Moshe Kempinski
Moshe Kempinski Courtesy

We are reading the Book of Bamidbar (In the Wilderness/Numbers) but even in our days, traversing the wilderness can be a complicated challenge.

During the weeks preceding the Jerusalem liberation day, Israel was bombarded with dire threats from the terrorists ruling Gaza, the Arab parties in the Knesset and warnings from many other nations throughout the world.

The message was clear and unequivocal" do not have the Jerusalem Flag parade on Jerusalem Day come through the Damascus Gate because it will be seen as a provocation and red flag".

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh warned that should the march be held, it will be confronted with “all means.” Bassem Naim, head of Hamas's department of politics and foreign relations, declared that "I expect that Hamas and the other (military) factions are ready to do all they can to prevent this event, regardless of how much it costs us"

As a result, even among many Israelis ,one heard warnings and apprehension. I was asked several times prior to this day"are you sure that you should be going into the old city today"?

Fear and apprehension can become a contagious disease that can stymie and block someone from growth and spiritual development, Yet all this only occurs when you let that fear overwhelm you and thrust you into a wilderness of despair.

Yet that is not what happened on this year's Jerusalem Day .

Over 75,000 Israelis came into Jerusalem from around the land and sang and danced through the streets and alleyways of their eternal capital .

It was an extraordinary display of faith and courage. The opposition and incidents of friction were very few and minor. In one of the few incidents of scuffles, the marchers walked by the New Gate and suddenly they were pelted by glass bottles. At least one young man was injured slightly . The police expertly immediately stepped in between the two groups . Regrettably some of the young people began to scream “death to the Arabs” but they were quickly quieted down by the rest of the Israeli marchers. And the march continued on its way.

What was the secret of the courage and passion that drew these 75,000 people out of the wilderness of anxiety and fear?

The answer is best defined by a song sung repeatedly on this day.

AsI walked into the old city earlier in that day on Jaffa road, I turned to watch a large group of young people singing and dancing . There were many songs I heard throughout the day , but the song that this group chose to sing as they came through the streets was significant.

It was to be a song heard again and again throughout the day

Am Hanetzach Lo Mifached MiDerech Aruka;

An Eternal People Have No Fear of the Long Voyage:

75000 mainly young Israelis have risen up in faith, courage and joy and marched out of the wilderness of fear .With that stepping out they succeeded to thwart the designs of evil.

It is true that terrorism will attempt to find some cowardly way again to strike out at innocent civilians .We pray that Hashem using the courageous soldiers of our land will succeed in thwarting those plans as well.

The journey of the Jewish people throughout history has been long and arduous, but as the young people of Gush Katif used to sing, “an eternal people have no fear of the long voyage”.

Even understanding this, we need at times to find the strength to walk the long trek. This is especially true as we begin to sense the excitement of arrival and can taste the sweet fulfilment of destiny. We are living in a time wherein many of the pieces of the prophetic puzzle are falling into place. The sense is that we are getting closer.

Yet I also sense that on this Jerusalem day there was a sense of Divine Pleasure in the Heavens.

“Go, and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying: Thus said Hashem: I remember for thee the affection of your youth, the love of your espousals; how you went after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.” ( Jeremiah 2:1-2)

LeIlui Nishmat Yehudit bat Sinai veGolda Yocheved