Wednesday, April 5

Coming Home From Ramallah


What do you do if your are Jewish, live in Israel, and you find you may have just invited a sworn, mortal enemy into your home?

Dan's heart skipped a beat. He was sure he'd heard the boy say "Ramallah," a large Arab city on the West Bank. Quickly he caught himself, and then realized that he must have said Ramleh, an Israeli city. Dan said, "Oh, I have a cousin there. Do you know Ephraim Warner? He lives on Herzl Street."

The young man shook his head sadly. "There are no Jews in Ramallah."

Dan gasped. He really had said "Ramallah"! His thoughts were racing. Did he just spend Shabbos with an Arab? Wait a minute! Take a deep breath and let's get this straightened out. Giving his head a quick shake he told the boy, "I'm sorry, I'm a bit confused. And now that I think of it, I haven't even asked your full name. What is it, please?"

The boy looked terrified for a moment, then squared his shoulders and said quietly, "Machmud Ibn-esh-Sharif."

Machmud was looking even more terrified now; obviously he could tell what Dan was thinking. Hurriedly he said, "Wait! I'm Jewish. I'm just trying to find out where I belong."

Dan stood there speechless. What could he say?

Machmud broke the silence hesitantly: "I was born and grew up in Ramallah. I was taught to hate my Jewish oppressors, and to think that killing them was heroism. But I always had my doubts. I mean, we were taught that the Sunna, the tradition, says, 'No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.' I used to sit and wonder, Weren't the Yahud (Jews) people, too? Didn't they have the right to live the same as us? If we're supposed to be good to everyone, how come nobody includes Jews in that?

"I asked these questions to my father, and he threw me out of the house. Just like that, with nothing but the clothes on my back. By now my mind was made up: I was going to run away and live with the Yahud, until I could find out what they were really like."


[read the whole story here]


First, what would you do? You're following the tenants of your faith by inviting a stranger from church into your home. You then learn through the conversation that he's from a country and culture that is seeking your destruction. Do you try to learn more, or do you react? Dan endeavored to discover who the young man was, and what he was about. He was the perfect host. He accommodated his guest's peculiar request to sing "Lecha Dodi" over and over again. He pressed on, through the difficult and frightening revelations to learn the surprising truth about the "Arab" man in his home.


Dan's voice quivered with excitement as he explained to Machmud who his ancestor was. "He was a friend of the Arizal, a great Torah scholar, a tzaddik, a mystic. And Machmud, your ancestor wrote that song we were singing all Shabbos: Lecha Dodi!"

This time it was Machmud's turn to be struck speechless. Dan slowly stood up from the bed, still in awe about what had happened. He extended his trembling hand and said, "Welcome home, Machmud. Now how about picking a new name for yourself."


We are all travelers in this world. We may (unknown to us) some day be in the presence of angels. What will we do? The world is uncertain, but our days are numbered. We all (rightly) fear the Muslim expansion and grand plan to dominate the world. We know the face of our enemy, but how many are not our enemy? Will we have the courage to learn the truth or just "kill them all and let God sort them out?"


Lecha Dodi


Lecha dodi likrat kalah, penei Shabbat nekabelah.
Come my Beloved to greet the bride--the Sabbath presence, let us welcome!


Shamor vezachor bedibur echad, hishmi-anu E-l ham'yuchad. Hashem echad ushemo echad, leshem ul'tiferet velit'hilah.
'Safeguard' and 'Remember' - in a single uttererance the One and Only G-d made us hear. Hashem is One and His Name is One, for renown, for splendor, and for praise.


Lecha dodi likrat kalah, penei Shabbat nekabelah.
Come my Beloved to greet the bride--the Sabbath presence, let us welcome!


Likrat Shabbat lechu venel'chah, ki hi mekor habrachah. Merosh mikedem nesuchah, sof ma-aseh, bemachshavah techilah.
To welcome the Sabbath, come let us go, for it is the source of blessing; from the beginning, from antiquity she was honored, last in deed, but first in thought.


Lecha dodi likrat kalah, penei Shabbat nekabelah.
Come my Beloved to greet the bride--the Sabbath presence, let us welcome!


Mikdash melech, ir meluchah, kumi tz'i mitoch hahafechah, rav lach shevet be'eimek habacha--vehu yachamol alayich chemlah.
O Sanctuary of the King, royal City--arise and depart from amid the upheaval, too long have you dwelled in the valley of weeping. He will shower compassion upon you.


Lecha dodi likrat kalah, penei Shabbat nekabelah.
Come my Beloved to greet the bride--the Sabbath presence, let us welcome!


Hitna'ari! meafar kumi! liveshi bigedei tifartech, ami! Al yad ben yishai, beit halachmi, karevah el nafshi gealah.
Shake off the dust--arise! Don your splendid clothes, My people, through the son of Yishai (Jesse), the Bethlehemite! Draw near to my soul--redeem it!


Lecha dodi likrat kalah, penei Shabbat nekabelah.
Come my Beloved to greet the bride--the Sabbath presence, let us welcome!


Hitoreri, hitoreri, ki va orech! Kumi, ori, uri uri, shir daberi; kevod Hashem alayich niglah.
Wake up! Wake up! For your light has come, rise up and shine; awaken, awaken, utter a song, the glory of Hashem is revealed on you.


Lecha dodi likrat kalah, penei Shabbat nekabelah.
Come my Beloved to greet the bride--the Sabbath presence, let us welcome!


Lo tevoshi velo tikalemi; mah tishtochachi, umah tehemi? bach yechesu aniyei ami, venivnetah ir al tillah.
Feel not ashamed, be not humiliated, why are you downcast? Why are you disconsolate? In you will My people's afflicted find shelter as the City is built upon its hilltop.


Lecha dodi likrat kalah, penei Shabbat nekabelah.
Come my Beloved to greet the bride--the Sabbath presence, let us welcome!


Vehayu limeshisah shosayich, verachaku kol mevaleayich; yasis alayich Elokeicha, kimesos chatan al kalah.
May your oppressor be downtrodden, and may those who devoured you be cast far off. Your G-d will rejoice over you like a groom's rejoicing over his bride.


Lecha dodi likrat kalah, penei Shabbat nekabelah.
Come my Beloved to greet the bride--the Sabbath presence, let us welcome!


Yamin usemol tifrotzi, ve'et Hashem ta'aritzi: al yad ish ben partzi, venismechah venagilah!
Rightward and leftward, you shall spread out mightily, and you shall extol the might of Hashem, through the man descended from Peretz, then we shall be glad and mirthful.


Lecha dodi likrat kalah, penei Shabbat nekabelah.
Come my Beloved to greet the bride--the Sabbath presence, let us welcome!


Bo-i veshalom, ateret ba-alah; gam besimchah uvetzoholah. Toch emunei am segulah. Bo-i chalah! Bo-i chalah!
Enter in peace, O crown of her husband, even in gladness and good cheer, among the faithful of the treasured nation Enter, O bride! Enter, O bride!


Lecha dodi likrat kalah, penei Shabbat nekabelah.
Come my Beloved to greet the bride--the Sabbath presence, let us welcome!

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