Saturday, October 1, 2005

#144 The Last Week of the Year

Musings #144
September 30-October 1, 2005
The 26-28th of Ellul

The Last Week of The Year

We just came back from a wedding; it was very joyful. The bride and groom have been married for about eighteen years. Yes, the new couple is the same couple, but they’re not the same people. Have I lost you?

One of the guests at the wedding had just been released from jail two and a half days before. She has been demanding Jewish justice and was arrested for protesting against Disengagement. We asked her about restrictions, and she told us that she can’t go into closed military zones or illegal demonstrations. “So that shouldn’t be a problem now,” we said. “What?” she asked “Haven’t you heard what’s going on, what the government is doing? They’re destroying more Jewish communities.”

Friday night was a “Shalom Zachor,” the traditional celebration the first Friday night of a Jewish boy’s life, before his Brit Milah, circumcision. The Brit, G-d willing, will be on the first day of Rosh Hashannah. There’s no debate about where it should be, since both sets of grandparents and the young parents all live in Shiloh.

Shabbat afternoon, at our weekly “women’s shiur,” Moshe Keinan, father of
Avihu, HaYa"D, gave a Torah lesson about the Jewish Laws of war. Ever since Avihu was killed in a badly planned army action, Moshe has been lobbying to change government policy. The army must destroy the enemy and not endanger our soldiers, our sons, in a miss-guided attempt to be “moral.”

Yes, all this and more are simultaneously going on here in Shiloh. As one year ends and another begins, we’re torn between the good and the bad, the joyous and the sad and tragic.
The newly married couple finished their conversion last week, and now as Jews, they married. Converts are considered new people, so even though they have been together for eighteen years, they are now newly weds. The wedding, in Jerusalem, was attended by the people they befriended, who helped them, soon after arriving in Israel and their Shiloh neighbors, where they now live.

Some people think of Judaism and marriage as so restrictive, but there are people who do everything to convert and to marry. They see the beauty in Jewish life, part of a Jewish family.

The young teenage girl recently released from jail told me that she was willing to stay in jail longer, but the rabbis convinced her to agree to be released. She’s not afraid of prison, not that it was pleasant. Nobody can control her mind, so she’s free. I understand that, and her parents do, too. She epitomizes the Jewish soldier, according to the Ramban, a
Jewish scholar, who lived eight hundred years ago, according to what Moshe Keinan told us today.

A Jewish soldier should be brave and confident, and these characteristics will save him from harm. This reminded me so much of the Jewish communities in Gush Katif, which suffered massive daily missile bombardments. But miraculously there was very little damage and, if I’m not mistaken, only one death was directly attributed to those attacks.

Moshe told us a story of what happened to him in one of the wars he fought as an Israeli soldier. He was being attacked; he turned left, and the bullets followed him, so he turned right, and the shooting did the same. Every which way he went, he felt the enemy was aiming at him. Finally, he decided not to run and prepared to die. He said the “Shema Yisrael” prayer, traditionally said when one is sure he’s being killed or dying. Suddenly it was quiet. The shooting stopped.

Avihu always told his father’s story to his soldiers, and they would say
Shema Yisrael before going out on a mission. Two years ago we prepared for Rosh Hashannah by mourning Avihu. His death was unexpected and hit us hard.

This year, G-d willing, we won’t have such horrendous surprises. G-d willing, this year, in addition to the usual cooking and cleaning, we’ll be preparing for the brit of the first-born son of two kids who grew up in the same neighborhood, next door neighbors.

G-d willing, this year the Disengagement victims will find new homes and some healing of their terrible wounds and pain.

G-d willing, this year those who initiated and supported Disengagement will understand how terribly they sinned and will begin the process of “tshuva,” repentance.

G-d willing, this year, we’ll be able to have a true Jewish and just government, so wonderful idealistic kids like my neighbor can devote herself to ordinary occupations, like school and not feel the responsibility to save our Land.

And G-d willing, may there finally be “Geula Shleimah B’mhairah B’Yameinu!” Full Redemption, Speedily in Our Days!”

Gmar Chatima Tovah,

May G-d Accept Our Prayers,

Batya Medad, Shiloh
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Esther said...

Those were wonderful hopes for the New Year. I second them.

Batya said...


We have to work and pray harder.

Robin Ticker said...


This is an unbelievable coincidence. Last week on Sunday August 25th there was a similar wedding in my shul Adas Yeshurun of Flatbush.

A couple, displaced from Katrina were married in my shul in Brooklyn. The groom was converted that morning by a Beis Din. The wedding was organized within a few days spontaneously.
It was a magnificent wedding. Flowers and sweet table were donated from the leftover of a lavish Simchat Habat for a little girl born with a severe cleft pallette. The delicious meal was paid by a spontaneous appeal on Motzei Shabbos for money for the wedding by some guy of Chai Lifeline. They had plentiful, delicous Kosher Chinese food from the newly opened resteraunt across the street. People came in droves from at least 3 shuls when they saw there was an open Chuppah taking place in the middle of Ave N. The music was donated by my neighbors teenage son who plays the keyboard well. The dancing was phenomenal where one knew that each person was being Mesameach Chasan and Kallah as they would their own family member being Mekayem the Mitzvah of Veahevtem es Hager. This couple had been living together married by a civil court for 13 years. The Bride and Groom were truly overwhelmed by the generosity and love that overflowed spontaneously. I was truly zocheh to witness and be a part of this simcha.

Much credit were to Rabbi and Rebbetzin Stone Rav of Adas Yeshurun. Actually, it was their daughter and son in law Rabbi Mendel and Malka Rivkin, Chabad Shlichim from New Orleans who asked them to take care of it. The Rivkins had come to Brooklyn for the week for another Chasunah with other evictees of New Orleans and then flew to CA for a Chabad telethon

Unknown said...

This post has been included in Haveil Havalim #39, hosted by SerandEz - take a few minutes and check what it says. Shana Tova!

Batya said...

Robin, what a wonderful story.
Ezzie, thanks for the great HH!