Parashat Beshalach (When he sent)
Shemot (Exodus) 13:17–17:16
One of my favorite accounts in God's Word is found in this week’s Parasha. It is a story that has not just greatly influenced me personally, but in many ways, has been a driving force behind the work of Hope for Israel. This blog entry will be slightly different from the ones I've written before, as I would like to make it a little more personal with the hopes it will encourage each of us to reflect upon our own lives and what we do with them.
Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us, and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” And Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
In 2007, I was introduced to a wonderful community, which is situated about a mile away from the Gaza Strip. The people who live there suffered a reality back then of daily rocket attacks. On my first visit, I noticed that the streets of the community were empty; no one was walking around, children couldn't play outside, and in many ways it was “dead”.
I was told that there were many elderly people who lived there and they really needed to have a secure meeting place since, back then, when a rocket was fired at them, the alarm wouldn't always work and even if it did, they only had 15 seconds to find shelter, which is not enough.
Hope for Israel joined forces with that community and we built a secure cultural center for the elderly in the community. I didn't know it at the time, but this was the start of a long-term relationship with this community. Since then, we have stood with this community through the various military “operations” (wars), through the discovery of underground terrorist tunnels, and the latest tragedy of their fields being destroyed from the fire kites and balloons sent from Gaza.
Throughout the years of walking alongside this community, I saw our role as believers as that of Aaron and Hur. We are the ones who came alongside these wonderful people, whose home happened to be right next to the Gaza Strip, who try to raise their families in a very complex reality, and who are also weary of the constant war and terrorism. Like Aaron & Hur supported Moses when his arms grew weary, our role is to help them lift up their hands, and not give up.
Today, this wonderful community is growing and even thriving. Today, you see people walk in the streets, and kids running around playing with each other. Today, you see the border of this community expanding because people want to live there! If before there was maybe one baby born in a year, today we see quite a few. Today we see life and a glimpse of victory.
My dear brothers and sisters, sometimes you may be like Moses, you will get tired and need your own Aaron and Hur to come alongside you and help you raise your hands up, to even find creative ways in order for you to win the war. Sometimes, you will be like Aaron and Hur, and you will need to strengthen someone else. Regardless, when we decide to stand together in Him, there is no power that can stand against us.