by Rabbi Moshe Kempinsky
This is a country in waiting.  We are waiting for the beginning of the war between Iraq and the Americans.  We are waiting to
see if Saddam still has the capabilities to attack us here.  We are waiting to see what the Hisbollah is planning in the north.  We
are waiting to see what the Palestinians think they have in store for us in the streets.

Waiting can be very nerve wracking.  It can lead to depression or to rage with feelings of impotence.  On the other hand it can
be a time of preparation, both spiritually and physically.

One detects an increased urgency by many people to outfit their Secure Rooms.  There are more plastic sheeting being bought
and the lineups are longer at the gas mask depots.  Yet there seems to be something else afloat as well.  There is a sense of a
greater turning inwards.  A concern for the heart and soul of our loved ones seems to be superseding the physical concerns.

There is something oddly reassuring that the piles of masking tapes and batteries in the shopping cart are dwarfed by the piles
of chocolate and cookies.

It reminds me, eerily, of a story told about my father, of blessed memory.  When we sat shiva after his passing away, one of
his army buddies shared with us one of their army experiences.  He told us about their ordeal on Hill 69 in the Negev during
the Israeli war of Independence.  My father's unit had been told to hold that hill and to try to block the advancing Egyptian
army.  They were a small group of soldiers who had been fighting for days.  At one point they began to realize that they were
running low on amunition.  As bullets were whizing over their trenches my father pulled out some chocolate and began handing it
out to the others in the trench.  They told him that he was crazy ... that now was not the time for chocolate.  He explained to
them that they had done what they could, life and death are in the control of the Higher Authority.  He told them to take a
piece of chocolate, say a blessing and enjoy the sweetness.  He and the others in the trench were destined to enjoy chocolate
for many more years.

The Israeli army has done much in preparation.  Some of the preparations are clear to the eye.  There is much more that has
been prepared under the surface.  Unseen but secure.  So now we wait.

Waiting is not new to our people.  We have been waiting for a very long time.  We waited through the Roman conquest,  the
inquisition and through the Crusades.  We waiting through the years of the Holocaust and waited through the wars of Israel.
What has kept us throughout that period has been an ongoing relationship with our G-D and our Destiny.

Something else has been helpful as well

There are people that are waiting for some future event and their whole life is fixated on the desired event.  There are others
that are fixated in the past and what might have been.  We are people who have learned to be rooted in the past and striving
for the destined future but have not lost the ability to live the Now.  To taste the sweetness of the moment.  Every step we
take with our G-D and every stride we take with our family and loved ones are appreciated in the Now.

That is the lesson of the piece of chocolate in the trenches.

That is the lesson in a faith so rooted in the doing.

That is the strength behind the waiting.

moshe kempinsky (
A project of Shorashim of the Old City - Tiferet Israel # 3 - Jerusalem 97500 - Tel:  011-972-2-628-9729
Jerusalem Insights # 401, A journal of insights, stories and torah thoughts from Jerusalem's Old City
Return to Eretz Yisrael Page