I am sitting in a gorgeous old courtroom with intricate ceilings, waiting to convince the judge I’m not a great candidate for jury duy. I don’t really want to be here; who loves jury duty? I chickened out about wearing my “You Are Fake News” baseball cap that was going to be my surefire ticket home.
It’s a murder trial, and a few minutes ago, she asked all of us, “Please stand if you have strong feelings about the crime of murder.” Half the room, including myself and the very pregnant lady next to me, stood. (Why didn’t more stand?)
Today is Tu B’Shvat. The new year of the trees. Hashem cares so much about Life that he gave rules about when to cut trees – they get to live 3 years before they can be cut. Their cutting, unlike murder, serves a purpose, a benefit. Their wood warms us, their fruit feeds us. I’m pretty sure Hashem has strong feelings about murder if He cares that much about trees.
I’m feeling emotional, because I’m in a courtroom with a potential murderer and a shady defense attorney (no offense to nice defense attorneys), and of course I’m thinking about my son. I’m feeling angry at court systems and abusers and murderers and lack of justice. I’m feeling so thankful I’m not in a courtroom that has anything to do with my family, even though I’m grieving that our case was dropped.
Last night, when Tu B’svhat began, a Super Blue Blood Moon lit up the sky. That means three very cool facts about the moon happened to happen in one night. Super = the biggest full moon of the year. Blue = an extra full moon in a month (we already had one earlier in January). Blood = crazy science that makes the moon red.
The prophet Joel speaks for Hashem in Joel 3:3-4 saying, “And I will perform signs in the heavens and on the earth: Blood, fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall turn to darkness, and the moon to blood, prior to the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.”
What does this mean today? What does it mean that this extraordinary “natural” (supernatural) phenomenon is coinciding with a Jewish holiday about life and abundance? What does it mean that on this day I’m sitting in a courtroom that will determine the life of a person who possibly caused someone’s death?
My woo-woo sisters in Law of Attraction groups are saying that the Super Blue Blood Moon is a time for letting go, a time for revisiting your pains and and sins and toxic relationships and letting them go. A cleansing. A healing. I wrote a list of things I’m letting go of today. The abuse of my son was not on the list. Will I ever let that go?
The judge called me to her stand. “You indicated you have strong feelings about murder. Can you tell me about that?”
I choked on my tears before I could speak, and she passed me a tissue box. “My two-year-old was badly beaten, and he almost died. When you ask about the crime of murder, I think of him.”
“I’m not going to ask you any more questions,” she said, so I didn’t get to tell her my strong feelings about the City of Baltimore court system.
I cried to my seat, and cried in my seat.
My son was two years old when he was hurt. He wasn’t even old enough for a tree to be cut. Thank God, thank you GOD he is alive. It was a year and a half ago; my public tears shocked me a little. That event does not define us, and really many days pass where it doesn’t even come to mind. We are healing, I am healing, I have to trust. Today is another opportunity to release the trauma and the outcome to Hashem, and pray that the days it effects me will get fewer and further between until God willing I get to a place where it only comes up … once in a Super Blue Blood Moon.
That would have been a great poetic way to end, and it’s the way I meant to end; however, I’m still stuck in a jury room and I have more to say now. The judge released me from that case and sent me back to the pond to wait to be fished out for another. I wandered the halls of the courthouse trying to find my way back, and stopped dead in my tracks to see the “Victims Waiting Room.” I was there this past summer, waiting for justice for my son, and wrote another blog then (which I deleted but will undelete now).
Hashem is trying to get my attention today. There’s a message. There’s healing. It’s so right in front of my face, I can feel it.
I go back to Joel. What the heck is up with this Blue Blood moon anyway? I read about more prophetic signs in the heavens. “The sun and the moon have darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining.” Joel 4:15 says. “And the Lord shall roar from Zion, and from Jerusalem He shall give forth His voice, and the heavens and earth shall quake, and the Lord is a shelter to His people and a stronghold for the children of Israel.” (16)
Please stay with me as I type these holy verses. My comfort is coming. My message is coming. Maybe yours too. “And you shall know that I, the Lord your God, dwell in Zion, My holy mount, and Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall no longer pass through there. And it shall come to pass on that day that the mountains shall drip with wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the springs of Judah shall flow with water, and a spring shall emanate from the house of the Lord and water the valley of Shittim.” (17-18)
I wanted to stop there. With peace and love and Moshiach. But I can’t. That was comfort, but Hashem had more. “And Egypt shall become desolate, and Edom shall be a desert waste, because…” Because why? “Because of the violence done to the children of Judah, because they shed innocent blood in their land.” (19)
Hashem has been telling me, teaching me: I AM MERCY. But today, He is reassuring me that the justice will come. He does not look at the lost blood of his innocent children lightly. I knew this. But I like to see it in writing. In a courthouse. On an auspicious day.
Now back to the trees. Joel talks about the trees too, which I find really, well, prophetic. Almost eerily so. Did Joel know the blood moon would happen on Tu B’Shvat? This type of “coincidence” gives me nanu nanu feelings that make the Bible seem so objectively True and Divine. Here’s what he says about trees:
“Fear not, O beasts of the field, for the dwelling places of the wilderness have become covered with grass, for the trees have borne their fruit, the fig tree and the vine have given forth their strength… And the children of Zion…”
PAUSE – My son’s name literally means Son of Zion! The moon and the trees and my son and justice and Moshiach are all coming together in Joel today. I am amazed.
Continue: “And the children of Zion, rejoice and jubilate with the Lord your God… And you shall eat, eating and being sated, and you shall praise the Name of the Lord your God, Who has performed wonders with you, and My people shall never be ashamed. And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD, THERE IS NO OTHER; and My people shall never be ashamed.” Joel 2:22-23,26-27
Ein Od Milvado: Hashem He is God, there is no other. These Hebrew words have been my personal emuna (faith) battlecry through the hardest days of my life. Everything is from Hashem. He is the only force in the universe. The good, the “bad,” the easy, the difficult, all come from His goodness for us for our best.
Hashem loves us. That’s it. That’s the message. He’s a personal, loving, merciful Force. He runs the world with the Perfect balance of justice and kindness.
And to think, if I had skipped jury duty what I would have missed.