Honoring the Courage of Two Who Gave Their Lives
In The Pre-State Battle For Freedom
Commemorating the Yahrzeit of Meir Feinstein; October 5th, 1927- April 21, 1947 and
Moshe Barazani; June 20th, 1928-April 21st, 1947…… Niftar on The First of Iyar, 5707
by Ariella Bracha Waldinger
Today the first of Iyar, 5773, we commemorate the yahrzeit of two heroic young men who gave their lives while fighting against the relentless Arab attacks on the Jewish residents of Israel, attacks that enabled by the British mandate betrayal of us during pre-state times. These two heroes were underground fighters for the Jewish cause who were sentenced to be hung on the gallows. Please take the time to read the words of Meir Feinstein to the British court in the attached Wikipedia article. It is, in my humble opinion one of the most powerful, soul stirring dramatic renderings of Jewish soul poetry I have ever read. I gain strength and determination from Meir’s words and thought you would too. They are of such truth and purity…rare and exquisite jewels of power and courage for us to feed upon. We need their inspiration today! They were only 20 years old when they were hung. Meir was wounded in the initial attack on the British and had his left hand amputated. Meir wanted to be a writer. He had plans for the future and a girl he loved. Moshe worked to support his family. They both came from a family of scholars. They died for us and for the future generations of Jews.
In the book,” Lionhearts, Heroes of Israel” edited by Michael bar-Zohar in the story of Moshe and Meir by Arye Naor, titled “A Grenade between Two Hearts” he states,” Above all they both wanted the rebirth of the State of Israel, the liberation of the Jewish homeland, and the redemption of its people.”
The purpose of my sharing this today in addition to honoring their memory is to point out and remind us of the perilous journey of those who came before us to pave the way to allow us to live in Freedom. They did so with their Blood, Sweat, Tears and very LIVES. I believe that making ALiyah and living in our G-d given, Divine inheritance,(which is an extraordinary privilege), comes with a responsibility to become aware of those who have come before us, and the personal sacrifices they made to enable us to be here today. It is my hope that as a result of deeper awareness of the challenges, enormous sufferings and remarkable perseverance of those who came before us, it will allow us to put our own challenges into the proper perspective. The journey of Aliyah is not just a defining moment at the time we make the decision, but it continues to define us during the entire Aliyah unfolding through each and every challenge that arises.
The real truth of Aliyah in my honest opinion is all about DEFINING YOURSELF OR RE-DEFINING YOURSELF. Who am I really right now, and who do I long to become? That’s the question for today. Moshe and Meir seemed to know so clearly who they were and what their lives were about. Their values were embedded in all their endeavors even unto the ultimate of their dying. When Moshe’s trial began, he sat and read the Bible the whole time. When he was asked if he pleaded guilty, he got up and said the following to the judges: “The Hebrew people see you as the enemy and a foreign ruler in its homeland. We, the people of Lehi, are fighting you in order to liberate our homeland. You will not frighten us by your hangings nor will you succeed to destroy us. My nation and all other subjugated nations will fight your empire until the end”. 90 minutes later, the judge read the verdict: You will be hung by the neck until you die. Moshe was prepared and repeated, “You will not frighten us by your hangings.” Then he sang Hatikva until he was carried out by the police when he cried out: “To the Yishuv—be strong and of good courage.” (“A Grenade Between Two Hearts” by Arye Naor.) Meir was tried one week after Moshe. He carried the same strength and determination with him in his response to his jailers. It awes me and awakens a longing in me…. to be stronger, better.
The stories of Meir and Moshe, are deeply moving profiles of courage, service and heroism. I believe that by reflecting and absorbing their stories, we can be aroused to unite in the service of our nation in a deeper, more meaningful way. My prayer is that we be willing to move forward in strength to maximize the spiritual power embedded in our DNA like Meir and Moshe and all the other martyrs who have gone before us. I bless each of us to strengthen and preserve the unbroken chain of Torah values that resides within us so as to bring strength to our Nation and our Land. With Love, Ariella Bracha