Thursday, March 19, 2009

P.S. - Post (Trip) Script

With Purim and Shushan Purim over and done, and lacking several hours of sleep, Continental flight 85 left Ben Gurion Airport right on time last Wednesday. At 10:20am, we blew down the runway and into the air we went.

Unlike the outbound flight that brought me back to Eretz Yisrael two weeks before, the flight back to Newark was relatively empty, and very quiet. The energy that engulfed every millimeter of space while on our way to The Holy Land was now spent and thoughts of returning "Artza" were on all minds as we together spent the next thirteen and a half hours pushing headwinds toward New York City.
The food was good. The movies and television shows, abundant on individual TV screens that jettisoned from armrests, and sleep--- After two full days of Purim in Israel, sleep came easily.

What did not come easily, though, was the ability to discard the feeling of loss. The longing to tell the flight crew that we had all made a mistake in boarding, and would they--- Could they, please turn back and drop us off?

It is not that I am unhappy to be back in the States. On the contrary. I am thrilled to be with my family; To tell them about the Angel that I encountered in Jerusalem; The Karaoke Singing Rabbinical Students; Hannah's Bat Mitzvah; Purim, and the list continues... The loss, or feeling of loss happens to us all when we leave Israel. The experience that we just lived cannot be replicated anywhere on earth, and we know it. And we know, that we will carry with us a certain emptiness until we return.
It is this emptiness that is bittersweet. Bitter in that we have left a place which truly is our home of homes, and at the same time sweet for the same reason.

I believe that Thomas Wolfe was wrong when he penned, "You can't go home again". You can. And airlines leave every day from a city near you.

I was going to stop here, but I cannot do that. There is much more to say.

You can go home again (see above). Not only can you, but you must. We must. We must not forget that we have a home.

Even as this tiny country, the size of New Jersey is surrounded by millions of hostile individuals on three sides and by the Mediterranean Sea on the fourth, we need remember that this is our home, and we are obligated to protect her and to return to her.

We are obligated to protect her borders and to protect her citizenry. As her borders are our borders and her citizenry is עם ישראל. The Nation of Israel. It is written that when G-d gave the Torah to Israel, All of Israel was present at Sinai. This means that you were there, and so was I.

Our obligation does not end by taking a trip and playing tourist. Our obligation does not end by buying an Israel Bond, or donating Tzedaka to JNF (these are nice things to do, but...) Our obligation does not end by saying לשנה הבאה בירושלים during the Pesach Seder; Our obligation simply, does not end. Period.
Our obligation does not end, because Israel's obligation to us, does not end. Nor will it end, ever. It cannot end, and nor can our obligation to her end, for in the names of the Six Million of our Brethren who perished at the hands of the Nazis some sixty years ago, and the unnamed Millions who, during the course of the last three thousand years gave their lives for the sake of G-d's name, our obligation remains solid and unanamous. And so it should.

The following prayer is recited daily in Israel. Let us make it part of our daily prayers as well.
תפילה לחיילים
מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְאִמּוֹתֵינוּ הוּא יבָרֵךְ אֶת חַיָּלֵי צְבָא הֲגַנָּה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, מְגִנֵּי אֶרֶץ קָדְשֵׁנוּ. הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִשְׁמֹר וְיַצִּיל אֶת חַיָּלֵינוּ וְחַיָּלוֹתֵינוּ מִכָּל צָרָה וְצוּקָה וּמִכָּל נֶגַע וּמַחֲלָה, וְיִשְׁלַח בְּרָכָה וְהַצְלָחָה בְּכָל מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵיהֶם, רְפוּאָה שְׁלֵמָה לְכָל חוֹלֵיהֶם וּפְצוּעֵיהֶם, וְיִפְדֶּה בִּמְהֵרָה אֶת שְׁבוּיֵיהֶם. וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן.

“May he who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, bless the soldiers of the Israel Defense forces and the security personnel who stand guard over our country and the cities of our God, from the Lebanese border to the Egyptian wilderness and from the Mediterranean Sea to the edges of the desert – or wherever they might be – on land, in the air or at sea.“May God cause our enemies who attack us to suffer defeat at the hands of our troops. May the Holy One, may He be blessed, shield and protect them from any adversity or anguish, any ordeal or suffering, and send blessing and success to everything they do. May He bring those who hate us under their sway, and glorify our forces with the crown of salvation and the mantle of victory, so that the verse: ‘The Lord your God marches with you to do battle for you against your enemies and to save you,’ will be fulfilled through them; and let us say, Amen.”

In addition, I thank you for including Gilad ben Aviva v'Noam Shalit in your prayers. He has been away from us for 999 days. May G-d return him to us in good health and good spirit.

From the Golah - The Diaspora, outside of our Home in Eretz Yisrael, I bid you good evening.

Ahavah u'Vrachot...

Love and blessings...


From the bottom of my heart, thank you to...

Erez B, Barry and Debby, Barry, Dave and Diane, Karen and Roni (double thanks), R'sCM, MB, RP, JR, BBM; of course HBS, Craig, Susan, Cindy and Andy, Gal, Guy, Mary, Alex and all my wonderful friends from HZ; Everyone from Herzl 75/76--- Miri, Roni, Liza - Mily and Amir (triple thanks - great food!) and others who wish to remain even more anonymous (MF); to Jay, Jill, Hannah and Eve, without you, it wouldn't have happened at all; and of course to my loving family- S, S, Z, D & T. Your love and support is a blessing in and of itself. Lest I forget, MLA and CWS, DLAOA and TBABAL. תודה רבה רבה.

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