Pesach – 18.04.2011 A.D. (cont.)

After God decided to shock all of the Egyptians by killing the first-born of every Egyptian family, human and beast, he finally ‘allowed’ Pharoah to release the Israelites to…. the large inhospitable desert! Thank you sooo much!
So, the Israelites packed up everything that they owned (which couldn’t have been too much for they were slaves, weren’t they?) though apparently they took off with a substantial amount of gold and jewels from the Egyptian treasury, they set off towards the Red Sea.

There is an argument as to where the Red Sea is and it is thought that the Red Sea is now better known as Yam Sof, which translates from the Hebrew as the Reed Sea. But be it as it may, the Israelites with their aging leader, arrived at the sea and are now trapped between the sea and the pharaoh’s army. Apparently he had a change of heart again (and I’m sure that God had nothing to do with this) and he decided to leave his palace with his large army in order to slaughter the Israelites. Ah, this was a good opportunity for God to show how wonderful he is again, again. And so, now trapped between the large body of water and the bloodthirsty Egyptian army, the Israelites turn in desperation to Moses for help. He in turn looks up for help from God who, after a while decides to step on and save the day again, again. The water parted and allowed the Israelites to walk safely in the path now reveled by the partition of the water. You must admit, it must have been a beautiful sight! And just to drive the point home he ‘allowed’ the Pharaoh’s army to follow the Israelites into the water in order to catch them. But God then closed the water on all those soldiers, who were only doing what they were commanded by their chief, and they all drowned.

God truly is a wonderful, forgiving and benevolent being!

The parting of the Red Sea

Saints, Devils and Weddings, Oh My!

Putting aside Ancient Egypt, Pesach and history for the moment, the beginning of this week certainly had a lot to offer. First, on Friday was the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate, which I was told was nice. I didn’t watch it myself because, frankly, I don’t care!, but surprisingly many Israelis did, along with many others around the world.

Kate and William tying the knot

Of course this was followed by the ceremony that brought John Paul II closer to sainthood. John Paul was Beatified (meaning he will now be known as the Blessed John Paul) before many Catholics on the Sunday. There are those who claim that it was too soon since he’s only been dead for six years, but apparently there were enough people, including the current pope, Benedict XVI, who want to see him a saint during their lifetimes.

Blessed John Paul II (Soon to be Saint John Paul II...?)

Let’s not forget that last night Obama had declared to the world that following a military mission, Osama bin Ladin, the man who was responsible for many terrorist attacks, including (and probably his most shinning moment) the fall of the twin towers and the death of over three thousand people, has been killed. As the Americans proudly put it, justice has been done, even though it took them a decade to do so.

The Extremely dead (and not quite so saintly) Osama bin Laden

And though most people in the world don’t know, and most likely don’t care, here in Israel from last night we have entered our yearly mourning day over the six million people who were brutally murdered by the Nazis during World War II. But this day means another thing for me. Every year, according to the Hebrew calendar (28 of Adar), at exactly ten o’clock, a siren is heard as tribute to those dead (of course this is a tradition from Europe when a siren is heard every year on the 11/11 as a tribute to the soldiers who perished in World War I). Four years ago, as the siren died out, I knew that my mother was going to call, I knew that she was going to tell me that my grandmother has passed away.

My grandmother was 97 years old when she passed away, and she was a remarkable woman who influenced the lives of many. So, I’m dedicating this post to my grandmother, Dinah Levin (nee Schneider) who left behind three children, my mother, Judy Kaye, and her two brothers, Michael and Gerald, eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren (hopefully more are on their way!)

My parent's Wedding day (6th of June 1968). from the left, Dr Barnet Levin, Roger Kaye, Judith Kaye (nee Levin) and Dinah Levin (nee Schneider)

We all love you and miss you!

Grandma (Dinah Levin) 1910 - 2007