From there we flew back to Israel. The sun was shining and Israeli music was playing. The plane we flew on was El Al, our own national airline. We got off the plane and alit to a bustling crowd of Jews running to get planes to all countries of the world. They were doctors, layers, financiers, high tech engineers; elderly and children, religious and not yet religious. Everybody was speaking Hebrew, our national language. A couple of guards at the door were Ethiopian Jews. My cab driver back to Jerusalem was a Russian Jew. It was great to be home.
I read a nice article in the OU publication “Torah Tidbits” by a resident of Beit El, Joel Rebibo. He talks about when Nadiv and Avihu were killed for bringing strange fire before Hashem. Aaron and his sons were told not to mourn but the Jewish people are told to weep and mourn. Between these two instructions there are 4 words: ועל כל העדה יקצף …and he became wrathful with the whole assembly… The Ohr Hachaim says it is because the people did not mourn and show appreciation for who Nadiv and Avihu were. The gemorrah says they were even greater than Moshe and Aaron. To say “how sad” when people like Nadiv and Avihu are taken from us and then go on with our lives is a Chilul Hashem. Similarly, to say “how nice” at the fact that Eretz Yisrael is for the first time in 2000 years under Jewish sovereignty, is to fail to appreciate that this is the land our Creator chose as his most precious prize, together with the Torah, to give to the Jewish people. While not everyone can merit living in Eretz Yisrael, everyone must be aware of what it has always meant to Am Yisrael, and a decision not to live here must be a conscious one that involves tremendous soul searching.
This past week there were two events that were very noteworthy. The first was a pigua at Binyanei HaUma where a bomb was set off killing 1 woman and injuring many, and the second was the first international marathon to be held in Jerusalem. The first event reminded us how important it is that we have our own state and how vigilant we must constantly be to maintain it. Far from being afraid to be here at times like these, I was proud to be amongst our people in a difficult “hour”. The second event showed the world how beautiful Jerusalem, Israel and the Jewish people are. 1000 runners from foreign countries ran up and down the hills of Jerusalem along with thousands of Israelis. People clapped and cheered and shouted “Am Yisrael Chai” as they ran through the streets. The entire center of the city was closed to vehicular traffic and colored flags and water stations were everywhere. Along the route the runners could view the many wonderful sights in the city such as the walls of the Old City, ancient Yafo street, the Great Synagogue and many others. It symbolized to me the youth, the vigor, the openness and our love of life. To have such a magnificent event only two days after the bombing was a credit to the indomitable Jewish spirit.