I remember the first time it hit me, the value and fragility of Klal Yisrael, Jewish Peoplehood. It was the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin (zl’) in 1995; I was studying at Haifa University. Jews from Israel to North America and around the world reacted to the assassination in shock and grief. No one knew what would be next. Soon enough questions were asked: Who did it? Was it an Arab? A Jew? What would happen to the government? Would the Peace Process survive? What would be tomorrow?!
13 years ago today (11/4), Yitzchak Rabin, Israel’s first native Prime Minister, is remembered; a Jew who dedicated himself to his people, to defending his land, and to peace and co-existence.
We read in Genesis 13:17 God telling Abraham: “קום התהלך בארץ…”, “Arise, walk about the land”; I read it as – get to know yourself, live a little, experience life, then go forth and reveal your purpose. Rabin indeed walked the land, tilled it, defended it, and knew just how precious its existence is. Soon his life’s journey brought him to a purpose no one thought existed – living in peace. Signing a peace agreement with King Hussein of Jordan, in 1994, Rabin explained: “Your Majesty, We have both seen a lot in our lifetime. We have both seen too much suffering. What will you leave to your children? What will I leave to my grandchildren?”
Like Avraham Avinu, who went forth, leaving all that was familiar to him behind, so too Yitzhak Rabin pursued a path not taken before. Let us find the strength to do the same, to get up and go forth – at times to a place we may not know with our minds, yet recognize with our hearts.
“od loh avdah tikvateinu…”