Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shalom Lekulam!

It is almost with a sense of disbelief that I am writing this blog. It is 08.27am on the morning of Tuesday the 18th October 18, 2011 and in just over half an hour, Gilad Shalit, a young soldier imprisoned in Gaza for the last almost 5 years, (1940 days) should be freed. There have been so many rumors; “Is he alive?” “If he is alive, what condition will he be in?” “Who is on the list of prisoners to be exchanged?” The whole of Israel and the world with her are holding their breath. What a historic day. And, what an appropriate moment; at the moment we are celebrating Sukot, a time of joy and celebration and of gathering in. At last Israel will be able to ‘gather in’ her long lost son. I would also like, at this time, to honor the families who lost their loved ones to the hands of those who are being released as I am writing this blog. The pain of seeing their son or daughter, mother or father, friend or relative’s murderer going free must be excruciating. All I can say is that they may be free from the prison bars which held them, but they are in no way free from the justice of HaShem the perfect judge…… The news flash is that an Israeli officer has just met Gilad. Only a few more moments….. In the light of the breaking news, my news seems insignificant. I had a great beginning of Sukot with my family. All of my brothers, their families and my sister were at my parent’s house. It was a very noisy affair, (9 small children!!!), but we had a fantastic time. Tomorrow evening marks the end of Sukot and the beginning of Simchat Torah, which means “rejoicing over the law.” Each week in synagogues around the world a portion of the Torah (1st five books of the Tanakh, i.e. the law) are read. This week sees the last reading of the Torah being read, before starting again next week. There will be lots of singing, dancing and a special blessing said over the Torah. Another time of great joy for the nation. Anyway, you will have to excuse me; I am just off to see what is happening with the exchange. I wish you a joyful and peaceful end of the week. Chag Sameach! Gil Pentzak, Ulpan Aviv - Director

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