Triumph in the Face of Despair

On the eve of Purim, the celebration commemorating the deliverance of the Jews from Haman’s plot, it is most important that we leave the comforts of the palace and hear the cry of Mordechai and others like him who are mourning.

One week ago, this beautiful family, the Fogel Family (mother, Ruth; father, Udi, Yoav (11); Eldad (4) and Hadas (3 mos)), were brutally murdered while sleeping.  Three of their children survived (Tamar (12); Roi (8) and Yishai (2)).  More details of exactly what happened can easily be found on the web, including photos of the crime scene.
The family decided to release the crime scene photos so the world could see the brutality inflicted.  I chose not to include those, indeed I cannot bear to look at them, although I have caught glimpses, and I ask the same question I asked when I first studied the Holocaust, “How could such evil persist?”  I look at these faces and I see no difference between them and my family.  I look at Eldad (bottom center) and see my son Aaron.  I look at Hadas (bottom right) and see my daughter Naomi.  The parents could easily be me and Bruce.  The only difference is that we are here in the USA, and they lived in Itamar, a settlement in the West Bank.

But wait!  Aren’t settlements illegal?  Didn’t they put themselves at risk by living there? 

Settlements are perfectly legal and are in no way an obstacle to peace.  The main obstacle to peace is the Palestinians refusal to accept the legitimacy of Israel.

Myths & Facts about Jewish Settlements

Back to my question, “How could such evil persist?”  How could a human being pick up a three-month-old baby girl and slit her throat?  The same types of questions were repeatedly asked in the aftermath of the Holocaust, and the most consistent answer was that the perpetrators saw the victims as something less than human.  I’m sure the Palestinian who picked up Hadas did not see a precious baby, but a pig, which is in line with how they are taught to view Jews.  My prayer is that eyes would be open to the truth.  That all life would be valued.  That those who perpetrated this horrific crime would be brought to justice, and, in the spirit of Golda Meir’s* sentiment, may the Palestinian people learn to love even more than they hate, and may both the Jews and the Palestinians come to know the love of Messiah Jesus.

“I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear.  I will rid the land of wild animals and keep your enemies out of your land.”  Lev 26:6

The Purim celebration begins with a fast, then the reading of the Megillah (the scroll of Esther), and then concludes with an all out party.  Interestingly, in the entire book of Esther, God is never mentioned, but it is explained that He worked behind “masks” (behind the scenes), so it is customary for children to dress in costume, but rather than going door-to-door collecting treats, they go door-to-door giving treats!  The adult celebration is quite wild, and it is actually required to get drunk! It’s really a carnival atmosphere, and it is so amazing that the Jewish people can press on and celebrate in the midst of such tragedy.  That is such a testimony of hope in the faithfulness of God to His covenant.

Let’s join them as they celebrate this weekend, and pull ourselves out of the challenges we face and triumphantly celebrate God’s mercy and enduring love.

*Golda Meir’s actual statement: “we will have peace with our neighbors when they learn to love their children as much as they hate ours.”

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