There is another way our nation commemorates her widowhood. Tonight starts Israel’s Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Acts of Terror. Since the first “olim” (immigrants) started coming back to Zion, through the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948 and till this day, 23,447 soldiers and civilians lost their lives in wars or acts of terror.
Just like on Holocaust Memorial Day, on this day the nation will once again cease all its doings for a moment of silence as the sirens will go off. The home maker by her sink, the driver on the road, even the prime minister will cease his important work – and all will stand in silence. Ceremonies will be conducted in military cemeteries throughout the land.
“You have turned my mourning into dancing. You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,” sings David. And Israel can join these lines, since the moment memorial day will be over, we will begin the celebration of our Independence Day.
And so, in one very busy and emotion filled week, Israel will address its widowhood and orphanhood, her mourning, but also her victory and her rising from the ashes. From the cross to the resurrection.
Not an easy transition. How do you swiftly turn from a day of mourning to a time of rejoicing?
How could the holocaust survivors, who suffered years of hunger and abuse, make it to the Land of their fathers and immediately join the forces to fight for our independence? How were they even able to start new families? Or express love? And choose life?
I often think about life in the camps. What would I have done if…? Why did the prisoners not run towards the fence, knowing they’d be shot or electrocuted, yet at least they would finally know rest? What caused them to hold on to life, day in and day out, when they had no idea, none what so ever, if they will ever leave those camps?
Every year, as we go through this transition from mourning to dancing, our people are given an opportunity to see the spiritual parallel: for two thousand years we were orphans and widows, with no one to manage us, let’s not forget that. But let us also lift our eyes to the future, to the day in which white robes of linen will replace the black mourning clothes we’ve been wearing for generations.
I invite you to pray for us accordingly: that we will rise from our widowhood, that we will recognize the existence of a loving husband, reaching his hand out to us. A God who gave us to the hands of vicious enemies because we have not heeded His voice, yet now is fulfilling the final part of His covenant with us, inviting us to enter His home as a bride enters the home of her husband.
The majority of the people of Israel do not even speak in these kind of terms and do not recognize the real reason for the sword and exile that have come upon us. Pray for our hearts to be softened, that we would recognize the fatherhood of God, and that we will realize He is our Husband. And a loving one indeed.