HEBRON: A season for miracles



December 17, 2001

HEBRON: A season for miracles

By Rick Polhamus

“Is there anything too hard for the Lord.” – Bible,

Genesis 18:14

“A miracle does not prove what is impossible, rather

it is an affirmation

of what is possible.” – Maimonides

This is a season for miracles. Sometimes I think it

would be a miracle if

we could just be nice to each other. Though we are in

the holiday season,

for many of us life is no holiday. Thanks to some of

us, others don’t have

much to give thanks for.

This year the season of Advent for Christians,

Hanukkah for Jews and

Ramadan for Muslims overlap. All three traditions have

giving as a central

theme. For Christians, giving is a reflection of God’s

gift in the birth of

Jesus. For Jews, the giving is a celebration of God’s

gift that kept the

lamps burning long after the oil should have run out.

And for Muslims the

giving comes from recognizing that there are ones less

fortunate and that

no matter what our status is we can always find

someway to share with others.

  The American writer O Henry wrote a story of a woman

who sold her hair to

purchase her husband a watch chain only to discover

that he had sold his

watch to purchase her a comb for her hair. This is

this kind of giving that

I have witnessed by the Palestinian people during

their holy season of


For Muslims, Ramadan is a time of fasting during the

hours from sunup to

sundown. It is a time for reflecting about those for

whom fasting is not

just a religious practice but the reality of their

poverty. Following the

prayers at sundown, families gather with guests to

break their fast and to

share not only the food but also the joy of friendship

that shows that

others care.

This Ramadan season has seen many travel restrictions

and hardships placed

on the Palestinian people. Yet through it all they

have continued to find

ways to travel to join families and friends to break

the fast. Even the

economic hardships because of the curfews and closures

have not stopped the

people from making and sharing the sweets, tea and

coffee following the meals.

During the day as we CPTers make our way though the

city, we are asked by

many to join them for the evening breaking of the

fast. In the evening as

we do patrols, many times we are invited in to share

the sweets, tea and

coffee. These invitations are not just from friends

but many times from

people we have just met.

We spoke with the principal of a boy’s school that has

been closed for the

past few days because of a curfew imposed by the

Israeli military. We

discussed the additional hardship caused by the

restrictions placed on

Palestinians during this holy time of year. He said,

“Even though things

are very difficult, I know our God is a great God. He

provides us with

opportunities in all situations.”

To those who lack faith this statement may seem

unreasonable. Reason only

goes so far. It doesn’t make any sense for it to go

further. Faith allows

us to reach towards that capacity in us which is just

beyond our grasp.

Sometimes it seems like peace here is impossible. But

who among us wants to

bear the burden of denying that the impossible is

possible? It is not that

night is not dark, but evil need not prevail. Pick a

star. Light a candle.

Share a meal. If this seems childish, find the child

in yourself and

remember, “a child shall lead them.”

There is a children’s game played during Hanukkah that

involves spinning a

top called a dreidel. Written on the side of the top

are four letters that

stand for the message: “A Great Miracle Happened

Here.” Pat your chest

above your heart. This is the stage for miracles. When

we are loving we

stage our own miracles. Happy holidays.


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