Rabbi Katz’s Israel Reflection

(originally published September 12, 2022 / 16 Elul 5782)

I had the privilege last month to go to the Holy Land, Israel. My excitement prior to this trip is not something that I can explain. Almost every Jew loves Israel. Every Yid knows that his home is Israel. Everyone feels excited coming home. I did prepare for this trip by making copies of prayers that I wanted to say at some of the holy sights. I made a great itinerary to cover my family’s six days in Jerusalem and six days in in Tzfat in the Golan Heights. Finally the day came that I boarded the airplane. I couldn’t close my eyes despite sitting the entire time. My kids asked me how I had patience sitting on one place so long? I realized that excitement makes a person a different person. And, I guess my kids did not see my excitement. I finally reached Ben Gurion Airport. I am so excited to finally be in Eretz Yisrael, I suggested not to take a car service to Jerusalem, but to take the train instead. The train service between the airport and Jerusalem is about four years old. I haven’t been to Israel in over 10 years, so I wanted to experience this modern service.

While waiting at the station for the train, I met a soldier with a gun. I asked him to take a picture with me, and he agreed to. But to my surprise, when I got to Jerusalem, I didn’t see many soldiers or army trucks such as I have seen on my previous visits. I was in different parts of Israel during this visit and I expected to see more army trucks, soldiers and high alert security as I have seen in the past, but it just wasn’t like that. I must say that this brought me much happiness, and turned out to be the highlight of my trip. Children who wake up in the morning seeing soldiers and army trucks have more difficulty growing up with stability. Children and adults walking on the street being escorted by soldiers or army trucks doesn’t show the stability of a country. A stabled country, a stabled city, is able to keep out of view necessities that have to do with war or security. Thanks to the Almighty that His eyes are on Israel, as the Torah says, and so Israel has become a stable country, and Jerusalem has become a stable city. Yes, it’s true that Israel has a very good economy and has beautiful buildings and structures and that Israel has some of the best technology, but all this don’t make a place stable. Stability is walking on the street without soldiers. Stability is when children come home from school without seeing army trucks. Of course the people who keep Israel safe don’t sleep, but their presence isn’t obvious. Stability is seeing people greet tourists visiting a stable country, such as Eretz Yisrael.

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