I wrote this blog months ago, and never felt it was the right time to publish it..until this week. This week when a Chayal is under investigation for ensuring the safety from a terrorist after the terrorist attacked another Chayal in Chevon. Chayalim have the scariest job in the world. And they deserve out respect- EVEN if you think they might have made a mistake. And definitely don’t get me wrong- I don’t think he made a mistake. And no one should judge him or anyone else unless they wear that person’s shoes. Worry about yourselves and your actions. And leave the judging to GOD!
It was September 30th. We had only moved to Israel one month before. I was so excited to visit Chevron (Hebron). It would not only be my kids’ first time there, it would be mine also.
My in-laws had tickets with the Chevron Fund, but due to a family simcha (happy occasion) in America, they wouldn’t be able to use them. They knew I’d never been, so they happily presented them to us. And we were thrilled to accept them.
You see, this was before the so called “knife-intifada” began. Only a few days before. This was when we were still living in a fear-free time. Naively.
Although the current terror wave hadn’t started up yet, Chevron was a dangerous place. A hot zone. We had Chayalim on all sides of us as we traveled into a section of Chevron that is off limits to Jews except 4 times a year. If you ask me, I could’ve done without that part- and had I known how frightening it would be, I would definitely not have brought my kids into that section- that was the most scared I think I may have ever been. Literally surrounded by people that hate us. The hatred was visible in their eyes. The booming sounds to scare them back and not hurt us were deafening. We were so grateful to the soldiers that were protecting us as we made it to the destination to pray at the graveside of Othniel ben Kenaz. (You can read about him here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Othniel)
Going with the Chevron Fund tour was perfect as we had a top notch, famous tour guide, Simcha Hochbaum. His son playing guitar with the whole group singing was an added bonus. (To learn more about their tours, visit: https://hebronfund.org/tour)
When we made it to the main part of the tour, visiting Maarat Hamachpela, my heart quickened. To walk up the steps where Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah are buried, was so much to take in. It was difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that we were literally walking on the ground where our forefathers walked.
Do you realize the enormity of living in Israel? The place where all the events in Bible took place? Yes, we walk all over Israel and so many events happened all over. But there’s something different about Maarat HaMachpela. And for it to be my first time there was so special.
After praying at the graves, we were treated to front section tickets to a lively Lipa Shmeltzer concert! My daughter was so cute when she said, “It’s fun to be a VIP!” And Lipa didn’t disappoint! The kids had so much fun as they danced along to the exciting music. Listen here:
Yes, I am so happy we went to Chevron when we did. Because not even two weeks later the terror began. So many of the terrorists came and continue to come from Chevron. We probably passed a few of them while we were walking through. It is a sad truth that we can’t visit Jewish Holy sites for fear of being attacked and/or killed.
I pray that one day soon, we will be able to walk on the streets and pray in any place we deem holy, without any fear. I hope that our visit to Chevron was the first of many, and not the first and last.