Morty Harrison sat staring into the flames in his fireplace. It was three twenty seven in the morning and he couldn’t sleep. He didn’t want to wake up Isabelle his loving wife. Morty had kept her up almost every night. He had a restlessness that had become all consuming. He was not the kind of guy and never would be who self medicated.
His troubles had started out while watching the news. A report came out of Britain and it was about the upcoming elections. Jeremy Corbyn who was the leader of the Labour party had made it very clear that he hated Israel and was no fan of the Jewish community. Corbyn made no secret of the fact he embraced Terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas who expressed a desire to wipe Israel off the map. He had allowed antisemitism to flourish in the Labour party, which at one point had been the party of the Jewish people.
That morning Morty read an article in the Toronto Star about the strength of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement on University campuses. The BDS organizers and members intimidated Jewish students if they were proudly Jewish and pro-Israel. Jewish kids at York University in Toronto were afraid to wear their Jewish Stars or any religious garb for fear of attack. This was Canada, how could it have happened.
Some of the leading Democratic candidates running for the nomination to be the Democratic candidate in the US Presidential race had been loudly and proudly anti-Israel. It was hard to believe they could be so hateful. The majority of Jews in the United States had always been Democrats and now their own party was trying to alienate them.
Morty wondered if the news was acting as a trigger to bring back bad memories. He had a childhood that was far from normal. Was it possible that he was experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Morty could remember his Dad, Max crying out in the middle of the night. As a child he’d run into his parent’s bedroom, watching as his Mom tried to console his inconsolable Father. He’d then sprint down to the kitchen, get his Dad a glass of ice water and run it back up as fast as he could.
Morty would then sit in their room for a couple of hours and try and tell his Dad good things about school, even if he had to make them up. His Father always lightened up when he told him stories of his Bar Mitzvah class and things the other boys did to each other and the Rabbi. Finally when Max lied back down, Morty waited till his Dad seemed settled and went back to his room. He slept with one eye open fearing that his Dad would have another attack. Morty couldn’t remember when as a child he had enjoyed a full night’s sleep.
Mr. Harrison was a Holocaust survivor and had seen unspeakable evil. Once in a while when he tried to sleep, sickening images would materialize out of nowhere to cause him tremendous pain, even though the events were now long past.
Mr. Harrison’s Psychiatrist, Dr. Shrager told the family Max had something called ‘’Survivor’s Guilt.’’ There was no cure, he would live with it forever. The Doctor said Mr. Harrison needed to try and focus on his family and the positives in his life.
When Mr. Harrison was at his lumber yard and was busy making sure things were running well, he didn’t feel the pain of his past. It was when Max Harrison tried to sleep that the nightmares happened, making life more than difficult for him and the family.
In two thousand and nine at the age of eighty seven Max passed away. Morty felt a tremendous sense of loss, but he prayed daily that his Father would now be at peace.
Now Morty was the one not sleeping at night. He had shared with Isabelle the stories his Father he told him about the treatment the Jews had received in Germany when the Nazis took power, and now he was seeing signs of the same kind of unwarranted, unjustified, blind hate against the Jews and Israel.
Isabelle told Morty that he needed to turn himself off for a while. He had to stop reading and watching non-stop stories about antisemitism. Morty had to focus on positive things like his children and Grandchildren. It was easy to lose perspective and focus on the negative instead of seeing the good.
Morty left the fireplace and went back to bed and looked at his wife and crawled in beside her. He snuggled in. He was a lucky man to have such an amazing soulmate.
As he was starting to fall asleep he remembered the words of the Passover Haggadah. ‘’In every generation they rise up against us.’’ The Jews had survived and would continue to survive. Morty by carrying everything on his shoulders was just falling into the abyss and he needed to stop before he became completely overwhelmed.
That night feeling his wife’s breath on his face he resolved to start fresh the next day. Morty had loved and adored his Dad, but he didn’t want to become the person who had to be consoled every night. Instead he decided to live life to the fullest and embrace the beauty of the day. It was the Best and only revenge against the haters.