Dearest Friends it has been a while since I wrote to you. It is hard to believe that we are celebrating Purim already. Wow! The year is flying by so quickly. I wanted to give you all a small Itamar update with a Torah thought and of course wish you all a happy Purim.
Unfortunately, we have all been witness to some very tragic days here in Israel beginning with the terrible rocket fire on Sederot and culminating with the massacre of the boys in Mercaz Harav Yeshiva. Here on Itamar we had our share of security problems over the last few months as well. We have been suffering a lot of rock throwing at cars driving up our road and some infiltrations to our hilltops where sheep were stolen. In one incident, a rock hit a driver and caused a car accident where a guest visiting our community was hospitalized with moderate to serious injuries. Last Shabbat our security fence was cut and we were all put into high alert. There were also four shooting incidents at buses going through the nearby village; one took place last night. Thank G-d nobody was hurt but the busses were shot up.
The struggle for building our nation in the holy land goes on. Many people are asking themselves – when is this going to stop? If it is any way consoling, let us remind ourselves that this madness has been going on with ups and downs when the students of the Vilna Gaon and the Baal Shem Tov started to make Aliya 200 years ago. Our sages didn’t hide from us their teaching that the land of Israel is acquired through suffering. Ok, so we can’t say that we didn’t know that building the land would not be easy. Nevertheless, why does it have to be this way? One simple answer is that nothing that is of any value comes easy. The greater the gift the more we have to work hard to attain it. Eretz Yisrael is the most precious thing in the world. Therefore, in order to acquire it we have to work very hard. The harder we work the greater reward we will eventually see. Many evil forces are hovering over the land of Israel that are trying to prevent us from reaching our goals. Every person that believes in Hashem, His Torah, and His people must act. We can’t remain indifferent at such a special time. Life is too short and there is just so much that we have to do.
As we read today in the Megillah – Mordechai says to Queen Esther – “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will be lost. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Mordechai is telling Esther that she must realize that G-d placed her in a special position for a reason of furthering the redemption of her people. When someone reaches the heights of royalty it is very easy to fall into the trap of wealth, honor and pleasure and forget about the priorities of life. Mordechai’s message was not only to Esther but it is for every one of us as well.
Although G-d has blessed us greatly with a comfortable life, we can not sit back while our nation needs help! Every day, we must spend a few minutes thinking about how we can help build our land. Those who have the strength should consider making Aliyah there is nothing greater than returning home. Those that are not ready to make Aliyah at this time must get involved in some Chesed activity for helping build the land. Any small action adds up. We have all been witness to the fluctuations of the stock market and the dollar around the world over the last few months. People are panicking about loosing their fortunes. Let’s put things into proportion, we have to thank G-d that we have food on the table and are not starving. After 120 years, a person is not going to take his dollar bills to the world to come. What he will take with him is the good deeds he did in this world.
I want to wish you all a happy Purim! Looking forward in seeing you here on Itamar.
Rabbi Moshe Goldsmith Mayor of Itamar