April 07, 2009

Photo of the Week: April 7, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Most of the time, life in Israel is quiet, normal, maybe even a little boring. But it never lasts very long. So when an axe-wielding terrorist entered a nearby community last week and murdered a 13-year old boy and fractured the skull of a 7 year old, we all paused from our routines to cry, mourn, rage, and then attempt to reset our balance. In these moments, Israel doesn't seem so beautiful.

At the Passover seder, we are supposed to relive the exodus from Egypt as if we were personally enslaved and then liberated via God's miracles. It's a valuable exercise in this era of religious freedom and affluence, when we can easily forget our history and take our freedoms for granted. For many of us, however, reality supplants any need for fantasy at the seder.

This is a photograph of an orchard in Bat Ayin in Gush Etzion, where Shlomo Nativ, hy"d, was killed. I drove by the area a day after the attack and noticed the pink blossoms once again lighting up the mountainside, yet their radiance was dulled by the ache in my heart. It's a picture from another time, whose beauty seems marred by the violence which occurred in its midst. There is no question that we must stop and mourn our loss. But our strength as a nation and the true exhibition of our freedom has always been our resiliency, our ability to stride beyond adversity and continue to live in appreciation of nature, of creation, of each and every one of our blessings.