Greetings dear sisters and brothers,
May this letter be an encouragement to you, and ALL GLORY to God Almighty, Who created the heavens and the earth, and His One and only Messiah and Son Jesus, Yeshua, Who saved us and brought us to our Father. May He be praised with our whole hearts and may we tell of all of His marvelous works. May we sing praises to His Name.
“To the Chief Musician. To the tune of “Death of the Son.” A Psalm of David. “
“I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.” (PSALM 9:1-2)
What perfect timing. I will explain.
My husband and I took the train to the bus last night and then walked through a park to our health clinic. We had a question for the skin doctor and the way to get it answered is to run up to the clinic and push your way in. Really!
It is NOT our nature, but after years of NOT getting urgent questions answered we have learned that sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone. The train was quite crowded for that hour and as we are only one stop from Mount Herzl (housing our national military and state cemetery) and two stops from Yad v’shem (the Holocaust memorial) and The World Zionist Museum, we were in for a surprising sight. It is the time to remember “the dead sons.”
But let me back up a bit in the time line and remind you of a few of the events of the past several weeks:
1) We are in the midst of “the Friday wars” on the Gaza border…week 3 has past and 4 is coming up,
2) Iran has blamed the Allied attack on Syrian chemical weapons base directly on Israel and has promised to retaliate directly and strongly soon. We are preparing).
3) A week ago we commemorated Holocaust Remembrance day meaning that 4) beginning with the siren at 8 PM tonight we begin our Memorial day in remembrance of Israel’s fallen soldiers and terror victims.
AND 4) TOMORROW night at 8 the ceremony changes from grief to joy as we begin celebrations for our 70th year of Independence.
IT IS AN EMOTIONAL COUPLE OF WEEKS.
So, setting the ‘backdrop’, I will return to our train ride.
We were surprised by the crowds, but as we approached the next stop, we began to understand. Hundreds of thousands of people, waves of people were drifting like clouds into the national cemetery and into the Zionist museum area adjacent to it.
I suddenly remembered that several years ago they decided to designate a separate family time BEFORE the official ceremonies which begin tonight. A more personal time during the laying of the flags on the graves. It just took us both by surprise, the vast numbers of people!
So many teenagers, toddlers, babies in arms and strollers, young and old and in between. All of them lost someone or many someones. Mothers and Fathers, Sisters and Brothers, Spouses, Friends and Children. It was hard to see such a huge crowd and understand that each one had a loved one ripped from them through war.
“To the Chief Musician. To the tune of “Death of the Son.” A Psalm of David. “ They were surrounded as if by shepherds for at least a kilometer or more by armed soldiers protecting them. Ambulances stood by, so many and yet so private, each one alone in his grief.
“It has begun,” I said to myself.
It is tangible…you can feel it, like a heavy mantle of grief. A thick cloud descending and being spread upon us all, to share, to help carry the weight. Because there has been a price to pay and it is dear, and so we share it as families do. And yet, GOD IS present. God knows and sees and I pray for an opportunity to share His great gift of comfort with some.
There IS something different’ this year. “What is it Lord?”
I can guess, but I am not sure. 70 is mature. My daughter and I recalled the wonder with which we participated in the 50th Birthday celebrations of Israel. When we came Israel was 46. We can all relate to these numbers in terms of human life.
Which is why this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day was particularly poignant. Sadly we had a stomach virus and I could not watch the ceremonies but we are all aware that the survivors are coming to the end of their journey. And that the telling the stories is passing on to their descendants.
Kala Zeltzer, now 94 years old, whom I’ve asked for prayer often over the years, left a book on my desk at work for me. When I opened it, I wept. FINALLY she had it. The story of her life with photos. She had worked on this book for years with volunteer writers who sit with the survivors and sift through the unbelievable stories to re-construct a testimony. And here was Kala’s life and in her shaky hand she inscribed my name. What a gift!
With the dramatic rise of anti-Semitism again, I have been asking The Lord to awaken me to things that I might be dull to and should know, and He is faithful. There has been a grouping together of genocides and slaughters and a blending of the Holocaust under the mantle of the world’s atrocities as if it is no different.
