|Rabbi Wilfond’s Message October 27, 2023|
War is hell. This is the most difficult time for the Jewish community since the
Holocaust. Last week I helped to lead a gathering of support for Israel. In
partnership with ten other synagogues of Northern Westchester, over 700 people
gathered at Congregation Sons of Israel in Briarcliff. We were joined by more than
30 local Christian clergy leaders. They came to express their support for the Jewish
community here in Westchester and in Israel. In times like this it is helpful to
receive comfort from true friends.
I was asked to speak about Hatikva. Many people know Hatikva, the national
anthem of Israel. But lesser known is the story of its origin. After the destruction of
the First Temple, The Prophet Ezekiel was charged with guiding his people in a
time of great despair. Standing before a valley filled with bones, a voice of called
out, “Avda Tikvatenu,” Our hope is lost. (Pause…) In actuality it was not lost, it was
never lost. The Jewish people never gave up hope. They held onto hope from
generation to generation. And then in 1878, 145 years ago, Naftali Imber wrote a
poem praising the Jewish community thriving in the Land of Israel. Imber took
Ezekiel’s ancient words about despair and turned them on their heads and wrote
“Od Lo, Avda Tikvatenyu” Our hope is not lost. The hope of 2,000 years to be free,
in the Land of Zion and Jerusalem. These words are the message of Hatikva.
Today we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Od Lo Avda Tikvatenyu.
We will not surrender, our hope. We hope and pray for Shalom, for peace, may it
come soon, when all will sit under their vine and fig tree and no one shall make
them afraid. Our hope is not lost. Od Lo avda Tikvateynu.
Please join me this Sunday October 29th at The Mount Kisco Village Hall at
11:15am to raise awareness about the hostages and to stand with Israel. We are
partnering with Bet Torah and Mt Kisco Hebrew Congregation.
We must act. We must speak out. We must support each other. I hope you will
Rabbi David Wilfond