Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A friend's letter to his children

Dear readers,

Despite the fact that many are confused about what is right and wrong, some people know heroism when they see it. My freind Pinchas is one of them. He wrote this letter to his kids and after reading it, I asked if I could post it. I hope you enjoy it and are inspired by it, as I was.

"Just want to let you kids know about the warriors among our people who live and fight for our right to be in Hevron. I spent the Shabbos with a family originally from Staten Island. The neighborhood that this couple live in is along a road which makes up a strip of approximately 1.5 to 2 miles. The strip starts out at the eastern entrance of the cave of Machpella and extents to the top of a hill that endswith the gravesites of Yeshay, the father of David Hamelech, and Ruth. Near the Holy site of Ruth is about 10 trailers. In these trailers are about 10 families that have lived in trailers for 20 years now because the government wouldn't let them build permanent structures out of fear of upsetting the local Arabs. This strip of area, approximately 20% of the whole of Hevron is Jewish controlled, which has a soldiers stationed about every 50 feet from each other. Additionally, there are soldiers that stand on rooftops to survey the area. The Jewish area is low area compared to the surrounding Arab homes built onthe hills in every direction. Most of the buildings however are rubble, orabandoned, due to army activities against Arab murderers that shoot at Jewsfrom these buildings.

Although 30% of the Arab population has left Hevron because of the on-going conflict, the government won't let the Jews populate the abandoned buildings that the Arabs have left. Were the Government to allow this, the Jewishcommunity would grow 10 fold. As I entered my hosts neighborhood, a sign on the wall caught my attention, piercing my heart.

"On this spot 10 month old Shalhevet Paz was murdered", by an Arab terroristwhile playing with her father. A bullet pierced her head, and lodged in the leg of her Father standing nearby."
Although one cannot see Shalhevet's blood, one can sense the pure Jewishlife that was extinguished on these holy stones. The Paz family to defy the evil that was done to their lives, moved into the house overlooking the spot where their daughter was killed, and has since had two beautiful children. When the Paz's look out their window, one can only imagine what the theythink. Instead of diminishing the strength of their souls, they have only becomemore resolved to cling to Hashem and his land, at all costs.

Behind this spot lies the Avraham Avinu shul. This shul was founded by Jews from Istanbul, Turkey who walked by foot from Turkey to the Holyland to live on the land where Avraham, our Father, pitched his tent. If you remember from the Torah when Avraham left his Father's house, he traveled to Shechem and then to Beit El, but had to leave for Mitzryim because of the great famine that was throughout the land of Caanan at that time. The Torah says when he returned from the land of Mitzryim he went to Hevron, and for the first time since entering the Holyland the Torah says, 'Avraham pitched his tent in Hevron'.

Hevron was the first Jewish community in Israel. Jews have lived here from biblical times until1929, when Arabs massacred the Jewish community. The British collected all the remaining survivors and wounded of the Arab massacre, and removed them from Hevron. Instead of punishing the Arab murderers, the British just stood-by and then chose to punish the victims with removal from Hevron. My Hashem avenge this evil. Now there was a Rabbi Frankel (I believe this to be his name?) who grabbed the Torah from the Avraham Avinu shul before the Arabs burnt it, and as he walked past the British soldiers busy evacuating the Jews, he yelled out,"In the future we will return to this place, and you will be gone from here, G-d will not let evil stand forever". Rabbi Frankel's pray came true in the early 80's after another interesting story.

In the center of the Jewish area is a building called Beit Hadassah. This building was purchased by one of the earlier Lubavitcher Rebbes. Inside this building the Arab animals raped a room full of women and young girls, and killed others, including the two chief Rabbis.

In the 1980's when not one Jew lived in Hevron, Rabbi and Miriam Levinger with others entered this building against the orders of the government. The government did not take them very seriously, and instead of removing them physically, decided to wait them out by refusing to give them water or electricity, thinking that these foolish religious fanatics would not last very long. Miriam Levinger and her family, true warriors of Hashem, stayed in this building without leaving for 9 months, even giving birth inside the building. The government finally gave in, and allowed Jews to begin reclaiming property of the massacred victims.

When the Begin government finally consented, the second building the Jews reclaimed was the Avraham Avinu Shul. The Jordanians had removed the small dome in the center of the roof, and used the shul for their animals. Arabs often convert our Holy places to animal pens, and bathrooms out of hatred for us. This behavior as revolting as it is, never earns International condemnation, and unfortunately our own people forget, turning a blind eye to this inconceivable behavior. The dung in the shul made it almost impossible to even enter, but these Jews cleared out the garbage, and repaired the shul.

During the inauguration, this same Rabbi, now in his old age carried the Torah Scroll he saved from the Arabs, and I was privileged to see this majestic Torah standing in the Aron Hakodesh. This 500 year old Torah scroll had been carried all the way from Istanbul bythe early settlers, survived the Arab pogrom, and finally returned to theshul as Rabbi Frankel promised to the British soldiers.This Torah is read once a year on Yom Kippur. There are now 88 families living in Hevron. It's the custom of the residents to take turns talking to the soldiers, and bringing them snacks all hours of the night. One solider is now laying in the hospital unable to walk, after a terrorist blew apart his legs, just 2 months ago.

Despite all the difficulties, there is the knowledge that lying in the cave of Machaphela is our ancestors. There are no people on earth with such a treasure, to have the burial grounds, and connection to their original Fathers and Mothers, all in one location. Hashem should free us from the suffering of this exile, to fulfill hispromise told to our Prophets, that he will return his face to Israel, and restore us to our original glory.
Today we have the opportunity to fix what our ancestors failed to do in the desert. They spied out the land, and did not wish to enter. May we merit through the righteous Jews who have sacrificed their lives to ensure that every inch that a Jew stands, an Arab cannot, that Moshiach come to redeem us from the anguish of this exile.

Love you kids,


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