#318 (s5764-09/ 24 Cheshvan)
and Avraham"Are you looking for us? Here is my baby,
in my arms." (a modern Hebron drama)
Baruch Nachshon, a famous Hasidic
artist and his wife Sarah, a modern day heroine of the Jewish People, were among
the first Jews to return to Hebron. In 1975, following the establishment of Kiryat
Arba on a hilltop above the old city of Hebron, the Nachshon's celebrated the
birth of a son. They decided to perform the circumcision inside the cave of the
Machpelah in Hebron -- burial place of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca,
Jacob and Leah and, according to tradition, Adam and Eve. The baby was named Avraham-Yedidya.
Three months later, Sarah found Avraham-Yedidya dead in his crib. The
young mother was beside herself. Why should her new son, brought into the covenant
of Abraham in Hebron in the most ancient city of the Jewish People in the Land
of Israel, be taken from her after only three months? Everything in this world
has a purpose. What was the purpose of her three-month old son?
decided that Avraham Yedidya would be buried in the ancient Jewish cemetery in
Hebron. The cemetery had been last used to inter the 67 Jews slaughtered in the
1929 riots in Hebron. It is minutes from the traditional graves of Ruth and Jesse
and overlooks the Cave of the Machpelah. Perhaps, Sarah thought, this was
the purpose of the baby, to take part in a sad but vital part of renewing Jewish
Hebron. After almost fifty years of Arab opposition, the Jewish cemetery of Hebron
would again be utilized as a Jew's last resting place.
The funeral procession
left Kiryat Arba in the late afternoon for the ancient Jewish cemetery in Hebron.
Suddenly the mourners encountered soldiers and roadblocks! The cars come to a
halt. Soldiers began scouring the site, opening car doors, searching for something.
"No, you may not proceed to the cemetery," the soldiers ordered the
mourners; "the cemetery is off-limits."
One of the car-doors
opened. A woman stepped out with a bundle in her arms.
She addressed the soldiers,
"Are you looking for me - are you looking for my baby? My name is Sarah Nachshon.
Here is my baby, in my arms. If you won't let us drive to the cemetery we will
Men with shovels and flashlights and many women walk through
ancient Hebron as night falls. They pass the Cave of the Machpelah. They
pass the 450 year-old Abraham Avinu synagogue, left in ruins, destroyed by the
Jordanian conquerors in 1948. They walk through the Arab streets. Blockades, set
up to stop the crowd, are pushed aside. Senior officers give orders over their
walkie-talkies: "Stop them - don't let them proceed" - but the soldiers,
overcome by the scene, radio back: "We can't stop them. If you want to stop
them, come down here and do it yourselves".
The procession continues,
past Beit Romano, past Beit Shneerson, home of Menucha Rachel Shneerson-Slonim,
granddaughter of the "Ba'al HaTanya," up the steep hill to the
Moonlight illuminates the field. Sarah Nachshon releases
the body of her tiny son, Avraham Yedidya, and it is lowered into the freshly
dug grave. The plot is only meters from the mass grave of 1929.
her voice, Sarah utters: "Four thousand years ago our Patriarch Abraham purchased
Hebron for the Jewish People by burying his wife Sarah here. Tonight Sarah is
repurchasing Hebron for the Jewish People by burying her son Avraham here."
by Yrachmiel Tilles from www.hebron.co.il]
Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and editor of
Ascent Quarterly and the AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org websites. He
has hundreds of published stories to his credit.