by Rabbi Moshe Kempinsky
Sunday evening began with a mass prayer gathering at the Western Wall.  The evergrowing segment of Israel's population that would not succumb to the pressures of a generally hostile world view or to the fatigue of unending battle were gathering together
for strength.  Thousands arrived at the Western Wall heeding the calls of former chief rabbis, Rav Avraham Shapira and Rav Mordechai Eliyahu.  Several hundreds decided to take their prayers to the now monthly march around the gates.  There was a
sense of gathering in order to recieve strength and spirit for the struggle yet to come.

Those that speak about a possible civil war do not know these people.

These people will not raise an arm against a brother.  Yigal Amir is the perfect proof.  The fact that over these long years of
struggle and threats he remains an anomaly is a very vocal testimony.  An exception that proves the rule!  These people were not preparing to act violently.  They were girding for a struggle that would be principled and based on faith and belief.  They are
getting ready to stand at every street corner and petition every contact.  They are preparing to cling to their homes and their families.  They were getting ready to welcome the many thousands who will join them in Gush Katif, should the need arise.

As I stood at the prayer gathering and read the psalms and heard the shofars and the silver trumpets cry out their painful sound,
I found myself  being uplifted and torn between feelings of sadness and destiny.  Sadness over the fact that we are still doing these things to ourselves or letting others do it to us.  The sense of destiny related to the fact that after thousands of years I was standing in my state praying at the closest spot to the Temple mount declaring my allegiance to my people's destiny and future and to my
commitment and faith.  I was standing there for the many millions before me that could not.

Around me stood many groups of people:  soldiers, yeshiva students, and many fathers and their young children.  All of them seemed to be wracked with the same emotions that I was experiencing.  Their cries to the Holy One - Blessed Be He pierced the darkening sky.  I left the wall, though, with a sense of not having achieved completion.  I wasn't sure what was missing but I
sensed a feeling of something unfulfilled.

We walked quickly to Zion square to join the mass demonstration that had already begun.  Tens of thousands of protestors opposed to the expulsion of Jews from Gaza and northern Shomron had arrived in downtown Jerusalem and were calling upon Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to either back down from his plan or to hold new elections.

There was an electric feeling in the air.  This was not a demonstration of despair or hopelessness.  It was a declaration of resolute
faith.  That spirit shot through the massed crowds and people began to smile at each other.  That place in my soul that had previously felt empty was quickly filled with sheer magnitude of the gathering.

Noam Namir, a young girl from the threatened community of N'vei Dekalim, spoke for everyone there when she addressed Prime
Minister Sharon,
"How could you threaten to throw me out of my home in Israel, after my grandmother was expelled from her
home in Poland, my grandfather was thrown out of Spain, and my father was exiled from the Sinai town of Yamit?  I don't
know how any Jewish soldier or police officer could bring themselves to throw my family and me out of our house!  How will they be able to listen to such an order?"

I began to understand more clearly an old segment of Rosh Hashanah.Torah I had once learnt and had heard again most recently
from Rabbi Sholom Gold.

Whenever the Biblical text uses the word "HaYom, The Day", it either refers to or insinuates the day of Rosh Hashanah, the day
of judgement.

The most obvious usage is in the Torah portion we read just prior to Rosh Hashanah, Parshat Nitzavim;

Deuteronomy 29:9
"You are standing this day (HAYOM) all of you before HaShem your G-D;  your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, even all the men of Israel,"

We see it again in one of the more obscure references in Kings II chapter 4:11-13:

"And it fell on the day (HAYOM), that he (the prophet Elisha) came thither, and he turned into the upper chamber and lay there.  And he said to Gehazi his servant:
"Call this Shunammite.'  And when he had called her, she stood before him.  And
he said unto him: 
"Say now unto her; Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care;  what is to be done for thee?  wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host?"  And she answered: 'I dwell among mine own people.'"

Beyond the plain meaning of the text our sages learnt an important lesson from this encounter.  Elisha turns to this woman on
Rosh Hashana day and asks her if he should intercede on her behalf with the King.  In this case we are referring to the King of
Kings, to HaShem.  She answered that it would be unnecessary  as she declares, '
I dwell among mine own people.' That is I stand
before my King from amidst my people.  It is from that position I draw my strength.

The greatest strength an individual has as he turns in prayer before his Heavenly King, is when he does so with and on behalf
of his people.

The gathering at Zion square  reinforced that sense.  We stood before the world.  We stood before the rest of Israel.  We stood
before our Creator united, for the sake of one another.  Each of us amidst our people, for our people.

That truth is invincible.

It is with that truth we will enter into this year's Day of Judgement.

moshe kempinski
A  journal of insights, stories and Torah thoughts from Jerusalem's Old City 
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