Cancel a Trip to Israel?
by Rabbi Aron Moss
We are scheduled to fly to Israel in two days. I want to cancel. With these horrific stabbings and shootings and terror, I feel irresponsible taking my children into a warzone. My wife, ever the believer, says "So where is safe, Paris? Bali? Brooklyn? When your time is up, it's up." Am I being unreasonable or is she?
There are certain moments in life when you have to take a stand. This is one such moment. Your trip to Israel is not just a holiday, it is a statement of who you are and what you believe. By staying home, you don't avoid terror, you become another one of its victims.
The terrorists' strength does not lie in their weapons, their land or their numbers. It is in their conviction. They have unflinching belief in the justice of their diabolical cause. And they are emboldened in the knowledge that many of their enemies lack that conviction.
When world leaders equivocate and cower in the face of evil, evil is bolstered. When the people of the world retreat to their politically correct hiding places in fear, then the terrorists win.
But when average people like you and me continue to live proudly according to our beliefs, and walk the streets unashamed of who we are, then goodness can win.
In this battle of wills the Jewish people must lead the way. And we are. We had one such victory this week.
Sarah Litman and Aryeh Bigel of Kiryat Arba, Israel were supposed to get married this past Tuesday. But their plans were shattered when, while driving to the pre-wedding celebrations, their family car was shot at by terrorists. Sarah's father and 18 year old brother were killed, her mother and five other siblings age 5 and up were wounded.
During the seven days of mourning, the couple announced that rather than cancel the wedding, they are moving it to next Thursday. And they printed a new invitation, inviting the entire Jewish people to attend their wedding, to celebrate life in the shadow of tragic death, and to send a clear message that Am Yisrael Chai - the Jewish people will always live on.
It is customary to include a biblical verse on a wedding invitation, usually something about love and marriage. But Sarah and Ariel's invitation has the following quote:
"Do not rejoice over me, my enemy, for I have fallen but I have gotten up" (Michah 7:8)
It is this conviction to live as proud Jews no matter what, to bring joy no matter what, to build a family no matter what, that will outlive the evil of the world. We pray that our leaders should have the clarity and conviction of that 21 year old bride.
There's no better time to go to Israel. You have a wedding to attend. That will be an experience your children will never forget. And they should never forget who they are, members of the eternal people who may fall, but will always get back up.