Leah’s Blog Sep 13 2019

It was in the Sistine Chapel that it really hit me- history is like a pendulum ride swaying between facts and the implication of events and in our case- how they affect us- even personally. On our tour we saw real remains of the glory of Rome, priceless works of art, Nero’s red marble bathtub. The thousands of people that came to experience the great empire that day with me in that place of tens of thousands of marble heads of seisers gone by though didn’t know what I know. They didn’t know that Jewish slaves stolen from their homes in Jerusalem as the Temple burned were shipped to Rome and made to build the Coliseum as well as all the grand buildings. They didn’t know that Jewish victims were thrown into the Lions pit there to fight to the death for a day of spectating pleasure for all Roman citizens. The tours praised themselves on the beautiful booty taken from Cleopatra – entire rooms of Egyptian art – huge and unbelievable all stored in the Vatican there – It was a creepy feeling and strange for thinking that they are boasting in these riches. What the people in the room didn’t know though was that Nero became a convert and fathered Rabbi Meir, a great Torah sage and that despite the “Holy Roman Empire” and the replacement theology applied to this very day – I came to sway the pendulum. I came in the merit of Rabbi Meir and all the Torah scholars who never let go of the greatest gift offered to mankind in history – the moral and ethical code of living the true treasures of the world. I came in the merit of our people’s historical righteous ones – who did not achieve their status by inheritance nor family but they themselves volunteered to love HaShem! By that merit the ember sparkled always like the ner Tamid and ignited into the fire consumed in our hearts in our zeal for return to Zion, back to restore the sacred place Mighty Rome thought they extinguished. On our way that day in Rome to the Vatican we asked our taxi driver if there are any true Romans today. His answer- “No. None. They are long gone. This is a mix of many people, many nations…” History has always affected the Jewish people. The New Year is about to come upon us. Our Rabbis teach us that we must remember when the world was created. There is the history of the world and there is our history. At times they coincide. Good thoughts are essential in welcoming in the future. I feel so blessed to be the remnant that came to see the place that thought we were finished and to know we are only beginning! We face the New Year with high hopes that it will bring with it amazing fruition of prophecy, bounty and peace in the Land and Blessings to all who stand with us in our mission!!! Shabbat Shalom Leah Goldsmith

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