Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Merav Shulansky, a Jewish Agency emissary in Argentina, wrote me the following last night:
“We have been in lockdown for 117 consecutive days, and no flights are leaving from here. Despite this, 44 new immigrants from Argentina landed tonight in Israel! I do not believe I am writing this sentence since we went through so much along the way. Among this group are those who planned to go to Israel in March but the corona changed their plans. However, they did not give up. They had already sold their homes and left their jobs so they simply sat and waited. There is a woman whose spouse was already in Jerusalem and she is joining him now. All the arrangements and coordination with Israel have been made, of course, through Zoom. Every difficulty that came up only increased the longing and the desire of these new immigrants to make it to Israel. Because there is a total lockdown in some of the areas where they lived, just getting to the airport in Argentina was nearly impossible since the roads are closed. But they finally arrived in Israel, albeit by a circuitous route, after taking all manner of connecting flights, and now they are at last in isolation in an Israeli motel.”
This week’s Torah portion is parashat Matot-Massei. After the words “these are the journeys of the children of Israel,” the parasha lists the 42 places where our forefathers camped during their journey through the Sinai Desert. The Baal Shem Tov explained that every Torah portion is not about history but about what is happening in our own lives, such as our many journeys, whether enjoyable or not so enjoyable, along the way. All of us – including the new immigrants from Argentina – can gather strength from this week’s parasha to successfully meet the challenges we face in our journeys through life.
Bruchim Habaim. Welcome!