Leah’s Blog Yom Kippur – 2023
Yom Kippur 5784
When I was a little girl, the holy days would begin my autobiography. Not knowing it, I would be led to the places I yearned to see, stories like Yonah and the whale would fascinate me. Jaffa was a port in ancient times as well as all the places living and breathing today in Israel. I wonder if Yonah knew this port would come back to life. The synagogue we prayed in brimmed, even the chapel doors were opened wide so that those standing in the lobby could hear the cantor’s high rich voice and participate in listening and connecting. The prayer, Kol Nidre exciting and stirring would have me looking around at the old and young as each and every one envisioned, recalled, and remembered. For me it was realizing the knowledge in my young and tender mindset that it all is based upon Israel, every prophecy, every prayer. In regard to the Israeli flag set up on the Bimah, I wondered how I could be a part of it. Could it be that this new flag was a part of that old story we are reading about right now in our prayer book? The spirit of things in that room on that day carried a scent of smelling salts that an old man would always walk down the aisle and give a whiff to those faint with thirst by the end of the day, and the silent Amidah of a room packed with people. The day of Tikkun which later would also become the day of my dear father’s yartzeit. Yom Kippur.
Today the candle burns for him Z”L in sight of the mountains of the blessing and the curse, Mount Gerizzim and Mount Eval, our home facing them. What is a vow, I ask myself on this day. Can it be that I made a commitment then at age seven to guard this land? Is that what stirred in me to be valid and true to what I later indeed resolved to do? Was it me that decided or Hashem that enabled it? This is the time to know that it does not contradict. From surviving the holocaust our little family burst into life later here in the Land. Prophecy does come true, but there are many challenges along the way. We beseech You.
I heard that there is a new movie out about highway 60 that former ambassador Friedman made with Mike Pompeo. I hope they make another segment and go north of Shilo and continue on highway 60 into the territory of Yosef Hatzaddik and the two mountains aforementioned, the mountains Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu spoke about in his address to the U.N. on Friday. These mountains symbolize making the right choice and standing with the word of G-d. If you listen to that inner voice to do right, you will be blessed. If you G-d forbid leave the essence of mussar you will inevitably be dispersed into the exile. Today the people that live here facing these mountains have given their lives for it. This is the very heart of Israel yet in a cruel and unjust deal made thirty years ago, the integrity of this land was compromised and over a thousand innocent men women and children were murdered because of the Oslo Accords. It is also the yartzeit of Hillel Lieberman and soon of our Rabbi, HaRav Binyamin Herling HY”D both were murdered between and on the site of these mountains.
Here on Itamar the aftermath is a community trying to grow despite the perils of Huwara and the encroachment upon State Land within the jurisdiction of our community. We, like in the story of Yonah are dealing with a mission riddled with effort, pain but desire for good. “Open for us a gate at the closing of the gate! Grant us courage to continue to remedy the wrongs of the past, even when the price is painful in order for our Land to be a blessing!” These words are prophetic as well as now we must FIX the wrongs of Oslo and fortify the heart of Israel!
Friends of Itamar is turning to you now to strengthen and support the brave people living here. Show you care! This is your opportunity to do Pidyone Kaparote. Gmar chatimah tova, May all of you be inscribed in the book of life. With blessings for a sweet and joyful New year- Leah