There has been a bit of a hiatus since my last letter. I was either busy staring out the window at the much needed rain our holy land received this winter or I was deep in contemplation marveling at how lucky I am to be amongst the “Light unto the Nations” despite the continued barrage of threats and anti-Semitism constantly spewing from the nations of the world - lead by the United Nations.
Having recently finished the holiday of Purim where the reading of the Megilla is a yearly reminder of the baseless hatred the Persians had for the Jews, we see daily that not much has changed, as Ahasverosh and Haman have merely been replaced by Khameini and Achmadinajad. Living in Israel you can feel the tension and can empathize with the feelings of the Jews over 2300 years ago in Shushan. If you think that by living in the Diaspora, everything has become a routine, religion is by rote, and our feelings have become inured by the passage of time, try living here. It brings you back to life.
Immediately after Purim we begin to prepare for Pesach and as it says in the Mishna Breura we begin to study the Halachot of Pesach 30 days prior to Pesach. Pesach brings us back to another country, this time Egypt. Over 3000 years ago we left Egypt after being enslaved and brutalized under the heel of the Egyptians. We fled Egypt and went through a purification process until we reached Eretz Canaan (now Israel). We now have a “New King” about to arise from the Muslim Brotherhood who did not know “Joseph” (Menachem Begin) and who wants to abrogate the peace treaty and befriend our enemy Hamas. The Pesach seder has deeper meaning in Israel because we recite the 10 plagues that took place in Egypt and we know that they are right next door and scheming of new ways to subjugate us.
While we recognize that although things change, they remain very much the same. We continue to enlighten the world and fight against evil. Our economy continues to prosper, we continue to create and invent things that benefit the whole world, we offer our help in many different areas including medicine, water sciences, solar energy, increased agricultural production and a host of other things; yet we constantly need to fight for our existence.
I was recently at an induction ceremony for new soldiers into the IDF. This was not the usual protocol when new soldiers are inducted into the army. This was for soldiers, who despite some sort of affliction, persisted in convincing the army that they could overcome their malady and help the IDF and the State of Israel. Each one proudly ran up, one at a time, to the presenting officers, and took a Tanach in their left hand and placed it over a rifle in their right hand and said אני נשבה (I swear) (to serve the State of Israel and to uphold the ideals and the morality of the Jewish people). These young adults who had every right to stay home and go to college or get a job, chose to be our warriors to spread the word of G-d in the world through their good deeds, their high ideals, and their commitment to the land of Israel and the Jewish People.