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Be strong!

חזק חזק ונתחזק

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])

After 80 challenging days, after more dear soldiers have fallen, we need strengthening. And now this coming Shabbat when we finish the book of Genesis, the shout of “Be strong, be strong, let us strengthen ourselves!” (Chazak Chazak VeNitchazek) will be heard in synagogues throughout the world.

This ancient custom compels us to examine the past, look into the future, and find inner strength, especially this year.

Chazak Chazak VeNitchazek — on the completion of the book of Genesis. Ever since Simchat Torah, the weekly Torah portions have taught us so many lessons. We learned that man was created in Gods’ image, that our father Avraham began a journey that we have been on until today, that we have struggled with Yishmael for over 3,000 years, that it’s possible to exchange strife among brothers — as exemplified in the story of Yosef and his brothers — for brotherhood, and that it is possible to build on the heritage of previous generations that are no longer with us.

Chazak Chazak VeNitchazek — to always go forward. To never get stuck. To continue reading the book of Exodus in which we go out from slavery to freedom, receive the Torah, become a nation that is a beacon of light to the entire world, and journey to the Promised Land, which is our land, even if holding on to it requires a constant renewal of strength.

So we will say this on Shabbat morning in the synagogue, but we can say it to ourselves this morning too: Be strong, be strong, let us strengthen ourselves.

May everyone hear good news.


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