The Mountains of Israel

Moshe Kempinski

Every morning as I walk to my shul( synagogue) for morning prayers, I usually walk up the ramp on the side of the building . At the top of the ramp I usually stop for a couple of seconds. The awesome and expansive western view of the Jerusalem hills that unfolds before me stops me almost every time .

To my right stands Mount Herzl ‘s military cemetery the final resting place of our valiant young men and women who died protecting our people. This is right next to Yad VaShem, the Holocaust memorial commemorating over 6 million candles snuffed out by hatred. Then as my eyes sweep northward and I see the Hadassah Hospital nestled amongst the hills. My eyes continue to take in the breathtaking view of the blossoming green Jerusalem hills that seem to brush the western skies. Though I don’t actually see it ,I can just sense the Mediterranean sea “just over” the horizon. Moving further to the north ,I look at the village of Motza that in temple times served as the main supplier of willow branches for the Feast of Tabernacles ( Sukkot). Continuing , I take in the Burma road and the Castel village which figured prominently in the Israeli war of independence. Finally to my right I get a glimpse of the tomb of Samuel, the prophet who anointed the kings of Israel.

All the history of this awesome country in a glance.

I have often wondered what would have happened if I could have photographed this view and somehow had the opportunity to share it with my brothers and sisters in the shtetls , the ghettos and the concentration camps of Europe. What if I could have shared the photo with the Jews huddled in the Jewish Casbahs in the Arab lands?
What would have been their reaction?

I am convinced that with tears of hope and joy in their eyes they would exclaim that this is clearly a picture taken in the midst of the days of redemption. They would have no problem recognizing the signs.

What if I could describe the schools of Torah learning, the building of settlements and cities? What would they feel when I would describe the “old men and old women dwelling in the streets of Jerusalem…. And the streets of the city filled with boys and girls playing in the streets.” (Zechariah 8:4-5),

How would they receive the descriptions of our people arriving from the former USSR, the land of the North spoken of by our prophets (Jeremiah 16:14-15) and those from the Beta Israel Ethiopian community arriving from the land of Cush( Isaiah 60).

What would happen if I was able to give them a taste of a sweet orange and a pomegranate “bursting with seeds”? Perhaps they would remember the verse from Ezekiel “But you O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, are coming home.” (Ezekiel 36:8). What type of joyful blessing would they make?

On this Yom HaAtzmaut( Israel Independence Day) as I will be singing dancing and praying the Hallel service of thanksgiving, I will be thinking of all those questions.

I cannot and will not allow that day to go by without thanking Hashem for all the mercies and bountiful blessings we have experienced. I will also ask for His guidance and protection to stay with us in the face of all of the challenges yet before us. Yet I will continue to yearn for the completed fulfillment of His promise.

Hag Atzmaut Sameach.. Metzapim LeGeulah
Happy Independence day ,Yearning for redemption

LeRefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved

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