Friday, January 22, 2010

Tekes Hashba'ah: Promised All My Strength

Standing in view of the Kotel, surrounded by so many thousands of years of Jewish history, waiting to receive my gun and bible from my commanding officer, having just promised to devote all my strength and even my life to the freedom of Israel, was an emotional roller-coaster. Yes, some of the emotion was all solemn sense of purpose, a wave of all that I have done to arrive at this point breaking against the sudden reality of where I now stand. Yet there was also joy, laughter and a wide smile I could not erase from my face. Maybe it was the light hearted Israeli music rolling over the Kotel plaza (ironically, the Muslim call to prayer was the Kotel soundtrack as everyone stood at at attention ten minutes before the ceremony began) as one by one the soldiers of Nachal November 2009 skipped forward to receive their gun and bible. Maybe it was the antics of the officers, who took advantage of the moment to show their humorous edge. Or maybe it was simply that joy was the emotion necessary after promising to give my all in defense of this country [see below for the full text of the vow I swore]. My joy is tempered by hope that both sides prove worthy and up to the task that awaits!

IDF rules prohibit placing my photos from the Kotel ceremony online. To recognize what I found as the best part of the ceremony, all the various friends and family members who attended, here's a slice from my past, the swearing-in ceremony of a friend who served in Nachal a few years ago.

Oath of Israeli soldiers
I hereby swear and fully commit myself to be faithful to the State of Israel, to its constitution and its authorities, and to take upon myself without reservation or hesitancy the rules of discipline of the Israel Defense Force, to obey all commands and orders given by authorized commanders, and to devote all my strength, and even sacrifice my life, to the defense of my country and the freedom of Israel.


  1. Sammy,

    Was great to see you - I've been asked on not a few occasions what the high point of my shlichut was. The high point is still ongoing - every time I bump into an Oleh it gives me a high. Seeing "my" Olim in uniform is a really huge high. I"m really impressed at how well you've done and look forward to your continued success. Yashar Koach.


  2. guess that means no picture with the picture, sad face.

  3. my god we are so young in this picture! sammy, no offense, but i feel like your kids might make fun of those glasses. by the way, i still have those jeans, that shirt, AND that headband! -m