Leah’s Blog – Eikev 2022
Eikev 2022 – Leah’s blog – I Will Follow
There has been more riveting news lately- did you notice? The world turns and history repeats itself yet things take a turn, they morph into more mature spheres of reality. I almost missed the small but significant segment on the Aliyah of 250 Jews through Nefesh BeNefseh this week from North America. That got me to remembering our own Aliyah 37 years ago almost to the day! Looking back at that time of pre internet, cellphone (or even phone at all!) we came to a snug little row of houses here, just starting out in the Land of Yosef HaTzaddik. Probably one of the least inhabited areas in Israel at the time, I knew despite the barrenness, this is where I was meant to be. It drew us like a magnet. It was only yesterday I told myself on that afternoon in August 1985 that I rode the subways to work at the Jewish agency on Park Avenue in Manhattan, running to Bloomingdales on lunch breaks, keeping up with the fast pace and the fast lane, rushing into commuter crowds.
Slowly we got ourselves acclimated, between the row of the little houses, toddlers played. Here we would plan the new decade of settlement and land reclamation. There were no phones; this meant standing on the line for the one public phone for everyone. So I would sit under the dim yellow light in the cozy glowing mood and hook up with the outside world. Then the days were days and the nights were nights. We clambered up the empty hills surrounding us wondering if anyone in the world existed. We breathed in the fresh intoxicating air and pondered about what these rocks were witness to, what they had seen and heard in this tribal territory of Efrayim. We listened to mountain’s silence and could hear into it. The faintest sound of a minaret and the call to prayer. The sound would blow into our consciousness and remind us that we were not alone. There was a yearning for something more, to redeem our land.
Looking back- it has always been a struggle. To reach glory you have to place an effort. I guess that is the paradigm. Hashem says- FOLLOW ME. He said it to Abraham, He says it now to us. Thirty seven years have passed and we can barely squeeze through the bottleneck of Huwara, the village funded by USA and the EU that has grown exponentially as we are targeted, pushed back against- the desire is to freeze us, to erase a Jewish presence here in this middle peg holding down the entire land of Israel. The links in the chain of our heritage that hold this land together were groomed by Hashem to be strategically where they are on the map. Shechem Yerushalayim and Chevron smack in the center running the length. It is a battle to keep them settled- even as they were so cruelly forfeited – we grasp at the earth now. As the land crowds now with the desire to choke us out- our roots call us to action, our ancestry that walked these mountains look to us now. FOLLOW ME Hashem says. In Egypt we were all but lost and destined it seemed to perish as slaves. Hashem had another plan.
If you can’t live in Israel now for whatever reason yet, please embrace this present state of affairs through active participation in maintaining all the links in the chain from time immemorial. We can dream of the end of days but people are on the ground here trying to FOLLOW what needs to be done. Here too in our State where the pragmatic side of government and courts does not come close to the messianic ideal- we must push forward by pro action. I know you are longing for Israel. If you are dizzy from world events, the perfect thing you can do is stand with us here. Friends of Itamar are working on many projects as we dig in deeper, live organic, teach the love of every clod of this earth here. That is the riveting news. Blessing you with a beautiful Shabbat Kodesh! Soon we will meet the King in the field!