Come Close to the Wall
Nasser, Egypt's President, declared his intention to lead the Jihad to destroy Israel and push the Jews into the sea. Militarily, the IDF was outnumbered by a ratio of 20:1, proportionally even a larger enemy than we faced in days of the Hasmonean revolt and the battle of Chanuka. The Chevra Kadisha (burial society) in Jerusalem prepared 10,000 body bags for the expected mass civilian casualties, and contingency plans were made for Jerusalem's parks to be turned into cemeteries. Animals in the city's zoo were put to sleep for fear that they might be set free and create chaos in the streets. The Knesset archives and artifacts in the Israel Museum as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls were secured underground, preserved in shelters.
Rabbonim instructed the Tnuva factory to remain open on Shabbos to make sure that they would produce enough milk to feed the population during war time. Thousands volunteered to fill sandbags; talmidim of the Mirrer Yeshiva were instructed by Rav Chaim Shmulevitz to leave the Beis Medrash to assist in the effort. Israel was in a state of emergency, understanding that the dire situation threatened the very existence of the State.
"Yeshuas Hashem k'heref ayin": What took Yehoshua Bin Nun months to accomplish, took only six days; Israel's size tripled, as the IDF miraculously and heroically recaptured Yehudah, Shomron, the Golan, Aza, the holy cities of Chevron, Beit Lechem, Beit El and Shchem, and reunified Jerusalem.
In the wake of the awesome victory, the Jewish world was euphoric, sensing clear Divine intervention and incredible Yad Hashem.
In Shir Hashirim, Shlomo Hamelech describes how Hakadosh Baruch Hu will deal with our enemies who dare attack us at a time of favor (2:7-8): “You will become as defenseless as gazelles or rams in the field…behold it came suddenly to redeem me as if leaping over mountains, skipping over hills. In His swiftness to redeem me… I thought I would be forever alone , but behold He was standing behind our wall, observing through the windows, peering through the cracks of the latticework.”
Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, the Kedushas Levi uses these two descriptions of the way Hashem watches over us to explain the different ways we perceive Hashem's presence in our lives. First, there are times when Hakadosh Baruch Hu observes us "through the windows": moments of clarity where we can "see" Hashem openly, as if on the other side of a glass window.
The awesome victory of the Six Day War 42 years ago was one of those times of clarity. Following the war, Southern front Paratroop Commander Rafael ("Raful") Eitan remarked that, "...Apparently someone in Heaven was watching over us... every unintended action they took and every unintended action we took, always turned to our advantage." There was no mistaking that victory was God-sent, that we were witnessing open miracles.
There are however, other times, where it is more difficult to sense the Ribbono Shel Olam. Nonetheless, explains the Kedushas Levi, it is upon us to remember that Hashem also “watches us through the cracks of the latticework”: we can not "see" beyond the wall, but are assured that Hashem is always there. In those times of hiddenness, when Hash em is "peering through the latticework" we remain under the constant watchful "eye"- we can't "see" Him; but Hakadosh Baruch Hu is always watching us.
It is easy to see someone though a window; one can even gaze from afar. But in order to see a person watching you through a "crack in the latticework", one must come up very close to the wall and look carefully into the crack. Only then, when we peer deeply into that space, can we see that there was someone on the other side of the wall, watching us the entire time...
Yom Yerushalayim is a day of celebration and thanks where we reflect on the miraculous salvation and open Hand of God. We are also able to strengthen our awareness of Hashem's presence in our lives, so that in times when we face difficulties- personally or on a National scale - we will remember and encouraged that we are under the constant Hashgachas Hashem. As the complicated and sometimes painful process of Redemption continues to unfold in stages, we must draw strength from the knowledge that Hashem is always with us, watching over us and directing the course of our lives, even within the confusion and concealment.
The Six Day War is not a distant historical event for us to 'remember' or 'commemorate'; it is a defining moment in each of our personal lives, where a major step toward the ultimate restoration of the heart and soul of our land and Nation took place.
On Yom Yerushalayim, when I stand at the Holy Wall after a long day of celebration, I rest my head in its cracks, and am able to see clearly that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is right there, "peering through the latticework." I feel blessed to have been born into the final generation of exile and the first generation of Redemption, and pray, that with Hashem's ever-present Hashgacha, we will merit the next stage of Mashiach, with the complete rebuilding of Yerushalayim speedily in our days.
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