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Monday, October 24, 2005

#149 A "Chazuka"

Musings #149
October 24, 2005
Succot, The 21st of Tishrei

A “Chazuka”

There’s a tradition in Judaism that if you do something three times, it is forever. Yesterday was the third annual
Od Avihu Chai March from Shiloh to Jerusalem, and I must admit that it didn’t have the novelty and freshness that the two previous ones radiated.

Now that we’ve
marched, (OK, partially, since we were bussed a good portion of the way,) from Shiloh to Jerusalem three times, it is a tradition. Some people planned their day around it marching the first stage or meeting us in Jerusalem. There’s no need to insist on one hundred percent. There were about one hundred people, mostly from Shiloh, marching together at all times. A high percentage was kids, boys and girls, teenagers mostly, though an eight-year-old girl had no problem marching the entire route. The most difficult part was fitting everyone in the bus.

There’s such an irony, absurdity, personally a great feeling when we’re on that road, walking, all of us, men, women and children where others fear to go even in a bullet-proof vehicle. It’s not that we’re braver; it’s just that we feel safe, and we know that this Land is ours. That’s our security. Doubt is the danger. By using “Gematriya,” the numerical values of the Hebrew letters, the word “doubt” equals Amalek, the Jewish People’s traditional enemy. The lesson from this is that our greatest enemy is our “doubt,” our lack of unquestioned belief, pure faith. Without the confidence that we are Home and doing the right thing we are in danger.

By enabling the youth to walk joyfully on the road between Shiloh and Jerusalem we are ensuring our survival. As we went, passing cars honked in support, waving, thumbs up for us. It gave them a thrill, no less than ours just to see us. I was overjoyed to read that yesterday a few hundred others marched
to Sebastia, near Shechem and Jews returned to Chomesh, in the Northern Shomron, a community destroyed as part of the Disengagement.

Of course, the kids aren’t naïve, nor are they oblivious to the tragedy of Disengagement just over two months ago. As we were setting out after paying homage at Avihu’s grave, I noticed one of the kids putting the Israeli flags they usually march with against a large rock. At the moment I didn’t think about it, but later I realized that the only flags with us were the Shiloh flags. Yes, it seems like those Israeli flags had been left there on purpose. As Jews, as life-long residents of Shiloh they feel proud, but not as Israelis.

You can’t fool kids. They see things very clearly, in black and white, and the blue and white aren’t their colors right now. We marched in purple and orange. The purple was for Avihu’s Givati Brigade, and the orange was to show opposition to Disengagement.

After resting in Givat Asaf, our Jerusalem march resumed at the Hyatt Regency Hotel where some of the Disengagement homeless evacuees, are housed. We entered the succah as they ate their lunch. I’m glad that I wasn’t asked to be one of the speakers. I have no idea what I would have said. Our hearts are with them, and we know that if, G-d forbid, we’re ever driven from our homes, we’ll end up in tents and caves. They haven’t gotten on with their lives at all. They live this strange insecure existence in a luxury hotel, and if they don’t find a way to get out of it soon, the damage both psychologically and economically will be irreparable, G-d forbid. We invited them to join us. They looked at us rather blankly, thanked us and wished us well on our march.

During our rest stop at Givat Asaf it was decided to change plans, and instead of going to the cemetery in Har HaZaytim, Mount Olives, we felt that it was more suitable to go to the Kotel, Western Wall. It was important that we end the march with a truly uplifting experience. And so we resumed our march, with lots of “meretz,” energy to the Kotel.

I love seeing how confident and self-assured our youth is, even when walking along streets filled with Arab shoppers. The only other Jews were the police, and suddenly we were stopped and prevented from continuing. We could see the City Walls, just a minute’s walk away, and the police began to surround us.

Finally after some “negotiations” we were allowed to continue with a minor route change. We were
forbidden to enter the Damascus Gate, Sha’ar Shechem. The Israeli Government gives priority to Moslem holidays over Jewish Holidays. Ramadan is considered more important than Succot; the religious sensitivities of the Moslems are considered superior to that of the Jews, and that’s in the Jewish Homeland.

We weren’t there to fight the police, so we accepted the compromise and detoured to “The New Gate,” another of the Old City gates. It isn’t beautiful and impressive like Sha’ar Shechem, which has a plaza we danced in last year, but we entered singing proudly. A hundred years ago, Jews lived in all parts of the old city, and today’s squatters, the Arabs, didn’t seem very happy to see us. Their comments weren’t pleasant, but we kept singing as we marched through the market.

From the merchandise on sale, it looks like the Arabs are doing great business from tourism. If my camera was better quality I would have taken a picture of the tee shirts on sale, especially the one saying “Super Jew.” I guess they’ll do anything for money.

It was still daylight, time for Mincha, the afternoon prayer, when we made it to the Kotel. There was even enough time for spirited dancing. Afterwards we gathered again and marched another couple of kilometers to where our bus was waiting.

Am Yisrael Chai, Od Avihu Chai,
The People of Israel Live, Avihu Still Lives,


Chag Sameach,

Batya Medad, Shiloh
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2 comments:

Michael said...

It sounds like quite an experience and one that I hope will continue as a tradition. I really have nothing to add to the religious or political implications as I feel you have described them beautifully. However, I DO wish to comment on the Super Jew tee shirts. I proudly wear a Super Jew tee shirt (I am wearing one now as I type this message.) It is just a light-hearted way of declaring myself a proud Jew. It is the same colours as one would see on a Superman costume, but instead of the "S" insignia" there is a Hebrew "shin." Everyone I know loves it, and many people have asked me where they can buy one. I in no way see it as disrespectful, which I feel you might have been trying to imply in your posting. Other than that Batya, keep on doin' that voodooin' you're doin' so well.

With much love,
Michael

Batya said...

The t shirts are great, but to think that the Arabs are selling them....