This week, Jewish People around the world will read Parshat Bamidbar. Bamidbar which means ‘in the desert”, begins the fourth book of the Torah: The Book of Numbers.
Much of Bamidbar deals with the aftermath of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt and the giving of the 10 Commandments on Mt Sinai. In vivid detail, Bamidbar recounts the forty years of wandering in the desert, depicting all the trials and tribulations experienced by the Children of Israel including their tumultuous experiences on their way to the Promised Land.
There were many dangerous and threatening moments during this formative period for the Israelites. Many times, this fleeing mass of humanity experienced formidable challenges and deep-seeded crises of faith.
But ultimately, they overcame all the obstacles and fraught moments, conquered their fears and trepidations and finally reached the Promised Land.
Over 3,000 years later, the Children of Israel have returned to their ancestral homeland and established a flourishing modern state in this old/new land. But this journey has also had a myriad of challenges – both past and present – as we have witnessed in the tragic events of this past week, when once again deadly violence broke out in the skies overhead and throughout the countryside, cities and towns.
The International March of the Living stands shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart in spirit and commitment with our Israeli brothers and sisters, even as they huddle in bomb shelters across the land. We long for an end to hostilities and pray that peace descends on all inhabitants of the region.
Like our ancestors of old who braved the desert winds for forty years, we will brave the winds of whatever lies ahead, and we will never give up hope for a brighter future for Israel, for the Jewish People and for all humanity.
Shabbat Shalom & Chag Shavuot Sameach to each of you, your families and All Israel.