Wednesday, May 19, 2004

…Strength to the Weary

Musings #46
April 25, 2004

Strength to the Weary

“Baruch Atah Adoshem, Elokeinu Melech HaOlam, Ha Noten L’Ayeif Ko’ach.” “Blessed be You Our G-d, Lord of the Universe, Who Gives Strength to the Weary.”

This morning, instead of my usual quick mumble, I found myself saying each word of the morning prayers out loud. When I heard myself say the words of this blessing, suddenly I was silent. For these words, I had been searching.

In Israel we don’t start our Independence Day celebrations out of the clear blue. The previous day is our Memorial Day for Soldiers and Victims of Arab Terror. The previous week we commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day. Television, radio, schools, youth movements and community centers program activities and events reminding us that our Independence does not come easily.

We, the Jewish People, have survived. We survived our ancient enemies, as told in the Bible. We survived the crusaders and the Inquisition. Just sixty years ago, six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis and their supporters. Less than sixty years ago our survivors were refused refuge by the “civilized” world led by the United States and Great Britain. After undergoing any of the persecutions we have suffered, other peoples would have just faded away, a footnote in history, ashes to be dispersed by the wind.

The survivors of the death camps, witnesses of indescribable horrors, skin, bones and sickly, married, had children and began new lives. Jews trekked by foot from Yemen and other mid-eastern countries to Eretz Yisrael. They braved all dangers to get here, leaving persecution, poverty and even mansions. Conditions were devastatingly poor in the early years of the state. Security, demographics, health, finances; according to all sound reasoning, there was no rational, logical way that the State of Israel could survive those first years. But it did.

G-d gives strength to the weary. “Hazor’im b’dimah, b’rina yiktzoru.”
“Those who sow in tears, will reap in joy.” (Tehillim, Psalms CXXVI, 5)

Chag HaAtzmaut Sameach

Batya Medad, Shiloh

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