An Ode To The Brave

Yesterday, I woke up to some really terrible, gut-punching news.

Throughout the day I watched as people raised their voices, shared their thoughts, joined in mourning.
I felt this weird pressure to be a part of it, to share my feelings and thoughts about what occurred.
I didn’t.
I couldn’t.
I had nothing to say.
When the photos, names and ages were released, I was numb to what it meant.
These kids were born at the same time I was.
They grew up in the same world I did.
Their life ended yesterday.
Mine didn’t.
Mine didn’t, and I’m not even doing anything with it.
I wake up, I go to sleep.
I write words like these, words, just…words.
I allow people to tell me that I inspire them, I allow people to praise my bravery.
What does that even mean?
How am I brave? I am not brave.
I hide. I hide behind words and they do a wonderful job of covering for my cowardice.
The other day I was walking down the street and made eye contact with someone across the road, and she called out “loved your article! You’re so brave!”
I smiled.
I smiled until I got to my destination.
I am not brave.
Brave? Brave is thinking about someone else rather than yourself.
The word brave has been twisted and misconstrued in this world that we live in.
Brave does not mean hurting those around you at the expense of your happiness.
Bravery is being there for others at the expense of yourself. Bravery is when the danger is directed at you, for the sake of others. Bravery is when despite the consequences for yourself, you do something for the sake of the greater good.
You become a soldier in the IDF, even though you may not come home.
Bravery is not when I write articles about personal subjects, especially when I know someone will be commenting “love this.
You’re so brave.”
Over the past 24 hours, I felt like words were a trap, a trap made to let us feel like we were doing something.
Words are not brave.
Action is.
Words are not useless, and they don’t have to be empty. But when actions ends at words, that’s cowardice, not bravery.
If I didn’t receive response to my writing, would I still share it?
I’m afraid of that answer. For I am not brave.
Yesterday, the world turned on their TV’s and watched the Golden Globes. Just a few hours after four IDF soldiers were senselessly, needlessly, horrifyingly killed by a terrorist, celebrities dressed up in their finest and showed up to an event that celebrated them. The heroes of the day became those who star in movies, write songs, and produce entertainment.
I’m not saying that art is not valuable. I love art. Movies can be brilliant and important messages for our time, an incredibly powerful way to reach a wide audience.
But are they our heroes?
Are they who we want to motivate our children to emulate?
Dresses and tuxedos?
Why is fame and fortune the end-goal, the very real dream of so many children?
Where have we gone wrong? How did we get to this place, that who wore what at the Golden Globes is a bigger, more important topic than the four soldiers who were killed?
Those who gave up their lives yesterday, they were brave.
I don’t envy them.
I just hope, and I just wish that in their memory, in their merit, I can have a little part of them in me.
I hope that I can be a little more brave.
Today, I did something that scared me.
Because I didn’t want to just write words again. I didn’t want my words to be the end. So I did, and then I wrote.
Tomorrow, I will do again.
The day after, and the day after, as long as G-d allows me life, because yesterday, four of my heroes were not allowed to wake up again.
And so, as long as I continue to wake up, I will wake up for them.
I will use a part of my day for them.
To try something new.
To do something that I have always been afraid of.
Because that is the only way I know how to be brave.
May the souls of Yael Yekutiel, (20), Shir Hajaj, (22), Shira Tzur, (20), and Erez Orbach, (20) have seats right beside G-ds throne, and may their memory live on forever, through the ones who remain behind.

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