Commentary, personal reflections, tidbits, stories and photos from the spokesman of Hebron's Jewish Community.
Thu,Jul 31,2014 4 Av 5774
If searching for one word in the Scroll of Esther which embodies the entire story, it might very well be ‘v’naafochhu’, which means, according to Google, ‘to the contrary,’ or perhaps, ‘it all reversed.’ Turned upside down. ‘An unexpected ending.’
During the days of Haman and Achashverosh, towards the end of the first exile, following the destruction of the First Temple and the exile to Babylon, many Jews forgot what it was to be Jews. Assimilation was rampant. But for the enemies of the Jews, that wasn’t enough. They had to be eradicated. Physically removed from the face of the earth. Deleted.
There was no State of Israel, No IDF. No Shabak or Mossad. When the decision was made, (a predecessor of the 1942 Wansee Conference), who was there to turn to?
Two people, and two people alone held the keys to reversing the almost inevitable. Mordechai and Esther. It took much courage. They might not have cared about their own fate, but they knew that continued existence of their people rested in their hands.
But it took more than courage. It took faith. The most amazing, overwhelming faith a person can have. The State, the IDF, the Shabak, the Mossad, and anyone or anything else that could have saved them was all wrapped up in the Divine, in G-d. They knew and understood that only He, could save the Jews from that planned holocaust.
The story is well known. No need here to repeat it here.
But, their faith implanted within the Jewish people, for ages to come, a comprehension, an essence of, look to the Heavens. There is the answer to your woes.
Of course, our faith started with Abraham. It can be witnessed with Moses. But their predicament was very different from those before, because during their days, G-d was seemingly hidden, had seemingly disappeared. It’s very very hard to plea to a Diety which seemingly has abandoned you, perhaps punishment for your collective sins. But Mordechai and Esther knew that G-d would never abandon His people. Some might, due to lack of faith, be blind to His existence. But they were not blind; they knew, felt and saw the truth, and acted accordingly. And the Jews were saved.
Over the years I wrote many articles about Beit HaShalom:
March 26, 2007: Last week Hebron's Jewish community received a green light from its attorneys…The deal was completed to their satisfaction. We could move in…The community purchased a 4,000 sq. meter structure, overlooking the road between Hebron and Kiryat Arba.
January 29, 2008: Two soldiers are stationed outside Beit HaShalom for security purposes…the soldiers are ‘cold’ and requested/demanded that people in the building supply them with an electric line for a heater to keep them warm…Defense Minister Ehud Barak had just refused Hebron’s request to allow humanitarian renovations in the building, including instillation of simple windows, electric current, and sealing of the building’s roof to prevent water leakage. The letter received from the Defense ministry stated clearly: If you’re cold, go live somewhere else…
February 28, 2008: "You can install aluminum window frames WITHOUT glass windows."…They finally agreed to installation of windows… You didn't get a permit to install anything made of plastic – only aluminum frames and glass windows, no shades!"
October 30, 2008: Yesterday the Supreme Court discussed Beit HaShalom in Hebron. The discussion focused on the question of purchase and possession. The judges stressed throughout the discussion that even if the building was legally purchased, it is still possible to issue an expulsion order because the building was still in the possession of the Arab seller, Rajbi.
November 28, 2008: Last week the Supreme Court announced its decision. They gave the people living there 72 hours to leave of their own accord…or else..
December 12, 2008: It is unthinkable and intolerable that Israel's top leadership should change the rules in the middle of the game, expecting the other side to play by the old ones, while they play by the new. Peace may breed peace but by the same token, extremism breeds extremism…The true threat to our country is the warping of the fundamental institutions whose presence is supposed to protect the people rather than terrorize them. The decisions made concerning Beit Hashalom were not based upon justice, rather upon pure judicial terror.
October 11, 2012: The new year is starting off on the right …A few weeks ago, an Israeli court ruled that Beit HaShalom, the huge 4,000 square meter building between Hebron and Kiryat Arba, was legally purchased by the Jewish community of Hebron and must be returned to us, the rightful owners of the building.
March 11, 2014: Beit HaShalom - Victory at last WE WON WE WON WE WON I COULD KEEP WRITING THESE WORKS A MILLION TIMES AND IT STILL WOULDN'T BE ENOUGH…This afternoon the Israeli Supreme Court rejected Arab appeals concerning Beit HaShalom in Hebron, thereby paving the way for our return to the building.
The spirit of Mordechai and Esther continues, thousands of years later. The immense faith of the Abraham family, purchasing Beit HaShalom; the families, with small children and newborn babies who lived in puddles of water, with rain, sleet and snow soaking their freezing rooms, but refusing to leave, under any circumstances; people who supported them, assisting in all ways possible, and so many others, have enabled us, thank G-d, to witness the Purim of Beit HaShalom.
If this is not 'v'naafochu' I don't know what is. Happy Purim from Hebron.
This article does not necessarily represent the views of the Jewish Community of Hebron.