Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …
May THE LORD be glorified and blessed as I greet you on this extraordinary day that yearly brings me to my knees.
“Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, And the young men and the old, together; For I will turn their mourning to joy, Will comfort them, And make them rejoice rather than sorrow.” (Jeremiah 31:13)
“To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3 *also ofcourse, spoken as fulfillment by The Lord)
“For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
Yom h’zikeron, memorial day for Israel’s fallen soldiers and those killed by terror attacks is a deeply emotional day. It touches, sadly, nearly every Israeli family personally. It is not a story or someone else’s experience, but the collective experience of a family, a nation, who sends all of it’s sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers and friends off to guard one another and it’s homes within its small borders. All fight the many battles that remain in spite of high aspirations for a still elusive peace.
Amidst the battles have come the terror attacks, claiming the infants and small children and the aged who have served and survived. Truly there is barely a family in this nation that is not carrying the burden of the violent loss of deeply loved ones. The raw emotion is heart wrenching.
By nature and design, we are not a people ashamed or used to hiding away our hearts. As I got on the bus to go to work this morning, I couldn’t hold back the tears as I heard the song on the radio: “Achi” – My brother. I am now able to understand the words and I almost wished that I couldn’t. My brother. You took my hand and with such pride and such a smile led me to my first day at school. You watched me and side-by-side we learned. We played together as best friends. We told secrets and shared our room and our heart…and you were so proud to go just ahead of me to serve our country…how beautiful you were my brother…I will see you again in heaven.
The two-minute siren this morning that brought the entire nation to a standstill settled the shared mantle of grief across the nation. That mantle was lowered with the first siren last night at 8 p.m. But this morning it actively settled across our shoulders. Mount Hertzl cemetery, our national cemetery where our Prime Ministers, leaders and a large percentage of our soldiers are buried, is walking distance from where I live. The streams of many thousands upon thousands who spent the day there continued all day. Soldiers came from all over to be comforted and to comfort the mourners.
Whoever was not mourning afresh, was comforting someone who was, a relative, friend or stranger. Young widows holding babies who would never meet their fathers joined with elderly parents bereft of children or grandchildren. An entire country grieving over personal losses. Letters written by children or other loved ones were printed in the media. Here is a taste:
How to sum up in a few words a Dad so strong, so great and powerful?
It’s already been a month without you.
We stayed by your side after your injury. We saw your endless struggle, and we parted from your physical being, but not from your presence. And then, when the worst happened, we joined the families of bereavement, unwillingly, but with great faith that this was G-d’s will. We chose to cope, using your beliefs. You left us no room for indecision about how to live without a father. Even without you, without discussing it with you, I know how you want us to live. You didn’t talk much, talking is Mom’s great quality, but when you spoke you were clear, focused, strong, and sent a message, which reached further than the issue in question, to future principles. We have chosen to find strengths in this difficult trial, to focus on success and not failure, to always try to keep our heads high. To keep smiling even when it is hard, and always keep a positive view, even when our hearts are aching and wounded.
Mom always says we were blessed to have lived in your shadow.
Dad, you weren’t at home much, but you were always there.
I don’t deserve concessions that my Dad is not at home, I have the positives that, even if he is not here, I should work hard, make an effort, share, give, and keep doing things for myself and for others.
Dad, you went, but you are still with us, in the little things and the great ones. You left behind many people who can testify to who you were, can support us and comfort us, hold us and remind us of you, what you contributed, and how lucky we are to be your children.
Dad, at times missing you overcomes us; we have a long way to go, for me, for Mom, brothers and friends, but the path is clear.
I promise to follow in your way; it will always guide us and give us strength; to continue the mission of leading a meaningful life. To look after Mom, Yossiel, Maor and Ami-ad. Together we will succeed, you will be proud of us from up there. I am sure you will protect us and show us the way.
My Dad, you will always be with me, no matter where you are, you are always by my side.
I’m so proud to be your daughter. Always be with us.
May your soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life.
I Love you,
(Hallel Kachlon, aged 15, from Hadera, is the daughter of Sergeant Major Rami Kachlon, who was injured in an incident on the Gaza border during Operation Protective Edge, and died of his wounds several days later.)
And the question that I had is now answered: HOW IN THE WORLD WILL THEY PULL IT OFF AGAIN THIS YEAR? HOW CAN WE GO FROM MOURNING TO JOY IN A BRIEF BRIDGE? How can a ceremony, the changing of the key of the trumpet from minor to major and the raising of the flag from half mast to full, how can that stop the weeping and give hope to our broken hearts? They did it for 66 years, but now, the 67th year, can they do it again? Won’t the mourning be so deep that the joy won’t dawn this year?
But it DID!
And it was, again, or perhaps more so, amazing to behold this year! Yes, the mourners prayer (the Kadesh) was prayed by the most recently bereaved father with a broken and faltering voice. The last pieces were still bleeding in the aisles of the Mount Hertzl meeting place as the trumpets blew their mournful sound and then in one note changed to a major key as everyone stood. Solemnly the flag was raised and the colors of the lights also changed and the words from Genesis began to be spoken, sung, displayed on the walls and danced to. All of this, while a scribe wrote them in a scroll and our eyes were turned to the hugeness of God’s creation and the work of His Hands. He was declared from the beginning of the ceremony until the end tonight. His triumph over all, built to a crescendo with a theme of HOPE dancing in and out.
Our Independence (yom h’atz’maoot) is celebrated in this way. Beauty from ashes…the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Yearly 12 torches are lit, one for each tribe of Israel, chosen with a particular theme in mind and trying to represent the diversity of the population.
This year’s torch lighters represented very diverse innovators who bettered the lives of the general public and in many cases, the world. They included Rami Levi, a very down to earth man who used to have a stall in our shuk. It bothered him that prices were so high and that people scuffled to feed their families, so he developed the Rami Levi food chain to SERVE THE PEOPLE and it is both the least expensive, most fair, AND STILL PROSPEROUS food chain in the country. PLUS he employs Jews and Arabs, religious and non religious.
Another torch was lit by the man who developed the iron dome defense system. Another was lit by a female Israeli Arab TV anchorwoman who has been a vanguard in anti-racism and is very brave… she even sang our national anthem tonight.
Then there was a 17 year old girl scientist who has begun a company which is pioneering brain research successfully. AND, there is the young autistic man who started a program for mentally challenged young people to successfully volunteer for the IDF and serve the nation. This is just a sample. Each one gave a short but very inspiring speech. Songs, flags, presentations, a huge embrace of love infused with hope, looking up to God, with a belief in the God-Who-Sees-and-Will-Be-Seen, replacing the mantle of grief. The joy will continue (including wonderful bar-b-ques called mangle) through tomorrow evening.
They pulled it off!
And I think it was because they looked up.
Thank you for caring and praying. May The Lord be KNOWN and GLORIFIED, even here among His ancient people Israel.
your sis J