Tag Archives: Yom HaZikaron

Miracles and Humility

art by Laya Crust

This year, 2017 or 5777, we read the Torah portions for Tazria and Metzora on the same Shabbat. Both of the protions deal with the laws pertaining to an affliction called “tza’arat” which is commonly translated into the English word “leprosy”. It isn’t the same as leprosy however. It was a condition that affected people’s skin. But it could also affect their homes and their walls. It was a punishment for certain sins,particularly speaking negatively about another person.

The haftarahs take place during the time of Elisha the prophet. Jerusalem was under seige and the Jews were starving due to fammine. In the haftarah  Tazria, a young Jewish slave recommends that her Aramean master go to Elisha to be cured. Her master, Naaman.  follows her advice and is indeed cured.

art by Laya Crust

The second haftarah tells the story of four lepers who are sent outside the gates of Jerusalem- they are essentially in quarantine. They are starving as are the Jews in the city. They come across an abandoned Aramean camp filled with food, clothing and precious goods. After having their fill of food they tell the city about the camp and this alleviates the starvation.

One element the two stories have in common is that the lowest, most overlooked members of the population are key to saving the protagonists. In Tazria a young slave girl helps an Aramean army captain become cured of tza’arat. In Metzorah four banished men save the people of Jerusalem.

art by Laya Crust

Yom Ha’Atzmaut- Israel’s Independence Day- is a reminder that the smallest can overcome greater forces. Tiny, unprepared Israel overcame huge enemy forces in 1948. In 1967 once again Israel conquered the attacking surrounding countries. It happened again in 1973. These victories were miraculous, and are evidence of God’s invisible help. To recognize that we say the “Hallel” prayers on Yom Ha’Atzmaut. 

The victories, although miraculous, did not come easily or without a steep and painful price. Many lives were lost defending Israel- most of them the lives of young soldiers cut down at the beginning of their paths. The day before Yom Ha’Atzmaut we observe Yom haZikaron and recognize the sacrifices of those who died defending  Israel’s sovereignity and right to exist; and defending the lives of Israeli citizens. Following is an 11 minute film dedicated to those fallen heroes, posted by United With Israel.


Throughout Israel on Yom Ha’Atzmaut there will be barbecues, music, parties and celebration. Light up YOUR barbecue- and celebrate too!

With blessings for peace, Laya


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From Pain to Exaltation

We recently finished observing the eight day holiday of Pesach, a time when we remember the wretchedness of slavery and the subsequent joy of freedom. Pesach was quickly followed by Yom haShoah, a day of memory for victims of the Holocaust. Now, one week later we are observing Yom haZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut.

These two last days are right beside each other. This year, 2016, Yom haZikaron is on Wednesday May 11 and Yom Ha’Atzmaut is on Thursday May 12. These two days are modern observances, introduced to us with the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.

Future Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion announced the founding of the State of Israel on  the 5th of Iyar, which corresponded to May 14, 1948.

s soon as the fledgling country was established its neighbours declared war, hoping to annihilate it. Over six thousand young men and women died, defending their rights to a Jewish State.  Yom HaZikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) is observed the day before Israel Independence Day to honour and remember those who lost their lives defending the barely formed country.

Unfortunately the fighting has never ended. There have been too many wars against Israel and the fighting has never stopped. Each year more lives are lost, more Israeli soldiers killed defending their neighbours and fellow Israelis. Each year innocent Israeli civilians are killed by enemies who want to destroy our beautiful Israeli homeland. We remember these wonderful people and honour them, knowing that they would want us to continue celebrating Israel’s accomplishments and victories.

I looked at the Torah portions we read during these weeks. I was struck by the names of the portions we read the week before and after Israeli Memorial Day and Israeli Independence Day.

Acharei Mot sigKedoshim sig

The names of these two neighbouring parshiot describe our two holidays perfectly  .  אחרי מות “Acharei Mot” means “After the Death”, and קדושים “Kedoshim” means “Holinesses” – or “You Shall be Holy”. Even the titles given to the Torah readings remind us of the modern country of Israel. We are reminded of the people who have died since 1948 defending our right to exist, and our responsibility to cultivate Israel, celebrate and experience Israel, and ultimately to live in Israel, our country.

Below you can watch the incredible acroyoga flashmob “dance ” by the amazing Israeli choreographer Ofir Gothilf. It took place in Tel Aviv’s HaBima Square a couple of months ago. The love of life is so wonderful!!!!

Happy 68th  Birthday, Israel, and many many more!  Love, Laya!

(Below, links about Yom HaZikaron)




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