Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of …

Hebron-Past, Present and Forever
by David Wilder
Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of ...
(Psalms 23)
April 10, 1995
Erev Pesach
     Which  shadow?   The Psalmist, David, King  of  Israel,
wrote, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of d
e a t h, I will fear no evil, for You are with me," for,
"the L-rd is my Shepherd." Is this the key phrase "the
valley of the shadow of death?" There are those who,
perhaps, feel that we are not walking though the shadow of
the valley of death, but rather through the valley of death
itself. The finger points at immanent disaster. Scarcely a
week passes without a massacre, whether it be two, eight or
forty. And the week before Passover, the holiday celebrating
the birth of the Jewish People, the liberation from foreign
bondage, and once again, it strikes again. Names on the
radio, obituaries, funerals, and "condolences to the bereaved
- but the Piece Process must continue!". "The valley of the
shadow of death" or "the valley of death?"
It depends how you look at things. It's easy to see the
black, the void. Is there any good? Is there any hope?
Vision is very subjective. Two people can view exactly the
same event, and see it differently. For example, Bob and Joe
can witness the same auto accident but give opposite
testimony. Why? Not because one is lying; rather because
Bob was looking at driver "A" and Joe at driver "B". Both
told the truth, but it was only a partial truth. However, had
someone filmed the entire event with a wide-angle lens, the
truth would be complete, because it recorded the total
episode. That might be called the complete truth.
This is the way that we must observe what is happening
around us today. But our observance must not include only
today, but also yesterday, and tomorrow, past and future. We
must inspect not only what is happening, but also the goal
behind our actions and reactions. This might not make life a
whole lot easier, but an understanding of what is happening
will give us the inner strength to keep going, at any cost!
It will allow us to govern our fate, and not let present
circumstances to rule over us.
How can we do this? If we look at present conditions
from a perspective of "now" what do we see? We face almost
total despair. Our own government has seemingly abandoned
us, and is using all of the forces at its disposal to repress
us, the "settlers." They have forsaken the Land of Israel,
preferring to see the heart of Israel in the hands of
foreigners, whose only true desire is to see us drowning in
the sea. And they have deserted a heritage over 3,000 years
old, preferring Oslo and Geneva to Jerusalem and Hebron. So
what should we do - get up and leave? Is there any other
This is an example of shortsightedness - Looking only at
today, at the present. What if we look from a different
perspective - from a little farther back? If we go back to
the days of Moses, and our enslavement in Egypt then we can
declare, without any doubt, that their situation was more
difficult than ours. They were in a foreign land, slaves,
without a ray of hope. (And if you pay attention, you'll
notice that after Moses appeared on the scene, things
worsened, before they improved.) And if we go back 500
years, to the days when thousands of Jews were burned at the
stake for not believing and expressing the "truth" as so
asserted by the leaders of the Inquisition, and were then
exiled from their homes in the most enlightened land of that
era, is there any comparison to today's trials and
tribulations. And if we return 50 years in our past, are
words necessary? We were literally reincarnated, leaving
the ashes of Aushwitz to the dream of Eretz Yisrael. How did
the survivors do it? If they had no hope, if they could see
no light at the end of the tunnel, even from within the hell
that raged, they could never have survived. They walked out
of death into life, from Exile to redemption, in the land of
Israel. That is where we are today, in the middle of
redemption, rebirth, after 2,000 years of exile. It isn't
easy to be reborn.
How then, are we to live today? Is all lost? If we
were able to bring back all of those who died because they
were Jews over the last 2,000 years, would they despair?
Would they suggest that we leave our homeland because of the
"Palestinian terrorists" or because of a few sick, despondent
old men who are still hibernating, and are still sleeping the
sleep of exile?
Each generation has a mission. We may be privileged to
have several missions: to return to Eretz Yisrael, to
resettle Eretz Yisrael, and to STAY in Eretz Yisrael, at all
cost! For we didn't return to Israel as private individuals,
but as a nation, a people. Outside of Israel we were groups
of individuals; our national identity was almost totally
obscured. However, today, in Eretz Yisrael, we have the
privilege and the obligation to act as a nation, a people.
This demands sacrifice and hardship. But does it demand more
sacrifice and hardship than that demanded of the Jews of
2,000 years of exile, when they preferred to die rather than
change their religion. How many thousands of Jews suffered
and died for the privilege to remain Jews. Is our sacrifice
greater than theirs? I think not. Are the demands made of
us more difficult than what was demanded of them? I think
not. Rather, for us, it is actually easier. Why? Because
come back to the land of our forefathers, the land of the
dreams of generations of Jews. We just think that it's more
difficult, because we are in the midst experiencing the
hardships. That is why we must view our present in the
prespective of past and future AND NOT ONLY THE PRESENT..
      If we return to the beginning - to the verse "Though  I
Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of ..." which valley
are we walking through? We are walking through the VALLEY OF
LIFE. True, even when we walk through the valley of death,
we fear no evil. All the more so when we walk through the
valley of life.
There are those who say that the eyes of all Israel are
on us, the settlers, in Yehuda, Shomron, and Gaza. I think
otherwise. I think that not only the eyes of Israel are
focused on Kiryat Arba-Hebron - Yesha. I think that the eyes
of of generations of Jews are converged on us, in prayer and
in hope. We shall not disappoint them.

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