I was thinking, “Well, perhaps it isn’t really. All flesh is one and man’s wickedness toward others is abominable in all places.”
I didn’t understand until suddenly I felt Him open a window in my heart. I pray that I can translate this into words. The Holocaust was unique in this way: It was personal and with calculated purpose – face to face. Most genocide is a huge explosive, wicked hatred. It is faceless. People do not see who they kill or care who they kill. They hate a group or want a territory or just explode.
In the Holocaust, it was a personal, systematic RAPE of each individual. They recorded each name, address, personal information, possessions. Methodically and purposefully, they stripped each individual of their name, replaced it with a branded number, stripped them of their clothes, looked into their eyes and cut off their hair, stroked them and took their possessions and then recorded each one, herded them into gas chambers, and rendered them to ashes. BUT IT WAS ABOUT GOD, who had CREATED us from the dust. IT WAS THE GOD OF THE JEWS WHOSE PLAN AND PURPOSE THEY SOUGHT TO DERAIL ON THE TRAINS TO THE CAMPS. BUT THEY COULD NOT OVERTHROW GOD’S PLAN!
And SUDDENLY I saw that NO! It is NOT pride to say that the Holocaust stands alone among destructions. It stands with each act taken by Satan to destroy the plan of God. If the enemy COULD destroy God’s plans and purposes then woe unto us BUT HE IS FAITHFUL WHO PROMISED.
The enemy tried to abort the first coming of Messiah and could not. So he tries to abort His second coming to this people and the fulfillment of His mercy. I look at 2 Kings 18– the classic tactics of the enemy through the ages:
“22 But if you say to me, ‘We trust in the Lord our God,’ is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem’? ”…25 Have I now come up without the Lord against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, ‘Go up against this land, and destroy it.’”… 32 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive groves and honey, that you may live and not die. But do not listen to Hezekiah, lest he persuade you, saying, “The Lord will deliver us.” 33 Has any of the gods of the nations at all delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria?…”
If you have NOT read 2 Kings 18 for a while, it may be a good time to refresh your memory.
Holocaust Memorial day came again in Israel and again Israel stood silent as the siren sounded that dreadful sound. I took my Grandson out on our merepesset(balcony) to stand at attention and see how it all stops. They (our daughter’s family) left Israel when he was 8 and now he is 14.
SO, we were ALL pretty FREAKED OUT today while I was sitting and waiting for an x-ray. Suddenly the air raid siren sounded! EVERYONE jumped up to run for shelter until a woman yelled, ‘No no! I’m sorry! It was my facebook page! Someone posted a video of Holocaust Memorial day here and they recorded the siren. I’m sorry.”
A collective sigh of relief, but not very deep as we are aware that the hour is volatile.
On Yom h’Sho’ar, there is no regular television but the channels that are open, show incredible movies, ones that I never heard of, from all countries, movies similar to Schindler’s List and The Hiding Place. Other stations show life stories and interviews with survivors or show a still of a memorial flame. There are no advertisements.
And so it is now.
In a few moments, at 8 PM, the terrible siren will again cry through the sky and all will stop. Tomorrow morning at 11 it will sound for 2 minutes. It is intense. I wish that you could experience it.
Again, our television has stopped and the photos of soldiers and terror victims are being flashed on the screen with their dates of birth and date and place of death. Movies will show intense, depressing, hero inspiring and prayer inspiring movies. The radio is a treasure trove of first hand testimonies of what eyes have seen in the defense of this country that GOD promised to our people, and God is often spoken about for He indeed has been present.
The siren has sounded now and the cloak of indescribable feelings has again become palpable. We live in this today, knowing that the tomorrows directly ahead of us are highly volatile. But today THIS is our path and purpose and tomorrow night, Lord willing, the cloud will rise and the celebrations of the 70th year will begin.
Do you remember that we live so close to Mount Herzl that we can hear the ceremonies from outside and watch the fireworks from our merepesset?
In these days when the tendency is toward burn out and growing cold, may we run into His Arms and press in for more of Him. Thank you for taking time to read this. It is written with love and prayer.
Your sister J