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December 1, 2015 / 19 Kislev, 5776
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The Battle for Eretz Yisrael, Then and Now


At 6 PM they waited at the fence for the electricity to be turned off, in order to cross into hostile territory. Yossi held in his hand a map of the minefield they would have to cross. “It was so strange,” Yossi thought, “this is the area assigned to the tribe of Naftali, and we have to enter it crawling on our stomachs.”

At 6:15 PM the small aperture in the gate opened and they passed through. As they had hoped, it was raining and the thick fog was to their advantage.

At that moment, ten thousand kilometers to the west, it was 12 noon and Yossi’s two cousins in New York were just entering the mikva to prepare for the Pessach holiday.

The 4 soldiers reached hill 432 after walking double -time for 5 kilometers. They removed the camouflage and settled in, pulled the grassy cover over them.

Each soldier was assigned a direction. Talking was forbidden. If any murderers were sighted, a light tap on the shoulder would bring them all to the proper direction. After settling in, they prayed ma’ariv and began the seder. In was finished within a half hour, and not unexpectedly, the four cups of “wine” had no detrimental effect on their senses.

At 6 PM in NY, the family returned from shul to begin their seder. It was then 12 midnight in Eretz Yisrael and the four soldiers were waging a heroic battle against boredom and sleep. The minutes crawled by and at the first approach of light they exited their outpost and returned through the minefield and electric fence to the base. After reporting to the officer in charge, the four entered their tent, and collapsed on their cots without removing clothing or shoes, because in an hour they would have to begin the shacharit service.

In conclusion: As the holiday of Pesach approaches, and we recall in a more active way the redemption of the Jewish nation from the galut of Egypt, I sincerely wish all a chag kasher v’samayach. And may we all meet together very soon in Eretz Yisrael, when HaShem will close the door on our religious, physical and mental slavery in the 2000 years in galut.

About the Author: Rabbi Nachman Kahana the spiritual leader of Hazon Yichezkeil a member synagogue of Young Israel (Yisrael Hatzair) in the Old City of Jerusalem. He has founded the Institute for Talmudic Commentaries (המכון להסברת מפרשי התלמוד) through which he has published “Mei Menuchot” (מי מנוחות - Restful Waters) a Hebrew elucidation of the Tosafot commentary on several tractates of the Talmud. He is the authror "With All Your Might" of a new series of Shabbat drashot .

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