Perashat VaethananFriday, July 31, 2015
Nahamu: Memoirs of a Comforting Trip
Israel is the only place in the world where the Bible comes alive. As I wrote in last week’s newsletter, I indeed commemorated Tish’a BeAb at the Kotel - the Western Wall together with thousands of other Jews and non-Jews alike. It was a very moving and paradoxical experience at the same time. Rabbis, Government officials, soldiers, students, old and young, men, women and children, Jews and non-Jews, were present as we all marked 1947 years of the destruction of the Temple and the exile of our People from the Land. And yet, Jerusalem is under Jewish sovereignty, the Wall is beautifully illuminated, we are free to enter and exit the area; and those 1947 years passed in front of all of us there, as a ‘blink of an eye’.
After the prayers, we attended a lecture in the old David Citadel Structure, believed to be one of Herod’s Palaces, examining present Israeli society; what divides it and what unites it. There were many issues brought to light that divide Israeli and Jewish society, that would certainly explain why it is that the Holy Temple has not been rebuilt. However, there were many more issues that unite it, in which we found much consolation. This Shabbat VaEthanan known as Shabbat Nahamu - the Shabbat of Consolation, named after the Haphtarat Nahamu, where the A-mighty calls upon the People of Israel to be consoled despite the destruction, since the Redemption is on its way: “Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her time [of exile] has been fulfilled, that her inequities have been forgiven...O herald unto Zion; raise your voice powerfully, O herald unto Jerusalem, say it to the cities of Judea, behold your G-d is here ...”
That feeling of redemption can only be felt in those cities of Judea. The next day we traveled to Hebron - Kiryat Arba, the city where Adam & Eve, Abraham & Sarah, Isaac & Rebecca and Jacob & Leah are buried. The city is flourishing so beautifully with a growing Jewish community with all what a community needs; synagogues, schools and community centers. Indeed, Hebron - Kiryat Arba was set-aside as a city of refuge by Joshua after the conquest of the Land of Israel, as Moses set aside three other cities east of the Jordan River as recorded in this week’s Perashat VaEthanan. But, as it is seen with my own eyes, Hebron - Kiryat Arba is no city of refuge; it a thriving beautiful city.
As I return to New York, bringing with me a small amount of the holiness of Israel, that I was able to breathe and feel while I was there, I pray that our
Nahamu - Consolation is not far away. With all the looming dangers upon Israel and the Jewish People, from its enemies in the north and in the south, from a threatened nuclear Holocaust planned by our enemies and abetted by our, so called, friends and allies, still I believe our Nahamu is on its way; sooner rather than later. May we merit to witness it in our time and with our own eyes, Amen.
Jan 19 2022
Shebat 17 5782