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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Gems of Israel

While I was working on my computer today, a man from the local city council came to install a beeper in my house. Though Beit El-proper has a loud speaker which makes important and emergency announcements for people in town, it is neither particularly easy to understand (it sounds a lot like Charlie Brown's teacher), nor is it powerful enough to reach the mountaintop neighborhood in which I live. This beeper will provide us with the ability to stay well informed when we need it most.

I struck up a conversation with the installer, asking this friendly man with a flowing white beard where he was from originally. I suspected he was from South America, recognizing his accent from numerous pleasant encounters with Jewish doctors from South America in my Israeli medical plan. I was right - he was born in Argentina. However, he said, his family was originally from Lebanon - his grandfather went down to South America to be the Chief Rabbi in the early 1900s. The Succat David yeshiva in Jerusalem was subsequently established in honor of this man's grandfather, who was a noted kabbalist in his time.

"You have some great roots!" I told my guest. "Baruch Hashem" he said, modestly. He then proceeded to explain the beeper device to me, how to check it, and how to know if the message was for an emergency or just for some important information.

How great is the nation of Israel! Even the seemingly ordinary Jew you encounter at your doorstep may have a close and personal connection to the secrets of the universe, to excellence, to nobility, to divinity. Surely this should remind us to judge the Jewish people and their fledgling country for the good - just scratch the surface, and you discover priceless gems wherever you look. Indeed, we should only feel optimistic about the future of these great people in the land of their fathers.

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