Still Small Voice – Iyar 7th 5783 / April 29th 2023

Dear Friends:

News flash:

Our 10th grandchild has arrived and the house is full of ‘oohing’ and ‘awing’ by friends and family. The wee one is a beautiful 4-kilo boy with a full head of hair; his proud parents are Dan and Shelly, and he is their second son.

Your comments are most appreciated and thank you for praying for Israel and her diverse people at this crucial time.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”

Romans 12:15

This is another week of tears in Israel; but this time it is followed with great rejoicing.  First, every mother and father in Israel whose children served in the Israel Defence Forces have memories. Our Day of Remembrance for the fallen is a time to listen as families tell the stories of their irreparable losses. 3 of our sons have experienced the military here, and all 3 returned home when some of their buddies did not. 

When one falls in Israel, we all feel the loss because we are a family nation, despite what it may look like on the outside. One mother Orna, sits on her son’s gave-side mourning the loss of Gadi, who fell at age 19 in the Givati brigade. (Our eldest son David served in Givati, a combat unit.) She is 76 this year and for the first time in Israel’s history, her request is for the politicians to stay away from the Military Cemeteries and give the grieving public some relief from their endless rhetoric. She told a reporter at the Jerusalem Post: “Is this our holiest day?” 

She is opposed to the planned list to her son’s cemetery by National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Givir. “This person did not serve, did not wear a uniform for a day, never stood in an honor guard for fallen comrades – what does he have to do here? It hurts me to say this, but I speak from the depths of my heart. But look at what is happening in this country today, God help us! At this holy place everything needs to be holy… these are our children. We need only to hear the birdsong and the siren, that’s all and not to desecrate this place for heaven’s sake. Is it that hard to understand? When you are told not to come, don’t come!”

Photo: Joshua Rawlings after completing the 6 months of basic training in the Paratroopers Brigade.

Herzl Halevi, Chief of the Israeli Defence Forces: 

“Memorial Day drives a deep connection between the personal and the national. This year, especially amid tensions, we must focus on personal remembrance as we wrap ourselves in the deafening power of silence and unity. We unite with our loved ones who have fallen in battle. The pain of loss echoes the pain of many families in Israel. Mourning has no address; it may knock on the door of any family whose sons and daughters serve in the army.” Our homeland will soon celebrate 75 years as a modern nation.”

At sunset, after the 24-hour period of national mourning, a change sweeps in. Young and old throng the streets, flying Israeli flags, banners and balloons. They throw streamers, shoot off fireworks, eat, sing, dance and rejoice. The following day, there are so many barbecues, the smoke can even  be seen from outer space. Well, Israel is the original nation of barbecues is it not! On that note, you might take a moment or to read our Scroll of Independence.  (Declaration of Independence) 

The Sabbath:

Now, it is time to gather my thoughts and prepare for Shabbat! Our son David reminded me of when he was a child, and how he loved Fridays at school. That was when the children learned the entire process of making little hallot (shabbat breads). They baked enough to eat on the spot and proudly carry the rest home to their families. 

“The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

Mark 2:27

These words of the Savior remind us that the Sabbath day is a gift; a blessing to all of mankind. We discovered it here in Israel, to be just that! We found it to be one of the loveliest gifts the God of Israel created for His people Israel and the world. After the six days of Creation, God rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath as a memorial of Creation; the 4th commandment is in perfect harmony with the teachings and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath. It is a foretaste of our eternal future in God’s kingdom. It is also a perpetual sign of His eternal covenant with His people. Joyful observance of this holy time from evening to evening, sunset to sunset, is a celebration of God’s creative and redemptive acts. Gen. 2:1-3; Exod. 20:8- 77; Luke 4:16, Isa. 56:5, 6; 58:13, 14; Matt. 12:1-12; Exod. 31:13-17; Ezek. 20:12, 20; Deut. 5:12-15; Heb. 4:1-11; Lev. 23:32; Mark 1:32.

Although the world is still blind to this truth; what a gift and blessing it is to those who take this rest. Israel is absolutely unique in that as much as possible, the nation calms right down and a spirit of quietness and rest covers us all on Shabbat. We look forward to this celebration. It is a time for refreshing, reflection, worship, Bible reading, family visits and feasting. Even the animals were granted rest by their merciful Creator.

Music for Shabbat: Enjoy!

Shabbat Shalom.

With love from the Meridel Rawlings and the Family.