Over the course of the past several weeks, we have shed many tears. It has been a very difficult time for our people. Not only have we been forced to say goodbye to family members far too early, we have done so in the face of tremendous hate from the world around us. The arrival of social media has only intensified this harsh reality, like a ray of light cast over a swarm of insects in the dark night. But this ray of light is important, as it gives us perspective and forces us outside our comfort zone. This ray of light reminds us of the sacred things in life and fills us with an emotion we so desperately lack on a daily basis. It has triggered an awakening that calls to our better selves and ultimately brings us closer together. 

In this moment of reflection, I have come to realize something quite profound. We are all well aware of the distinction between tears of sadness and tears of joy. But I have discovered another form of tear, which is neither filled with sadness or joy. It is a tear of pride. And while many of these tears can be assigned to the unity within our government and the heroism of our soldiers, there are so many more tears that have poured down my cheeks, brought on from a less suspecting source. That source is all of you.

I have watched countless videos and read numerous posts, from those who might not normally feel inclined to express such a strong sense of identity and purpose. There is a level of holiness to the words that have come out of your mouths, and it is truly beautiful. With each video I watch and each article I read, the tears march down my cheeks with meaning, seemingly on a mission to lay down the tracks that are the foundation of who we are as a people.

It’s a funny thing. If you don’t live in Israel, and have come to visit, there is this very strange and powerful sense of belonging that overtakes your body when you first step off the plane and down onto this sacred ground that is our home. I have felt this feeling and heard this feeling described more times than I can remember. I believe this feeling is coded in our DNA and goes back to our history and claim to this land that is so clearly defined. I am reminded of our forefathers and the terrible pain and sacrifice they endured to settle in this very same land we are blessed to call home today. I am also reminded of a dying wish granted to a certain someone who was so grateful to only see the land that he would never be able to touch.

And now, this land is prosperous and our country is flourishing. When I read your words, I realize how much you value this fact and appreciate we are the first generation in thousands of years to live the way so many before us sacrificed so that we could get to where we are. You have not forgotten this and you have honored their memories by standing up with dignity and declaring that you will not sit back, you will not be knocked down, and you will not be misrepresented. On a recent visit to Manhattan my 9 year old daughter came over to me and said “the City is cool Daddy, but c’mon man, we have The Land.”

And another tear of pride rolled down those cheeks.

Thank you all for stepping up in these trying times. The more it feels like we are standing alone, the more I realize just how much we stand together.