Esor Ben-Sorek

Farewell 5779 — Welcome 5780

On the last Shabbat of the year 5779 the Torah portion of Nitzavim reminded us of God’s advice, “Choose life that you may live” and again “Choose the blessing or the curse”. In simple words God has placed the choice into our hands. We alone are responsible for the results of the choices we have made.

Whatever decision we make it will be our responsibility. No one else can be blamed. And certainly, not God.

I am beholden to the words of the great prophet Isaiah whose message was read in this week’s haftorah, chapter 62, verse 1, Book of Deuteronomy (D’varim).

“ L’maan Tziyon lo echesheh u’l’maan Yerushalayim lo eshkot….”

“For Zion’s sake I will not be silent and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be still.”

The powerful prophetic words spoken more than 2500 years ago are yet meaningful to us in our days.

We, the citizens of the State of Israel, cannot and must not remain silent. Silence is the choice we need to avoid. Only the power of our united voices can tear down the walls of hatred, bigotry, unkindness, selfishness and political egoism. Sadly and tragically they have become part of our country and our society.

Our would-be leaders must fully understand that they do not serve themselves or their personal needs. Rather, they serve the people of Israel who have given them the power to lead us. Not just some of the people. It must be ALL the people, Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of our State reborn in the Holy Land of our birth.

The State itself is our wife but Zion and Jerusalem are our mother. A man can divorce his wife but never his mother. She. like Jerusalem, is eternal.

How often we recite the words of the prophets to the children of Israel in exile in Babylon ! Especially on the sad day of the 9th of Av.

“If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let me forget the use of my right hand. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember thee; if I do not raise up Zion and Jerusalem above my chiefest joys.”

Every Jewish groom recites these words at his wedding before smashing a glass with his foot, symbolic of the smashing destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE by the armies of Babylon and once again in 70 CE by the might of Rome.

No place on earth is more sacred to Jews than the city of Zion which is called Jerusalem. For 2,000 years dispersed among the nations of the world, too often despised and persecuted, we never forgot Jerusalem. Its name is mentioned in the daily blessings over the food we eat . We pray for its re-birth and glory.

On the Passover holiday at the seder table we conclude the reading from the Haggadah with the words:

“L’shanah ha baa b’Yerushalayim”. May we next year be in Jerusalem, our holy city, city of our life and our love.

It has long been my personal choice to defend Jerusalem with my words. For the sake of Zion and Jerusalem I will never be silent. I will never be still. My words will fly on the wings of eagles across the lands, seas and oceans of the world.

I will take up arms against those who seek to banish us from the City of David. And I will pray for God’s curse upon members of our Knesset and government politicians who fail to defend our righteous claim to the city from which Zionism took its name. It is the capitol city of the Jewish State, shared but never again divided.

The year 5779 is passing away. 5780 is about to be born. Let us together welcome it warmly. Let us strive together to serve our beloved country in the words spoken by the ancient prophet Isaiah.

Do not be still. Do not be silent. Lift up your voices that your good wishes reach the highest of heavens.

Do it l’maan Tziyon v’Yerushalayim… for the sake of our beloved Zion and Jerusalem.

This is my greatest wish for the New Year 5780. Brucha ha baa. Blessed be her welcome. She comes in peace and in love.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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