You Turned my Mourning into Dancing

עם ישראל חי

“The nation of Israel lives” –
this is what the script says. But the image says it all

We are now in the midst of a week of commemoration days, telling well the history of modern Zionism. The first of these was Holocaust Memorial Day, and tomorrow we will remember the fallen among our soldiers and terror victims. Once this commemoration day is over (Monday at sun down), Israel’s 69th Independence Day events will commence. During the day, various ceremonies will be held throughout the land, especially in military cemeteries, in memory of those young lives that were cut down in their prime. Monday morning a siren will be heard throughout the country, and we will all stand at attention in their honor, and as darkness dawns, Independence Day celebrations will begin.

In human perspective this seems like something inconceivable. How can you switch, from one moment to another, from an entire array of difficult feelings, painful ones, so powerful, to joy, dancing and fireworks?

There is something spiritual in it, as only God can breathe this upon a human being. He is the one that can turn our “mourning into dancing” (Ps. 30:11). Striped robes are never the end of the story. They testify to the deep pit we are in right now, but it is only a temporary suffering, that will eventually turn us into valiant heroes who fulfil ancient prophecies.

Rivka and Bracha singing together

Rivka W. is another holocaust survivor God brought to my life. Bracha, a friend from Holland, joined me during my last visit to see her. Bracha has a special tender spot for Holocaust survivors. She dedicates much of her time and resources to comfort them.

At a certain point during our conversation, Bracha held Rivka’s hand and began to sing a peaceful song to her. The change that took place in Rivka’s face touched me deeply, and it reminded me how God can turn any mourning into dancing.

Rivka and Bracha singing “Oseh Shalom Bi’Mromav”

[“He who establishes peace in the heavenlies, He will establish peace upon us, and upon all of Israel, and let us all say Amen. Let Him establish peace, let Him establish peace, peace upon us and upon all of Israel”]

What caused this immediate change in Rivka’s facial expression? A house visit, a listening ear, a hand holding on to her weary and wrinkled hand, and a chat with a “Ruth” whose heart is full of love to holocaust survivors, a Ruth that came to tell her: “I am with you. We are with you. We are so sorry for what our people inflicted upon you, and we remember”. We cannot undo the horrors these wounded souls have been through, but sometimes seeing their bitterness turn into joy is just as simple as that!

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