Tuesday November 13th: 5 Kislev
It was on this day in 1948 that the so-called “Road of Valor,” a road cut through the Judean hills connecting Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, was officially opened. This road was built in order to relieve the siege that Jerusalem was under during the Israeli War of Independence. Because of the siege, hundreds of thousands of Jewish residents in Jerusalem were cut off from badly needed supplies and were facing starvation and pestilence.
The road was built under much stress. Construction had to overcome steep, rocky cliffs under the watchful eye of their Arab enemies. Many times the workers had to dodge mortar fire or do their job under the cover of darkness. Needless to say, it was quite the challenge and yet, amazingly, the road was completed in just eight weeks. By comparison, it took the Turks eight years to complete a road from Jaffa, which is in the Tel Aviv area, to Jerusalem.
Today, as one travels this road you will see memorials dedicated to the many men who gave their lives building it so that others might live. Consider what they did and what other brave men and women have done in similar circumstances. They were able to see what was at stake and committed themselves to do what had to be done, even in the face of death. Their lives were purposeful because they were willing to look down the road and commit to something worthwhile.
We see this virtue inherent in another Jewish man of long ago – the Messiah Jesus – about whom the writer of Hebrews said:
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
He is the greater inspiration to the cause of committing ourselves self-denial and a life defined by His example – to be selfless for His sake and for the sake of others. He has forged a road that requires us to take up our cross, deny ourselves, and see life as being more than just about us. His example teaches us to live life in deference to the well being of others.
As we follow the Messiah, we will encounter reminders of other men who have gone before us: men like Paul, David, Isaiah and many others. Memorials left along the way show us there were other people who, being strengthened by the Creator, followed the road He had paved for them. As we follow in Messiah’s footsteps, we are also following the example of many who have traveled before us and are leaving helping to show the way for those who will come behind us.
Like those who built the Road of Valor, may we be able to see the greater good in the overall plan. Tomorrow, there will be others who are depending on us to be committed to the Messiah, today.