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A special request for a special Shabbat Parashat Shelach

נוי זעפרני זל

* Translated by Janine Muller Sherr

Noy Zafrani was murdered on Simchat Torah at the entrance to Kibbutz Nir Oz. She was the fiancée of Yuval Revia, and she was killed together with him and his brother, Noam.  If you haven’t heard of these three young people, it is due to the enormity of the evil that was perpetrated against us. Noy’s sister, Maor Shaked, describes her sister in this way:

“Noy felt very connected to the Land of Israel. She grew up on the Yishuv of Nokdim and loved to travel around the country; she knew all the songs of Eretz Yisrael by heart. At her Bat Mitzvah, our grandmother wrote out all the songs of Ehud Manor and arranged them in a special binder for her. Noy loved to sing songs from her binder. Every Shabbat, the two of us would sing love songs to our beautiful country with great joy and exuberance.

In this week’s parasha, the meraglim (spies) were sent to scout out the Land of Israel and most returned with a pessimistic report.  Since then, our nation has been haunted by their sin and continues to grapple with the question of how to view our reality--with optimism and faith, or with despair and hopelessness.

One year ago, I was privileged to attend a special celebration.

During the week when we read the story of the Spies, The Buzagolo Family from Dimona invited people to an evening of speeches and songs in praise of Eretz Yisrael. I enjoyed it so much that I told myself that next year I would host this celebration at my house. I hoped that this sweet custom would catch on in other places, as an evening of “tikun” (repairing our past mistakes). But then this unspeakable tragedy occurred.

And this year, when the same week arrived, I decided to go ahead with my plans from last year. I don’t want to repeat the mistake of the ten spies.  They claimed that this is a “land that devours its inhabitants”—which is the source of this terrible phrase. Instead, we would like to relay a very different message: Bring your musical instruments and your songs of Eretz Yisrael and speak words of Torah.
I don’t view this country merely through the prism of politics and the latest news. Our country is fundamentally good.

This year, our land is also saturated with the blood of my sister and of so many of our precious people. But this just strengthens our resolve to protect and love our land and to believe that the chaos we are witnessing now will come to an end.

Shabbat Shalom.”


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