gap year in israel

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In this week’s Torah portion, we read of the final three plagues to afflict Egypt prior to the Jewish exodus. Regarding the plague of darkness the Torah states:

“So Moses stretched forth his hand toward the heavens, and there was thick darkness over the entire land of Egypt for three days. They did not see each other, and no one rose from his place for three days, but for all the children of Israel there was light in their dwellings.”

(Exodus 10:22-22)

My dear friends, there is no greater darkness than when “they did not see each other” – when a person is so self-possessed, so blinded by their own lives and their own needs, that they are numb to the suffering and needs of their neighbors.

With the craziness of the world today, we need now more than ever to open our hearts and open our souls to our brothers and sisters regardless of their political opinions and ideologies. If we do not, we plunge into an even darker slavery than imaginable.

The Torah says, “But for all the children of Israel there was light.” Do you know why there was light for them? Because even amidst the dark times they found themselves in, their immediate response was, “With this darkness, my neighbor might need a hand. I must search him out and find him!” This is the greatest light that banishes even the greatest darkness.

– Rabbi Liad Braude

Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael