14 Jan 2015 Eternal Rest in the Holy Land
Parshas Va’era opens as Hashem reiterates to Moshe that He has given the land of Israel to the children of Israel. Not only has He promised us Eretz Yisrael, but He assures Moshe that He will take us out from under the burden of oppression; He will save us from our hard work; He will redeem us with an outstretched arm and great miracles; and He will take us to Him as a nation. He will take us out, save us, redeem us and take us to Him – the four terms of redemption that we focus on at the Peach Seder. The promise from time immemorial that we will not be lost amongst the nations of the world who seek to destroy us; the promise that we will never be forgotten; the promise that we will one day be redeemed.
But redemption does not end there, for there is a fifth term: “And I will bring you to the Land”. Without the fifth stage, redemption is incomplete.
This week, the Holy Land that He promised to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov welcomed four more Jews home; four Jews whose only crime was being Jewish, four Jews who were preparing for Shabos Kodesh when their lives were horribly, cruelly cut short; four Jews who were brought home this week – Yohan Cohen, 20; Yoav Hattab, 21; Francois-Michel Saada, 63; and Philippe Braham, 45 – may G-d avenge their blood.
How the Holy Land cries for four Jews brought home, not in life, but in death – fathers, sons, brothers, friends. בָּכוֹ תִבְכֶּה בַּלַּיְלָה, וְדִמְעָתָהּ עַל לֶחֱיָהּ – Jerusalem weeps at night, and her tears are on her cheeks (Lam.1:2).
May we merit to see all five stages of redemption brought to fruition with the culmination of וְהֵבֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ. May He bring us to the Promised Land in life, not death; with joy, not sorrow; with laughter, not tears; with glory, not shame.
At the funerals for the four French Jews, PM Netanyahu remarked, “Therefore, at this time, we should focus on the great spirit that is present here, the spirit of Israel which is saying: you will never, ever defeat us. The secret of our nation’s strength is our internal unity, our faith and the mutual responsibility that binds us together. This is the source of our power, our resilience – the resilience of an ancient people that has overcome every obstacle and adversity, and has risen from the dirt.”
וְהֵבֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ – May it be soon and in our days, amen.