Erev Pesach 5755 April 10, 1995 Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of ... (Psalms 23) 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 solution? 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 WE ARE HOME, IN ERETZ YISRAEL. WE HAVE COME HOME! We have 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.