I got a text message today from a good friend. He wanted to tell me that he and his wife were splitting up - a young family ruined. The relationship always seemed so strong, filled with love and caring. It hit me hard. It put a damper on the happiness of the approaching celebrations for Israel's 63rd Independence Day.
It's been on my mind for the past few hours.
This has further stressed to me the importance of always working on the relationship with my wife. A healthy relationship requires constant support, communication and love through the many ups and downs in the couple's journey through life. There's a reason the roots of happiness (שמח) and growth (צמח) are so similar - if you're not growing (together), you won't end up being happy (together).
Linking this episode to the joyous occasion of Israel's 63rd birthday is sadly too easy.
Too many of us take Israel for granted. We forget that our grandparents didn't have this privilege. We forget to appreciate walking on this land, to marvel at the return home of the Jewish nation from all corners of the earth and to take pride in speaking our once dormant language. We forget that if we don't strive to improve our relationship with our country and her citizens, we'll suffer a similar fate to the one we suffered under the Romans. We forget that if we don't strengthen our identity, be it here or abroad, all these miracles we've been a part of will all be for naught.
Israel has come a tremendously long way in a short period of time - but we need develop ourselves even more, and strive to better what needs improving within this country. This will ensure that the many sacrifices previous generations made will not be wasted and the future generations will have even more to appreciate than we did.