Sunday, October 1, 1995

Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of ...

Hebron-Past, Present and Forever
by David WilderThough  I  Walk  Through the Valley  of  the  Shadow  of  ...
(Psalms 23)
April 10, 1995
Erev Pesach 
     Which  shadow?   The Psalmist, David, King  of  Israel,
wrote, "Though I walk through the valley of  the shadow of  d
e  a  t  h,  I will fear no evil, for You are with me,"  for,
"the  L-rd  is  my  Shepherd."  Is this the key  phrase  "the
valley  of  the  shadow  of death?"   There  are  those  who,
perhaps,  feel that we are not walking though the  shadow  of
the  valley of death, but rather through the valley of  death
itself.  The finger points at immanent disaster.  Scarcely  a
week  passes without a massacre, whether it be two, eight  or
forty.  And the week before Passover, the holiday celebrating
the  birth of the Jewish People, the liberation from  foreign
bondage,  and  once again, it strikes again.   Names  on  the
radio, obituaries, funerals, and "condolences to the bereaved
-  but the Piece Process must continue!". "The valley of  the
shadow of death" or "the valley of death?"
     It depends how you look at things.  It's easy to see the
black,  the  void.  Is there any good?  Is  there  any  hope?
Vision  is very subjective.  Two people can view exactly  the
same event, and see it differently.  For example, Bob and Joe
can   witness  the  same  auto  accident  but  give  opposite
testimony.   Why?  Not because one is lying;  rather  because
Bob  was  looking at driver "A" and Joe at driver "B".   Both
told the truth, but it was only a partial truth. However, had
someone  filmed the entire event with a wide-angle lens,  the
truth  would  be  complete, because  it  recorded  the  total
episode.  That might be called the complete truth.
      This  is the way that we must observe what is happening
around  us  today.  But our observance must not include  only
today, but also yesterday, and tomorrow, past and future.  We
must  inspect not only  what is happening, but also the  goal
behind our actions and reactions.  This might not make life a
whole  lot  easier, but an understanding of what is happening
will  give us the inner strength to keep going, at any  cost!
It  will  allow  us to govern our fate, and not  let  present
circumstances to rule over us.
      How  can  we do this?  If we look at present conditions
from  a perspective of  "now" what do we see?  We face almost
total  despair.   Our own government has seemingly  abandoned
us, and is using all of the forces at its disposal to repress
us,  the  "settlers."  They have forsaken the Land of Israel,
preferring  to  see  the  heart of Israel  in  the  hands  of
foreigners,  whose only true desire is to see us drowning  in
the  sea.  And they have deserted a heritage over 3,000 years
old,  preferring Oslo and Geneva to Jerusalem and Hebron.  So
what  should  we do - get up and leave?  Is there  any  other
     This is an example of shortsightedness - Looking only at
today,  at  the  present.  What if we look from  a  different
perspective - from a little farther back?   If we go back  to
the  days of Moses, and our enslavement in Egypt then we  can
declare,  without  any doubt, that their situation  was  more
difficult  than  ours. They were in a foreign  land,  slaves,
without  a  ray  of hope.  (And if you pay attention,  you'll
notice  that  after  Moses  appeared  on  the  scene,  things
worsened,  before  they improved.)  And if  we  go  back  500
years, to the days when thousands of Jews were burned at  the
stake  for  not  believing and expressing the "truth"  as  so
asserted  by  the leaders of the Inquisition, and  were  then
exiled from their homes in the most enlightened land of  that
era,   is   there  any  comparison  to  today's  trials   and
tribulations.   And if we return 50 years in  our  past,  are
words  necessary?    We were literally reincarnated,  leaving
the ashes of Aushwitz to the dream of Eretz Yisrael.  How did
the  survivors do it?  If they had no hope, if they could see
no  light at the end of the tunnel, even from within the hell
that raged, they could never have survived.  They walked  out
of  death into life, from Exile to redemption, in the land of
Israel.   That  is  where  we are today,  in  the  middle  of
redemption,  rebirth, after 2,000 years of exile.   It  isn't
easy to be reborn.
      How  then, are we to live today? Is all lost?    If  we
were  able  to bring back all of those who died because  they
were  Jews  over  the last 2,000 years, would  they  despair?
Would they suggest that we leave our homeland because of  the
"Palestinian terrorists" or because of a few sick, despondent
old men who are still hibernating, and are still sleeping the
sleep of exile?
      Each generation has a mission.  We may be privileged to
have  several  missions:  to  return  to  Eretz  Yisrael,  to
resettle Eretz Yisrael, and to STAY in Eretz Yisrael, at  all
cost!  For we didn't return to Israel as private individuals,
but  as a nation, a people.  Outside of Israel we were groups
of  individuals;  our national identity  was  almost  totally
obscured.   However,  today, in Eretz Yisrael,  we  have  the
privilege  and the obligation to act as a nation,  a  people.
This demands sacrifice and hardship.  But does it demand more
sacrifice  and  hardship than that demanded of  the  Jews  of
2,000 years of exile, when they preferred to die rather  than
change  their religion.  How many thousands of Jews  suffered
and  died for the privilege to remain Jews.  Is our sacrifice
greater  than theirs?  I think not.  Are the demands made  of
us  more  difficult than what was demanded of them?  I  think
not.   Rather, for us, it is actually easier.  Why?   Because
come  back  to the land of our forefathers, the land  of  the
dreams of generations of Jews.  We just think that it's  more
difficult,  because  we  are in the  midst  experiencing  the
hardships.   That  is  why we must view our  present  in  the
prespective of past and future AND NOT ONLY THE PRESENT..
      If we return to the beginning - to the verse "Though  I
Walk  Through the Valley of the Shadow of ..."   which valley
are we walking through?  We are walking through the VALLEY OF
LIFE.   True, even when we walk through the valley of  death,
we  fear  no evil.  All the more so when we walk through  the
valley of life.
      There are those who say that the eyes of all Israel are
on  us, the settlers, in Yehuda, Shomron, and Gaza.  I  think
otherwise.   I  think that not only the eyes  of  Israel  are
focused on Kiryat Arba-Hebron - Yesha.  I think that the eyes
of  of generations of Jews are converged on us, in prayer and
in hope.  We shall not disappoint them.

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