Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Meir Shalev, noted Israeli writer and political columnist, will be laid to rest tomorrow. Perhaps he will be remembered most for the speech he wrote in 1996 for Ezer Weizman, President of Israel at that time. Weizman delivered the speech before the German Bundestag and excerpts from it, which may serve as "food for the road" at the conclusion of Pesach, follow below:
"Every Jew in every generation must see himself as if he was a member of every generation that preceded him. My people have been on earth for two hundred generations, although this time seems to me like only a few days.
Only two hundred generations have elapsed since a man named Avraham arose and left the land where he was born for a land that would be his and is mine today. Only two hundred generations elapsed between Avraham's purchase of the Cave of Machpelah in the city of Hebron and the murderous terrorist attacks that may occur there and elsewhere in the Land of Israel until today. Only two hundred generations elapsed between the pillar of fire that guided us in the desert and the fiery furnaces of the Holocaust. And I, born from the offspring of Avraham in the land of Avraham, was present in all that my people experienced throughout all those generations.
I was a slave in Egypt, I received the Torah on Mount Sinai, and together with Yehoshua I crossed the Jordan River. I entered Jerusaelm with King David and was exiled from there with King Tzidkiyahu. By the rivers of Babylon, I never forgot Jerusalem and I dreamed that I would one day rebuild its walls. I fought against Rome and was exiled from Spain, died a martyr's death in Mainz during the Crusades, studied Torah in Yemen, mourned my family slaughtered in Kishinev, was incinerated in Treblinka, rebelled in the Warsaw ghetto, and finally immigrated to the Land of Israel -- the land where I was born, from which I was exiled, and to which I have returned.
And just as all of us have lived through every event of our perilous past, may all of us take part in the building our glorious future."