נֶשֶׁר אוֹמֵר. וְאַתָּה יי אֱלֹקים צְבָאוֹת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הָקִיצָה לִפְקֹד כָּל הַגּוֹיִם אַל תָּחֹן כָּל בֹּגְדֵי אָוֶן סֶלָה: (תהילים נט ו)
The Vulture/ Eagle is saying, “And you, Hashem Elokim Tseva’ot, elo’ah of Yisra’el, awake to punish all the nations; do not be gracious to any wicked traitors, Selah!” (Pirkei Sirah)
Walk with G-d is the command G-d gives to man. I love long-distance walking and this weekend took us to Zeeland, in the Netherlands. Walking with G-d means walking in accordance with His will and walking in His “footsteps”, i.e. trying to carry out the attributes that G-d has in yourself to the world. But during my walks, I always experience it very simply. Just walking and talking to G-d while walking and enjoying creation “together”. Sometimes you then come across those beautiful moments that become a beautiful learning gem.
I was walking on an embankment and saw someone standing in the distance with binoculars. I was curious what he saw but am not one to address another. He pointed to a tree, there, look closely, there’s a bald eagle cub. Wow, a bald eagle? Yes, and look there is its nest. I got the binoculars and was able to watch it, although the distance did make it difficult to see it correctly. But the man was full of enthusiasm and talked about it endlessly. Yes, he stayed there for a while until he would have seen the parents too, they could fly them beautifully high, and seeing them busy with the young was, of course, great too.
I thanked him kindly and continued my walk, I could not stand there, I still had 15 kilometers ahead of me.
I always walk from the starting point to the endpoint where the bike is parked so that I can cycle back to the car. Today, that route was almost the same as the one I had walked in the morning.
It was 5 to 6 hours later when I returned to the same spot as in the morning, I was curious would I now recognize and see the bald eagle myself? A large bird flew circles above my head, after looking closely I could see that it was indeed the bald eagle. If I had not talked to the man in the morning, I would never have seen it. After another 10 minutes of cycling, I met the man again, he was still sitting in the same spot and was happy that, after a long wait, he could see the bird flying and interacting with the youngster.
I thought it is like this with the Sages and the Rabbis. They study a subject from Tenach from all sides, know all about it, take all the time they need to research it properly, and … point it out to others and tell others about it with enthusiasm so that others can learn from their knowledge. The other person then must be interested of course, (there were plenty of people cycling past us without wondering what we were looking at). Once people have received knowledge from the Sages and from the Rabbis, they are able to see and apply what they have learned in their environment, and if their knowledge has a solid foundation of knowledge, they can pass on that knowledge to others.
I was reminded of Pirkei Sirah and looked it up. But what was I to do with this text in light of what I had written above?
In keeping with Tisha Be’Av still in mind, the text took on a deeper meaning. People have inflicted inhuman suffering on the Jewish people over the centuries. Anti-Semitism has never gone away and is on the rise again. The nations, United Nations, condemn Israel harshly, biased and unfounded in its resolutions.
Why do nations assemble,
and peoples plot vain things;
kings of the earth take their stand,
and regents intrigue together
against the L-rd and against His anointed?
“Let us break the cords of their yoke,
shake off their ropes from us!”
He who is enthroned in heaven laughs;
the L-rd mocks at them.
Then He speaks to them in anger,
terrifying them in His rage,
“But I have installed My king
on Zion, My holy mountain!”
King David could see ahead with prophetic eyes and pointed out that G-d laughs at the nations. Do they really think that G-d does not see what they do, does not hear what they say about His beloved nation?
David points us to G-d’s faithfulness to His people; if we look, we see it in history and today.
That we may learn from the Prophets, from the Wise Men, and from the Rabbis that we may learn to see what they see, so that we may discover in our lives what is currently hidden.
By Angelique Sijbolts
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