. Fights have broken out and things have gotten very ugly in some neighborhoods. Biton delivered for four families in one building this afternoon and our distributor who lives in the building and received the boxes, had to be protected by her grown son from many people who tried to grab the boxes from her. She said it was a very frightening situation. She relayed that there are many frightened people, especially the aged and ill, who have no one to rely on because they have no family members living here or neighbors who previously helped, have left. Lev U'Neshama is trying to locate aged, infirm and housebound, so food boxes can be delivered to them. There have been six siren warnings (to the point of this multi-interrupted writing), this afternoon, Friday, and the sound of distant explosions but at least we got the Shabbat table set and all of the food is cooked. You cook ahead of time in case there is no electricity and it's difficult to prepare things when you have to stop for siren warnings.We look forward to a peaceful Shabbat. We pray for Hashem's protection, for us and for all of Israel.


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