There is no greater testimony to seeing a miracle with your own eyes, than if there are many witnesses to confirm what you have just experienced. I have many witnesses to one of the most life changing experiences I have had during my lifetime, which was to make Aliyah with my family on Motzei Shabbat of Parshat Lech Lecha 23 years ago from Johannesburg, South Africa.
I refer to a previous Blog where I was confronted in my driveway by three armed robbers (who I refer to as G-d’s messengers) 23 years ago and I was staring down the barrel of a gun. He and his friends wanted my car, wallet, watch. At that moment, since I never had experienced anything quite like it before, and never since; did I realize that this must be a strong message meant just for me – to take my family and make Aliyah.
As it turned out, we are happy we made the move, and thank G-d for all he has done for our family. And also a big thank you to El Al Airlines and the State of Israel who paid for our trip. That was nine one-way tickets – myself, my wife and our seven children – that were free of charge as long as we stayed a minimum number of years, which we qualified for.
In fact, all of us, at one time or another, experience events which confirm that G-d really does run the world. This past Shabbat was also 9/11 in Israel. For those of you unfamiliar with what I am talking about, in the US, September 11, is written as 9/11, with the month before the date. While in Israel, 9/11 is November 9, where the date is written prior to the month. Hence, this past Shabbat, Parshat Lech Lecha was really 9/11.
And to further confirm these two figures, Parshat Lech Lecha on the Hebrew calendar fell out on the 11th of Cheshvan. So if we only use the two days from the two calendars without the months, we have another combination of 9/11. Since these numbers repeat themselves again, this must strengthen the case based on my previously mentioned example from Shoftim where words which repeat themselves in the Torah have a significant meaning.
Since that fateful day on September 11, 2001, the term 9/11 immediately brings back memories of those planes hitting the World Trade Center Twin Towers. But why not the same for the Pentagon Attack or Flight 93. Obviously, it must be because we all saw it live unfolding before our very own eyes. The first plane – American Airlines Flight 11 -had already hit the North Tower, but then to actually see the second plane- United Airlines Flight 175 – approach and explode in a ball of fire against the South Tower, was something we will never forget.
Then there was also American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon, and of course Flight 93. Those terrorist attacks also were not seen as they happened so they also did not have the same impact on all of us, as did the Twin Tower attacks.
But to all the families who were affected by these vicious attacks, each and every life that was lost or person that was injured was just as important to them and obviously had an effect that they will never forget.
Israel and 9/11
So how can it be that the same numbers used to identify the worst attack on US soil, also identifies the Shabbat of Parshat Lech Lecha.
And I think the answer is contained in the lessons we learned from the actual 9/11 attack itself. Every one of us was affected one way or another by the news of the 9/11 attacks. Every one of us felt the pain of those families who suffered from the loss or injury of loved ones. We were united in thought and prayer at that moment. We wanted to know more about those people and families who suffered, and we will never forget that fateful day.
My Three Melachim (Messengers from G-d)
So an attack like 9/11 is something everyone can feel, but what about an event like making Aliyah with my family and seven children. Of course, unless you are a member of my family and experience it first hand, it does not have the same impact.
But that was the decision I made after being hijacked or car jacked as some would say. I was facing a life threatening situation that turned out to be a massive Blessing in Disguise. Those three melachim appeared at a time where I wanted to consider taking my wife and children with me, but as I mentioned previously, I just didn’t have the courage to do so. But when those Melachim came, I got the message quite clearly.
I also previously mentioned my grandson who was given a 2% chance to live or another grandson whose life was also in danger when he was an infant. The Chozon Ish and his book entitled “ Faith and Trust” helped provide me with the strength and knowledge to know how to cope when face with such situations and challenges.
9/11 in Israel – Looking At The Good Israel Has To Offer
I must therefore declare that Israel is a country that is unique in many ways, and has provided our whole family the ability to strengthen our Yiddishkeit and allowed all my children to decide who they want to be and to do so by seeing what being a Jew really means which they witness constantly.
