A note from Mrs Brodie:-
I decided to submit Adina's letter to the website for the community to read; when you read it you will share my pride in one of our special teenagers and a deserving winner of the scholership.
Midreshet Moriah Educational Wing
Sha'are Zedek Medical Center
Shmuel Bayit 12
4 November 2010
27 Cheshvan 5771
Dear Mrs Brodie
I hope this letter finds you and Reverend Brodie in good health. I am taking the opportunity of being here in Eretz Yisrael in Midreshet Moriah, not just to work on myself, to volunteer and of course learn Torah. I am also experiencing as much as I can while I am here as I know that many of the opportunities that I have, will be, a once in a life time chance.
One of my most recent experiences here was being in Chevron for Parshat Chayei Sarah. Prior to this I had been on a tour of Chevron with Midreshet, when Rav Simcha Hachbaum took us on a both informative and moving tour, telling us about Chevron's past and the community today. At the end of this trip he encouraged us to come for a Shabbat. He told us that Parshat Chayei Sarah was always a huge event for the Chevron community, as it is the parsha that speaks about when Avraham bought Kever Machpela. It is also one of the 11 days a year that the whole of the Ma-arat Hamachpela is opened to Jewish people – because usually Yitzchak and Rivka's tombs are closed to us. After being extremely inspired and moved by this tour, I made my decision that I was going to go and stay there for Shabbat Chayei Sarah.
Altogether this weekend was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Starting with the bus ride there! Luckily Midreshet along with other Midrashot had organized a school bus to take us to Quiryat Arba – to the school which we were to be staying in. Watching the thousands of people from all 4 corners of the earth, queuing up for hours, to flock to Chevron for this special weekend was beyond description. There were around 600-700 girls and women from all walks of life staying, with us, in the school in Quiryat Arba, so needless to say it was a squash! It made no difference, because everyone was only there for one reason, that was to daven at Kever Machpela on the special Shabbat that we read about Sarah Imenus death, and the selling of Kever Machpela to Avraham.
I didn’t daven inside Kever Machpela for Mincha and Kabalat Shabbat but I davened with a Karlebach Minyan in Sadeh Machpela. It really was a beautiful davening. There were over 22000 people davening Kabalat Shabbat at Ma-arat Hamachpela and in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood that Friday night.
We ate in Quiryat Arba in a huge hall filled with people and the whole atmosphere was filled with enthusiastic singing of zemirot ,other jewish songs and excitement. Later on the Friday night we walked back to Chevron for a Tisch.
On the way down to Chevron from Quiryat Arba there were many Chayalim – Israeli soldiers , you did not walk over 5 or 6 steps before seeing the next one. It was an experience in itself to see what they do for us and Eretz Yisrael as a land ,show them our gratitude, and to be able to wish them Shabbat Shalom personally.
After the Tisch, Chevron was filled with people socializing, being reunited with friends from different schools and from different places. In a way it felt a little bit strange to be having a huge social right next to such a Holy land mark, however, I did enjoy myself ,it felt some what like seeing Hashem's promise to the Avot, that his children would be as many as the dust of the earth and stars in the sky, – so many that you could not count them.
The next morning I davened Shacharit and Mussaf in Marat Hamachpela. The davening was beautiful, as I walked in there were women that were handing out notes with perakim of tehillim on to say, so that the whole book would be said throughout the day, – probably several hundred times. I found davening in the Kever an interesting experience for a few reasons. I found out that many Cohanim were allowed to go inside the building of the Kever because the actual place of burial is no longer known. So Birchat Cohanim was said inside the Kever. Also I found that many people connect to the Kever, they seemed to be davening towards the kever rather than davening in the avot and imahot's zechut. It was amazing to see peoples connection to the torah and love for Hashem through this. There is also a hole in the ground which is said to smell like the scent of Gan Eden –throughout the day everyone went to breathe in the air . It was just amazing to see how people felt such a strong connection to Judaism in this special place.
We ate lunch in a tent in Chevron that they called "Yitchak's tent". Lunchtime was not only an amazing atmosphere of singing and dancing again, we experienced the first rainfall of the season – and it was a heavy shower. The whole tent burst into song and dance singing "Mashiv Haruach Umorid Hagashem." It was amazing to witness the real Israeli appreciation for rain. The day went on with a tour around Chevron, Mincha in Ma-arat Hamachpela and Shalosh Seudot – as Shabat went out we sang the most beautiful tunes outside Ma-arat Hamachpela whilst watching crowds of people flock back to the Kever to form Ma-ariv minyanim.
It truly was a once in a life time opportunity and it was a turning point for me personally as well. It has given me a sense of Achdut – unity seeing so many people in Chevron, such a controversial city, that is full of conflict between Arabs and Israelis.
This experience made me truly grateful to Hashem, my parents and teachers. I would like to take this opportunity again to thank you for awarding me the Marga Brodie Scholarship Prize and the book that you presented me with – it really is a true honour and has helped me on the way in this amazing experience in Midreshet Moriah.
Thank you again