My Children’s Children’s Children

I had a thought today that made me very sad. In truth, I have always been one to fall apart after the crisis passes. I can’t even begin to list the times I’ve handled something, only to sit down and fall apart when it was done or at least at a point that allowed me to release my emotions.

Moments after they announced today that all the large fires were out and that only smaller ones remained,  I sat in my office and wanted to cry. Mostly it was relief, though there was great sadness…and such feelings of gratitude.

There are so many thanks to give out:

Thank you to the firefighters who came from so many lands – for Bulgaria and Greece and Jordan and  Egypt. Thank you to France, Britain and Cyprus; and to Azerbaijan and Switzerland and Spain and Germany. Thank you to the Russians who came with such incredible resources and confidence. They knew from the start that we would conquer the fire.

Thank you to the Americans – the National Guard and the firefighters from New York. And Australia that is sending advisors and even the Palestinians and the Turks who sent firefighters (although they were quick to assure the world that this was in no way intended as a peace gesture…God forbid).

And thank you to our own firefighters who fought so hard and so long. There was a picture in the New York Times – I’m afraid to copy it for copyright reasons, but it was so special. It showed Israeli firefighters taking a break – about 20 of them, lying on the road in utter exhaustion. What was so special was that each was using another’s leg as a pillow. “We did that,” Elie said with a smile, “it’s more comfortable.”

And thank you to the men of ZAKA, who do the unthinkable. They find and prepare bodies for burial, dealing with the most gruesome of tasks in honor and respect.

And thank you to our air force and police, who worked so hard for so many days.

And thank you to the bank that offered an interest-free loan, and the car company that offered free car rentals, and the hotels who opened their doors.

And thank you to God, the protector of Israel – for bringing the rain, that even now is beginning to fall.

And thank you to the Jewish National Fund, who will replant and help us rebuild.

And thank you to all the nations and all the people who prayed for us in these difficult days.

And finally, a closing thought. I have driven those mountains many times, those mountains that now are charred beyond all recognition. I dread going there to see it, though I will in the coming days.

As I spoke with Elie, a thought crossed my mind. It is all gone – those 5 million trees, tens of thousands of acres, dunams…all gone. Even if we replant, and we will…it will take generations to come back to where it was just 5 days ago. There is such pain in that thought; such sadness.

I am trying to focus on our promise, our commitment to the land. From the ashes, will rise another forest, but it will take generations to really come back in all its glory. Such sadness.

I hope my children will tell their grandchildren that they remember the fire and the desolation. But more, I hope they will look about them and say to their children’s children – this is as it was when I was a child…tall, green, beautiful and blessed once again.

May God bless the land of Israel and bring forth its healing.


  1. After the Mount St. Helen eruption it was said by the experts that it will remain barren for 100 years. There is no reforestation there. Just nature. Proving the experts wrong.

    Just wait. Within your lifetime the forest will return. And it will have more help than just Nature. It will have people looking out for it.

  2. You have all been in my thoughts and prayers.

    So many heroes.

    But yes, Israel will rise from those ashes, and your childrens’ children WILL see beauty again where now there are charred acres.

    I believe.

  3. As usual, you expressed yourself beautifully.I have to say that even after 24 years here I am still amazed at all the wonderful people who offer help in these situations whether it be financial or emotional or practical.On my kibbutz, bedding and places to sleep were organized within an hour of the request going out from the moshav which was evacuated.
    I join you in your prayers for the people and the land.And of course, in the memory of the fallen.

  4. We followed the devastating fire hour by hour here in America, and so many of us have donated to the JNF so that Israel’s beautiful forests can return to their former beauty. God Bless Israel, and God Bless the brave people who valiantly fought this battle. We mourn for the lives that were lost. AM YISRAEL CHAI!!

  5. It looks terrible to us humans but trees need a fire to disperse their seeds. From death comes life. And I’m convinced that what is true for nature, G-d will fulfill for us also when there will no more death in the world.


  6. The trees will grow back. I am an Australian. We had awful bushfires here, in our southern state of Victoria, early in 2009. Many people were killed. Everything turned black. Then the rain fell, and everything turned green again, and the trees re-grew; this year, the regions that had burned black, then, under storms of flame, were covered in September snow.

    I understand many of the trees in the Carmel area were Aleppo pines, and adapted for fire; and that some of the native oaks will re-shoot from their roots.

    It may be wise to encourage what is called ‘mediterranean broadleaf forest’ rather than fire-promoting pines, at least in some places.

    So glad to hear that it has begun to rain. Again, speaking as an Australian, I know what it is like to pray, and pray, and pray for rain. I have said prayers for rain in Israel very often in the past couple of months…even while, here, crops are being destroyed by floods.

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