Just like it says, when the head of each tribe was called upon to explore the Land of Israel, they were supposed to look at the land and what Israel can provide, but instead, the report came back as negative. That caused the people to panic that Israel was a bad place to live.
Experiences Making Aliyah
There are many stories from the time we made Aliyah that convince me my choice to make Aliyah was the correct one for myself and our family, who do confirm that is the case. But just from what I can remember of that Motzei Shabbat Parshat Lech Lecha are worth repeating-
“Will The Final 10 Passengers Kindly Board The Plane?”
That was an announcement over the loudspeaker from the gate where our El Al flight was getting ready to depart. And we were nine of those ten people. The plane was scheduled to leave a few hours after Shabbat came out. We lived around a 30 minute drive from the airport but since our house had been sold, we stayed at close relatives who drove our family needing one car and one mini-van to accomplish the journey.
We still had to get through security upon arrival at Jan Smuts International Airport as it was called in those days. And then the dash was on for our boarding gate, as we hurried the children along the aisle of the airplane to find their seats. And of course, as we were getting settled in suddenly some passengers showed up with things the children had dropped in their haste to keep up with the family.
Landing in Ben Gurion early the following morning together with luggage and an additional 26 cartons filled with items we would need at the Absorption Center
In the early hours of the following morning, we went through security and passport control before heading upstairs to begin the process of becoming Israeli Citizens. We would be issued with our ID Documents known in Hebrew as “Tehudat Zehut” and then would complete other paperwork. It was roughly 4 or 5 am that morning and the offices were staffed with personnel ready to help us with this process.
But perhaps the most important thing my wife and I remember was the care and concern each of those staff members had for all of our children. They were very tired from the trip, but that first day on Israeli soil was a very pleasant experience for them and gave them a very nice feeling that perhaps their new home is going to be a special place.
And so it was, that with all paperwork complete and our new ID documents in hand, two mini vans loaded with all 26 boxes, and our other luggage were waiting to take us to our new home at the Absorption Center in Mevasseret Zion just outside Jerusalem. It was the only one that could house our large family.
This story can continue with many more stories but I want to focus on the original point of this Blog.
I would like to think that my encounter with my Three Melachim is similar to what took place at the beginning of Parshat Vayeira where Avraham was sitting outside his tent on the third day of his bris. The most painful day, so G-d sent three melachim messengers to find out how he was. Each of those messengers had a separate mission to accomplish, for one angel does not carry out two missions. One informed Avraham that Sara would give birth, one to overthrow Sodom and one to cure Avraham.
In my case, there were also three men, who accomplished the same mission of convincing me that G-d was sending me a message. This was the exact opposite order of what took place in the Torah, with G-d telling Avraham to Lech Lecha in the previous Parsha and then the Angels show up in the beginning of the following Parsha.
Whereas because G-d does not speak to us directly, I am convinced it is these out of the ordinary occurrences that take place today through which G-d sends us messages. In other words, there is usually no warning, but because they suddenly happen out of the blue, I believe they happen for our own good.
And that seems to explain why the term 9/11 in Israel has taken place on this particular year, I want to go even more deeply than that using Gematria-
I pointed out previously that the year 2020 reminds me of a phrase I would always hear in the US when I had my eyes tested, that my vision would be considered perfect with 20/20 vision.
This year on the Hebrew calendar, 5780, when adding the numbers up, also equals 20.
And now the term, 9/11 again adds up to 20.
So maybe the conclusion that we can all draw from this is that this year we have seen many strange things taking place that we never thought could take place, prime examples being in US and UK Politics where those who show dislike for Israel and Jews are becoming more vocal.
And Israeli Politics, where the results of the election to choose Prime Minister, has been at a stalemate for many months now.
There are many other examples in such areas as Sports which I also have pointed out in past Blogs that seem out of the ordinary and run counter to past norms. It is therefore my feeling that this coming year with G-d’s help, will resolve the problems and questions that we are now faced with.