Linda Pardes Friedburg
Russian-speaking American Israeli Community-building Mom

Bamidbar & Shavuot — order, Torah, peoplehood

Israeli nature in sync with Torah. Abundant, beautiful, blossoming pomegranate flowers, before the Holiday of the First Fruits. (Photo: Linda Pardes Friedburg)

I made aliyah in October 1990, three months before the Gulf War. I received my gas mask with my Aliyah documents at the airport.

I remember the first sirens, and taking buses back early from my work Tel Aviv every day before the nightly barrage of Scuds began.

I remember my dear musician sister in New York crying in the middle of her concert, when she heard that missiles were landing in Israel.

I also remember the miracles of the Gulf War. 39 missiles from Iraq (the maximum permitted number of lashes in the Torah), thousands of homes and buildings destroyed, 2 (too many) direct deaths. We thanked God and the Patriot missiles from America. “God will wage war for you and you will be silent,” (Shmot 14:14) as we read in the Torah portion during that period, as others fought that war and we agreed not to respond.

The world was slightly less befuddled then about who was bad and who was good.

Today, 2000 plus rockets from Hamas this week, aimed only at civilians, violent Arab Israeli rioters from North to South, and a vicious world media, remind us that the Muslim leadership is not judged unfavorably for its death wish on Israel and the Western world.

Then, like 30 years ago, horrendous Muslim aggression against Jews has nothing to do with rights or real estate. It is our existence that is problematic. Only the excuses are different each time.

I feel like we are being shaken from above, after we were saved from Corona, but still did not manage to get our house in order. As individuals, Israelis express gratitude and do a thousand acts of kindness, but politically we are divided and our message to the world does not acknowledge God’s hand in our successes or our nation’s spiritual destiny.

Today our Iron Dome is still God, and we must be both grateful for the evident miracles, and pray intensely for our lives here. We are being terrorized in our own land not because of a specific group or person alive today, and blaming and hatred will not help us.

We can take wisdom from the Jewish calendar and weekly Parshiot that always inform current events in our world.

Both Parshat Bamidbar and Shavuot suggest we must clearly organize our diverse ranks:

“Each person under his flag and family will camp around the Tabernacle.” (Bamidbar 2:2)

Each member of Israel with their unique contribution, towards a common goal.

“As one person with one heart” we stood at Mt. Sinai — our Torah, values and history are the ties that truly bind us, if we make this our goal.

This morning 59 residents of Ahavat Yisrael Street in Haifa suffered smoke injuries from cars being set afire by Arab Israelis. This made me think that beyond putting an end to the unforgivable violence, we must address the condition of our “Ahavat Yisrael” which is indeed on fire.

Once we reignite our love for our People, our Land, and our Torah, we will know to walk upright and unafraid. Without the reminder of fire from our enemies, we will learn to live and thrive together, as “a nation of priests and a holy people.”

With prayers for a peaceful Shabbat and Shavuot.

About the Author
Linda Pardes Friedburg made Aliyah from New Jersey in 1990. She is Founding Director of Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli National Jewish Leadership Initiative for Young Russian-Speaking Israelis, is grateful for her six kids and one Belarussian husband, and still feels the need to pinch herself every time she drives up the hill to Neve Daniel, Gush Etzion, their home since 1994. OLIM FOR TZAHAL
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