Why are we so drawn to Re’im?


Why are we so drawn to Re’im?

Why do we feel compelled to wander about the sites of the October 7 massacre near the border of Gaza? Why are we so drawn to this place of deep suffering and tragedy? Some say it’s to bring closure and to remember so that it won’t happen again. But both these answers are off because hate crimes against us continue to rise worldwide, so there must be another reason.

While waiting to meet a group at the old police station in Sderot, I listened in on two other groups, one led by a policeman from a nearby town who described how 35 fellow officers were murdered by terrorists on October 7 and the police station was destroyed before he could arrive to help. The second guide was a survivor of the Nova new age Festival in Re’im who currently leads tours and shares his tragic story.

Then I visited Re’im with a group of intercessors on a Friday morning, and later that evening as we entered into Shabbat, the Parashat HaShavuah happened to be Vayikra, Leviticus. As I pondered the concept of atonement through the blood of a sacrifice in this Torah portion, I wondered if there was a parallel here. The verse from a soon to come Parasha in Lev. 17:11 came to mind, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement for your soul.”

As I mourned over the posters of all those young Israelis who were slaughtered at Re’im on that horrible day, thoughts streamed through my mind. How many of these kids had PTSD after their mandatory IDF service but were never treated, so they turned to escape their nightmares in a blur of drugs, alcohol and sex? And suddenly I remembered the days of my youth, after leaving my traditional Orthodox synagogue in the USA to search for something deeper than religious acts. At that time, there were only two acceptable outlets for young Jews to explore – Kabbalah or the new age.

I chose to explore everything that existed within the new age but failed miserably. One of my final experiments was astral projection. As a group we were supposed “to go up” and afterwards report on our adventures. As each one shared visions of fields of flowers with running horses at sunset and beautiful maidens with long, flowery dresses, blah, blah, I listened with great discomfort. When I was asked to share my experience, I explained how someone gave me a shield and a sword. Then all these ugly monsters attacked me and I killed every one of them. And for this I was labeled a failure.

How many of these kids at Re’im and how many others in Israel today are also called failures because they can’t find a way to cope with the reality of life through Kabbalah or the new age? Could it be that what really happened at Re’im is that these young Israelis were lured into a tremendous form of deception? Could there have been some who were genuinely searching for the Truth of G-d, while others sought something spiritual to bring light into their tortured hearts and minds?  Could the enemy have perverted the Word of G-d in Leviticus that calls for blood on the altar to make atonement for one’s sin by luring these young Israelis into actually becoming blood sacrifices on the altar? After all, this what the enemy of our souls longs to do – to kill, steal and destroy.

The reason I ponder this is because, if an October 7 style massacre happened 45 years ago, my face could have been on one of those posters blowing in the wind with stones of remembrance, Yahrzeit candles and flowers placed tearfully at the base of my photo.

Yet we see that the blood sacrifice on the altar on October 7 didn’t satiate our enemy; it just made him lust for more and once again, history repeats itself as we are accused of the very crimes that were committed against us. Yet whatever the enemy dishes out, we know that G-d can somehow use for the good.

The enemy of our soul requires a blood sacrifice, but Yeshua, the Son of G-d, paid that price and through His atoning work on the tree, we don’t need to be sacrificed. We just need to be reconciled to the Father through the Son. Many young Israelis are just beginning to understand this and, like the Magi, search for the one who was born in Bethlehem whom the prophets in the TANACH, Old Testament, declared would one day come to bring us atonement and Salvation…