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One picture: Five generations in the Land of Israel

משפחה חמישה דורות

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

"This seems like a typical picture of a happy family," Hovav Yechieli wrote me, "but if you give it a second look you may notice something unusual. Aside from the baby and his parents, all the remaining individuals are grandfathers and grandmothers, great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers, great-great-grandfathers and great-great-grandmothers of the new baby. All were participants in the Brit Milah of their family's fifth generation.
Beyond the immediate joy of the family, this picture tells a story of lasting national significance.
First, there is a recognition of five consecutive generations living in the State of Israel. In the first years of the state, in the wake of the Holocaust, a child who took a picture with a grandfatther and a grandmother was rare. When my father was little he was embarrassed to tell his friends that he had a grandfather and a grandmother since almost no one else in his class had them. Yet here a baby was born with more than a minyan of grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents combined. Among them are those that, when they were the age of this baby, were living in the shadow of the Holocaust.
Furthermore, we see here a magnificent example of kibbutz galuyot (ingathering of the exiles) since the lands of Morocco, Russia, Poland, Belgium, and the United States are represented among the members of this large family. Such a phenomenon could only have occurred in the Land of Israel."
On Shabbat in parashat Balak we read a blessing for the nation of Israel in these words: "For from their beginning, I see them as mountain peaks, and I behold them as hills." Rashi elaborates on this blessing as follows: "I look at their origins and the beginning of their roots, and I see them established and powerful, like these mountains and hills, because of their patriarchs and matriarchs." Mazal tov to the baby Naveh Ben-Harosh, to the entire family and, in essence, to all of us.


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