Israel Stories

Friday, September 02, 2005

A Journey to the Promised Land – Pesach 5765 - 2005

“Why are we leaving”, Shimon pleaded, “its nice here, bit hot in the summer but we have shelter, food, water, in fact we have everything”. “Look,” his wife replied, “were leaving because my parents said it was a good idea”. “Look love, do we have to do everything your parents say, we should be able to make our own decisions.” “What did you say about my parents,” she shouted. “Nothing, its just”, he stopped to think, he was losing and he new his next words could be his last, “I like to make the decisions, but its an excellent idea of your parents, I mean, leave safety and shelter to follow some old man into the desert to find the promised land, great idea, masterful.” “Well that’s settled then, we leave tomorrow, but tonight we have to prepare something to eat. My Dads cooking a lamb and has invited us and all our family.” “Our family”, Shimon said slyly, “or your family?” “You like my family, don’t you?” she glared at her husband. “Love them all,” he replied diplomatically. “My mother said before leaving we should spruce the place up a bit, make sure the new occupants won’t get the wrong impression of us.” “I know what we can do,” Shimon mumbled “splash a bit of blood on the door, that’ll give then the right impression”. “I heard that!” his wife hissed.

The meal was more pleasant than Shimon expected. The food was good, even his joke about blowing up his house after they vacated was met with rapturous laughter, except he wasn’t joking. If he was leaving his house to cross the desert to the Promised Land he was doing it with the knowledge that all his hard work, blood, sweat and tears was not for some Egyptian to enjoy.

Shimon’s youngest son suddenly piped up,”Daddy, can I ask you a question?”, “of course son,” “Daddy why is this night different from all other nights?” The room went silent. Shimon looked at his son and replied “son, our people have always been traveling, just when we seem settled something happens and we’re on the move again. It seems that until we settle in our own land and not somebody else’s, that’s the way it’s going to be. Tomorrow we leave here to cross the desert. When we reach the Promised Land we’ll be safe and secure, nobody will be able to tell us to leave or force us to move again.”

The following morning the sun rose high over the desert as they prepared to leave. As soon as the family was away from the house, Shimon returned and blew it up. He was depressed as he crossed the Sinai desert; he hoped the future would be better.

His wife, knowing her husbands mood, tried to comfort him. “Shimon, don’t be sad we’re going to a better place, where we’ll be happier”. “I know, love”, he replied “but I’m really going to miss our town, Yamit was such a lovely place.”

They arrived in the Promised Land but Shimon was inconsolable. Yamit was his life, his ideology everything he believed in. Suddenly his wife burst through the door, “darling I have some fantastic news”, she cried “the government want to relocate us in a beautiful spot by the sea. The land is good for agriculture, the view is magnificent, and it’s away from the cities”. “Sounds fantastic,” Shimon replied enthusiastically,” what’s the name of the place?”

“Gush Katif!”

Note: Yamit was one of the Israeli settlements in the Sinai vacated as part of the Begin - Sadat Israel -Egypt peace deal at the end of the 70’s. Some of Jewish Gaza, was settled by people from Yamit and the Sinai.


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