A Thought for the Week
Chaye Sara 5761
Prince Rudolph, son and heir to the Austrian monarch Franz Josef, visited Palestine at the turn of the century and recounted his trip to Chevron in his memoirs:
Upon reaching Hebron I immediately went to the cave of Machpela. There I was overwhelmed at the realization that my feet stood at the sepulcher of the saintly Hebrew Patriarchs. Involuntarily, I knelt down, lifted my hands toward heaven, and with tears streaming from my eyes, I said, Holy Patriarch Abraham: You who was proclaimed thousands of years ago Prince of God by Ephron the Hittite, whose offer of a burial ground for your dead princess, you declined, open your eyes and observe the lot of your ten million children dispersed and scattered among all lands, persecuted and oppressed by tyrants and murderers, hated and hounded by cruel foes, they, your children, can find no resting place even for money.
Fearful and sad is the lot and the life of your children, holy Abraham. I will endeavor with all my power to help your unfortunate children when I ascend the throne of Austria. (Quoted in The Warmth and the Light; Rav Aharon Soleveichik)
These noble words were uttered by a Christian inspired by the example of Abrahams devotion and love of the Jewish people. Our love for Eretz Yisroel and Klal Yisroel must be tenfold.
Avrohom insisted on paying for his own land. Perhaps he foresaw the antagonistic claims of the nations claiming that we stole the land. Avrohom wanted to do whatever he possibly could to establish our ownership of Eretz Yisroel and a safe haven for the Jewish people. It is for this reason that King David purchased the Temple Mount from Ornan for six hundred golden shekels (Divrei Hayamim 1 21; 25) and that Yaakov bought Josephs burial place in Shechem (Breishis 33; 19).
Three thousand seven hundred years have passed since Avrohom Avinu bought Chevron. A century has passed since the King of Austria visited. Much has happened. We are once again being called upon to demonstrate our devotion. Young Jewish men and women from New York, Monsey, Paris, Morocco and Jerusalem have created a life for themselves in Chevron, Efrat, Etzion and in all the places that Avrohom walked. They are being shot at. Their homes are being threatened. Mothers send their children off to school in armored school buses waving goodbye with tears in their eyes. They are trying to live normal lives. If they dont they will be submitting to terrorism. They are asking for some encouragement from us who live comfortably in the suburbs and we have an obligation to give it to them. Let me share with you some of a letter I received this past Sunday:
Fifty years ago there were Jews stranded on boats with no where to go and no one to listen. Today we must listen. Twenty years ago we were smuggling Mezuzos and Tehillims into Moscow today we are trying to get bulletproof vests and rifle scopes through Israeli Customs.
We must rise to the call of the day. We must pray for the true peace for all of Israel.
Rabbi Yaacov Haber
Rabbi Haber is the OU's National Director of Jewish Education and the spiritual leader of the OU's Pardes Program
Comments and questions are very welcome
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