To say that all beginnings are difficult is an understatement. Our years of 'settling the land' have been fraught with what felt like every imaginable financial difficulty possible and then some. But it is a commandment to be happy and appreciate whatever HaShem gives us. So despite the hardships we have endured, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to dwell in the land of our forefathers and make this our home. To be blessed with the privilege of raising our children and grandchildren in Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, is something not to be taken lightly. It is said that the land tries to 'spit out' those who don't merit being here and while it would seem sad that I have experienced that feeling, I am thankful. For without having gone through those trials and tribulations, I would probably not have made an effort to change our lives for the better. I used to think being Shomer Mitzvot, Shomer Shabbat and Kosher was enough. True, it was a big step, but it is something that needs constant work. Just like a marriage which cannot thrive unless the two partners make a continuous effort to improve, being religiously observant is not a be all and end all. We must continuously work on ourselves, continuously do tshuva and continuously learn, grow and strive to come closer to our Father in Heaven.
Last Shabbat, Parshat Noach, we spent in the holy city of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) with our daughter. We attended Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv prayers at the Kotel Hamaaravi, the Western Wall. This was my first taste of such a magnificent experience. As I stood there, in the midst of the holiest site on the face of the earth, time stood still. The songs of praise ascending to the Heavens flowed through the air like clouds of splendor. The multitude of people pouring out their hearts and souls to the Creator of the Universe was awe-inspiring and humbling. Hundreds of people from every corner of the globe made their way to this sanctified place to acknowledge their faith in a Being greater than themselves. In this slice of time, the world was filled with goodness and evil was non-existent. And it was in those seconds of peace, that I understood the concept of Moshiach.
True, humanity needs to do a lot of work on itself to rectify all of its sins, to pull itself out of the gutter of materialism and depravity, but unlike the generation of Noah, so much righteousness already exists today. What I witnessed at the Kotel was a sampling of the piety and devotion that mankind must utilize and cultivate in order to help elevate others spiritually. It is incumbent upon every knowing person to raise awareness of emuna**and spread the Light. But like sand in an hourglass, time is quickly running out. Will we succeed in purifying ourselves sufficiently to bring about our redemption in a peaceful manner? That is something only G-d Himself knows. I pray the answer is yes.
If now you will accept upon yourselves, it will be sweet for you from here and further, because all beginnings are difficult. (Rashi)
** (Hebrew) the firm belief in a single, supreme, omniscient, benevolent, spiritual, supernatural, and all-powerful Creator of the universe, we we refer to as G-d. (from "The Garden of Emuna", By Rabbi Shalom Arush, Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody)
There is really nothing 'About Me' that needs to be told that won't be written on this blog. I believe our purpose in life is to get closer to our Creator, to work on improving ourselves, repent for past ill deeds and help others see the truth. EIN OD MILVADO - There is Nothing but HIM!
If you have any questions or comments, I'm listening....