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Your Grave Awaits

By Tamar Yonah
8/16/2009, 12:00 AM

It's Saturday night here.  I just got back from a funeral.  Walking to the grave to bury my friend's mother, we passed many graves that were prepared and waiting for future use.  Looking at all these not yet occupied graves, I thought to myself, "Here is where it all ends. 

(This is a photo of a grave off the internet. I of course did not take any pictures myself.)

This is what waits for us all. All we take with us is the mitzvoth and good deeds that we do in this world while we still have the gift of life.

I am looking at the talk backs below in my previous blog post and all the misunderstandings between people, sarcasm, fear, etc. that one finds there.  Folks, let's concentrate on doing good, spreading goodness, being kind and loving, and give the benefit of the doubt to each other before clawing at each other's throats.  How much time do we have on this earth anyway?  Life is a gift.  The TIME we have on this earth is everything and I know I need to use it more wisely.

So do you hate me?  Are you angry with me because I believe that the safest place in the world for Jews will be in Israel?  Are you angry because I truly worry about people's safety and don't want a repeat of all the past tragic history our people have suffered in different host countries of the world where they also thought "It won't happen here"? 

You know, we were really prospering in Egypt when Yoseph (Joseph) was the Prime Minister and served the Pharoah.  Joseph saved Egypt from starvation, and we came to live in Goshen and sank our heels in and started living great. Things were really good! Yet even with our glorious contributions to Egypt with a former Jewish PM saving the country from ruin, things turned sour. It ended up that the Jews were put into harsh slavery, saw the horrible murder of our Jewish male babies and were cast into a future of a living hell. No one thought it would happen. But the good life all went south, as slowly, we were lulled into slavery without even realizing it, and then it was too late.  Pharaoh also closed the gates of Egypt on us and wouldn't let the Jews leave. Lesson learned? Apparently not.

Move up in history: We were doing great in Persia, the Jewish echelon were invited to the King's palace for a banquet and even kosher food was served. What an honor! We even had a Jew in the White House (sic) - Esther was married to the King! I mean, what could go wrong???  And then one day it all flipped around.  Anti-Semitism was on the slow cooker, and then the temperature was turned up and the next thing you know, notices were given to kill all the Jews, from babies to the elderly.  Boom, just like that. The Jews were scratching their heads wondering how this could happen!

Then there was  the golden age in Spain, Jews were prosperous, well to do, had Jewish schools and synagogues all over, and some even worked for the King and Queen as their advisors and/or  government officials. The Spanish / Iberian Jewish community remained the most important in the world especially with the decline of the Academies of Babylonia.  

Let's not forget Germany.  Germany was the most cultured and hip country in all of Europe.  Berlin was the city that swung.  Poets, philosophers, artists, homosexuals, and cabaret people sat at cafes smoking their cigarettes and philosophized about the world.  Life was good for Jews, especially those who assimilated and were just as German as the Germans.  In fact, they called Berlin the 'New Jerusalem'.  So how could anyone imagine that the most liberal, hip, sophisticated and cultured country in Europe, end up gassing Jews and burning them in ovens?  If you would tell the Jews of that time that this would happen, they'd call the men with white coats t come and take you away.

And now many Jews persuade themselves that nothing will happen to their good life in America, and that America is 'different'.

I watch trends.  I watch the headlines and the news, and I read the Tanach and what it says will happen if we follow, or don't follow the Torah.  I am also the daughter of a holocaust survivor, so I listen and am sensitive to the signs that I see.  I remember my father telling me that when he was a boy, that Jabotinsky, who came to warn the Jews that Europe was on fire and that they should leave and make aliyah, was banned from synagogues for being an alarmist. No one wanted to listen, because no one wanted to leave their comfort zones. It's hard, I realize it, but folks, the world is now on fire again.  it's not a blaze ...yet.  But once it does become a blaze, it will be too late.  Too late.  Too late.

So?  So I warn people about what is happening and what may happen to Jews if they stay stuck in the Exile.  Does that make me evil?  A nut case?  An alarmist?  Or does it make me someone who really cares and is trying to shake you awake from the deep slumber and denial most Jews have today regarding their future in the Diaspora? So I ask them, beg them, to come home to Israel.  If this is my crime, then so be it.  We are all sooner or later going to end up in the grave.  What will you take with you from the deeds you did in this world?  Will you go to shamayim (Heaven) saying you rejected the Land of our inheritance, the Land of Israel, our home, because you were too busy on the treadmill of life, running, running, running to work, classes, appointments, stores, and then to sleep, and then back to it again the next day?  What are you grooming your children for?  So they can grow up and go to a university and get an education so they can in turn make a lot of money and buy into the materialistic world and get up on their own treadmill and run like a rat, and then prepare THEIR children, your grandchildren, for the same? Do you really LIVE, or just EXIST?  Why is one's bank account more important than their future and their future generations?  Have we so succumbed to the materialist culture of the West that we have forgotten the true meaning of life? 

What is important, I mean REALLY important to you, that you would be willing to change your life for?  Or is leaving your comfortable life's routine and changing your life too hard for you?  Will you choose to stay behind in Egypt and die there, or follow that old 'crazy', alarmist and revolutionary, Moses, and march into the wilderness for the Promised Land? What would you have done if you lived at that time?  I think if it was me, I would have thought, "I don't know what awaits me in the wilderness, and I am scared of leaving everything I know in Egypt, but I know one thing, and that is, that whatever happens if I go, good or bad, easy or hard, I want to entwine my destiny with the Jewish people.  I want to follow what G-d says is best for me.  I am going to march forward, though I am scared, though I know not what awaits me, because I am a Jew, and that's the life I shall chose to live, - with my People!"

I will say it again, we are all sooner or later going to end up in the grave.  What will you take with you from the deeds that you did in this world?  Will you be happy with the life you chose to live, or will you kick yourself that you didn't break out and do what you truly knew what was right and good?  Your grave awaits.