Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
My name is Nayot Patchnik. These are difficult days, but I am writing to you from the wedding of my brother, Shraiya Cohen and his bride Sarah. We once lived in Gush Katif, and after the withdrawal in 2005 we moved to Nitzan. Yesterday it became clear that he would not be able to get married in Nitzan because of rockets coming from Gaza. On the spur of the moment, we moved everything to Kibbutz Kfar Etzion. It reminded us of what happened at the Bar Mitzvah of my nephew in Sderot on a Shabbat morning when Kiddush was interrupted by a red alert. Or what happened at the brit of our son nine years ago, also on Shabbat, with guests from all over Israel who were not used to availing themselves of mobile bomb shelters and had to quickly learn how that was done.
In the book of Numbers that we begin to read on Shabbat there is a verse that keeps me calm at this time. It describes the travels of the Children of Israel in the desert: "At the command of HaShem they traveled and at the command of HaShem they encamped." (Numbers 9:18) The nation of Israel did not receive an exact plan for their journey. Sometimes they camped in a place for a few days, sometimes for several years, without knowing in advance how long they would be there. But wherever they arrived, the first thing they did was erect the mishkan (portable sanctuary). In other words, above all, do what is most important and most holy. They did not say "later on" or "now is not the time," but immediately focused on what was most important to them in life, without any connection to the conditions or circumstances. We too continue the journey of our forefathers and do not allow our enemies to disrupt what is most precious to us. Against a background of missile attacks and rioting, we will continue to rejoice, to live, to celebrate, and to go forward. Mazal tov to Shraiya and Sarah.