By Ari Abramowitzi & Jeremy Gimal - TheLandofIsrael.com - The Land of Israel Necklace - July 28, 2006
Shalom from Jerusalem. These days in Israel are some of the darkest we remember. Eight of our fellow soldiers were killed and countless more were maimed and wounded. That means eight funerals and eight families who would most likely prefer death to the nightmare that is now their lives. We are being barraged by missiles from Hamas and Hezbollah and by lies from the UN and the EU. It feels as if the world is against us and the country is losing morale. ; Personally, we have been told to remain accessible by phone at all times to join the war if need be. Over the last few days, we have received many e-mails inquiring about our feelings, thoughts, and welfare and we have therefore decided to share them with all of you in this email.
Maimonides, one of our greatest philosopher sages, explained "At the time of war a man should not think of his wife, nor of his children, nor of his possessions, but he must free his heart of everything and set himself to battle. And more - he should think that the entire existence of Israel depends on him." There isn't one combat reservist in this country who has not thought that this war could be his end. When confronted with the possibility of losing ones life, introspection is inevitable. What am I losing my life for? Is it worth it?
Firstly, one must come to grips with what he believes is the purpose of life. Reflexively, most people insist that happiness is what it is all about, and proceed to dedicate their lives to achieving that end. Whichever route one takes however, sooner or later the conclusion is always the same - real happiness comes from real meaning. A life spent pursuing meaning is a life well lived.
The attainment of true love, all would attest, is among the most meaningful experiences one could ever achieve. Pirkei Avot, "Ethics of our fathers", provides valuable insight "Any love that is dependent on something - when the thing ceases, the love also ceases. But a love that is not dependent on anything never ceases." True Love means transcending the physical world of materialism and self-concern and giving of oneself without wanting, or expecting, anything in return.
For thousands of years the Jewish people have been praying three times a day "to Jerusalem, Your city, return us with mercy." In our happiest personal moments every Jew recites the poetry of King David at his wedding "If I forget thee, Oh Jerusalem, may my right arm lost its cunning. Let my tongue stick to my palate if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my greatest joy (Psalm 137)." It is for Jerusalem that we have prayed and for Israel that we have wept.
The reason for this undying love for Israel is because the only place that the Jewish people, as a nation, can transcend the physical and bring true peace and spirituality into the world is in this Land. Our Rabbi and greatest prophet, Moses, tells the Jews "Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments... that you should do in the midst of The Land which you go to possess." Our Torah and its commandments were given to us as the tools with which we are to use to fix the world, and only in the "midst" of the Land are we truly able to actualize their purpose.
Over five thousand Kassam Rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel in the past year. The residents have been living in fear and fleeing for their lives. Along with the Jews of Gush Katif, we have turned the Jews of southern Israel into refugees and ignored their plight. Now the Jews of the north are refugees as well. Fleeing their homes and hiding underground, they now feel the pain that their brothers have endured for the past year. The message to Israel is that we, The Je wish People, are immediate family. Deuteronomy 14:13, "It will be that if you hearken to My commandments that I command you today, to love Hashem, your G-d, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I shall provide rain, that you may gather in your grain, your wine, and your oil." When the Nation of Israel is deserving, Hashem will bless us, as a people, with rain. When we are not deserving, the drought will affect us all. There is no distinction between the righteous in the Land and the wicked. If we are not worthy as a nation we will all suffer as a nation.
Our Rabbi's explained "We are similar to a group of people in a boat. One suddenly began to knock a hole in the boat. Said the others to him: What are you doing? He answered: What concern is it of yours; am I not knocking the hole under my side? They replied: but the water will rise and sink the entire boat." Maimonides writes "It is a commandment to love each and every one of Israel as himself." The more we resist the reality of our unity and fight to keep standing the synthetic barriers that separate us, the more trials and tribulations G-d will place for us to help us grasp this truth.
We stand in Jerusalem and hear tonight that three reserve battalions are to be called up and we do not yet know if we are among them. If our phones do ring and we are summoned, we will not be afraid but grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to show our love for the Jews of the north and the south, of America and the world. Fighting for The Land of Israel, the homeland of the Jewish People, is the ultimate testament of love and is therefore the highest level of meaning and happiness we could ever desire.
To all of our brothers and sisters in Israel and around the world, it is time to unite. We must stand for what is right with courage and moral clarity. We must understand that true peace is not acquired by ignoring evil but rather by overcoming it. We must recognize that our fates are intertwined and our pain is shared. When we stand united no enemy can touch us.
Or chadash al tzion tair, v'nizke culanu bimhera l'oro. Baruch ata Hashem yotzer Ha'meorot.
May You shine a new light on Zion, and may we all speedily merit it's Light. Blessed are You, Hashem, Creator of all Light.