I took some of our visiting children and grandchildren down to the Jordan River a while ago to cool off from the summer heat. It’s only 8 minutes away and literally right next to where we make our Galilee Green Olive Oil.
In the late summer afternoon, nothing feels more idyllic than paddling in the shade of the willows along the meandering river.
A meandering river you can read about in the Torah…
For you shall pass over the Jordan to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God gives you, and you shall possess it, and dwell in it.
How special it was for our grandchildren to realize that this wasn’t just any river they were splashing in; it was the very same river that Moshe was talking about 3,300 years ago, and the same river that their ancestors crossed over.
Throughout our long history, the People of Israel have reached the highest spiritual heights in the Land (during the time of King Solomon’s Temple) and the lowest of lows (during the horrific siege of Jerusalem by the Romans and our eventual exile).
Today the Jewish People are living a paradoxical reality of both the blessing and the curse. Last summer missiles were raining down on Israel and we were fighting a terrifying war in Gaza. This summer we are lazily floating down the Jordan River in a canoe. Moshe reminds us that the choice is ours.
Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day; And a curse, if you will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which you have not known.
May all of us understand the true purpose of the Jewish People returning to the Land; To use the Land of Israel as an opportunity to grow close to God and sanctify God’s name before all the nations of the earth. In that way, not only will there be peace and blessing in Israel, but peace and blessing in the whole world.