04 December 2008

The Boy with the Orange Ball – Moshe Holtzberg You’re Not Alone

Let us deal wisely with these people, Pharaoh said, as they cast all the baby boys into the river committing mass murder. But a little boys parents hid him, only to be saved by the kindness of an Egyptian Princess who called him Moshe.

Every time I close my eyes I see that little orange ball. I see his messy blonde hair and the sad eyes of a baby boy who has witnessed terror beyond belief. I read all the papers, listened to the news and tried to find some light in the darkness but all I saw was the sad eyes and the orange ball.

On that day the world briefly acknowledged one fact. The terrorist went out of their way to seek out Jews and kill them. The more cynical among us, will also claim that the boy makes great news. The press will write 'that even in depths of horror these terrorists released little Moshe'. They won’t write 'after they had beaten him, and shortly before they sentenced his parents to death'.

This is not another Mumbai / Islamic Terror article. This is about the light at the end of the tunnel.

I have a friend who lost a daughter to cancer when she was very young. With incredible strength he acknowledged that even though her life was very short she was a vibrant little girl who gave so much to the community, bringing people together through learning Torah and the chanting of Tehillim (Pslams)on her behalf. People united, returned to the fold and became connected through this little girl. Maybe that was her mission in life, to unify a fractured nation and to bring mutual respect and a common cause.

In their brief life little Moshe Holtzbergs parents achieved the same. And the light from the darkness of Mumbai is staggeringly bright almost blinding. The incredible work that Chabad do throughout the world, the selfless dedication, being torn from their land, from their birthplace and from their families to a far flung country on the off chance that a fellow Jew will have a roof, a safe haven, a hot meal, a familiar atmosphere and reminder of their own roots.

Their mission in life will be remembered as one of strength and self sacrifice, an inspiration to us all. A lesson in accepting your fellow Jew regardless, with no exceptions, no discrimination, black Jew, white Jew, Sephardi, Ashkenazi and secular or religious.

The light will shine brighter because of a little Jewish family the other side of the world showed so much love and devotion and we are all the better for it. Their loss together with their fellow Jews was tragic, horrific, and unbearably sad but their legacy will remain in hearts and souls lighting the dark days we live in.

And who knows maybe little Moshe, with his orange ball, will see his peoples suffering and like his namesake, rise to challenge, as his parents did, leading our nation into an age devoid of the evils we face today. As the prophet Zachariah says ‘And the LORD said unto Satan: 'The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan, yea, the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee; is not this man a brand plucked out of the fire?'

We mourn your parents Moshe, but we celebrate their legacy and wish you a life of happiness, health and to walk in their footsteps lighting the way for your people.