Israeli Values Religious Voices

Letter 32 - Rabbi Hadas Ron Zariz

To the State of Israel and all its inhabitants,

When I get lost and cannot find the right words, between rebuke and inclusion, between looking in the present and holding on to the hope and imagining the future, between soft words and difficult words, I truly wonder: What is the power of words nowadays?!

In “Bereshit Rabah”, it is written about the words: “and it was very good”, referring to the story of creation, that God was creating worlds and then destroying them, until he got to a world he was happy with. This is a privilege that only God enjoys. Us, humans, we have one world, one Israel, one life. 

The struggle in Israel today revolves around the dilemma: Is it time of war or time of construction. Disassemble or connect. Is it time for destruction or time for building together?

I have building tools, including the tool of discourse and the tool of listening. 

My parents fought in the “Palmach” (pre Israel military unit), and afterwards they let go of the weapons and chose building tools. They built a Kibbutz in the Negev desert all by themselves, while choosing a life of justice and equality. Only later I learned about the numerous mistakes they made along the way, but still, they believed full heartedly in the value of building together.  

The fourth of the seven marital blessings say: “... who created humanity in His image…and made for them an everlasting establishment….”.

We cannot build an everlasting establishment unless we include all people who live here with us. The new immigrants, the Arabs, Israeli born Sabras, members of all tribes, the different opinions, shades and colors. Is it possible that at the foundation of our shared home there will be people who are homeless and without any rights?!

From the Torah portions dealing with the “Mishkan” (Temple), we learn that the Mishkan was built on voluntary giving, on a sense of belonging and the desire to take part: “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give“ (Exodus 25, 2).

Our Mishkan in Israel, cannot exist based only on a building or only on laws. In order to fill it with spirit, it must be based on kindness, sharing, diversity, pluralism and wide open windows.

As we face the menace of destruction, I choose to continue, to believe and to act for building our Mishkan, together.

With love and hope,

Rabbi Hadas Ron Zariz

Rabbi Hadas Ron Zariz is an Israeli Rabbi, one of the founders of Hamidrasha in Otranim. She is a teacher, facilitator, spiritual guide for pastoral caregivers, and a co-Rabbi of a community in Kibbutz Yifat.

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