Whenever I bring visitors to Masada I ask them: ‘What is Your Masada?’ What is most important to you in your life?  What will you never, under any circumstances, overlook or wave aside?

The most common answer I get is: “my family, my children…”

This week I once again had the opportunity to experience Masada with an amazing family, one that strived to come back together again. Many years ago, they parted ways, leaving their family bonds to slip away and loosen. The son, Joel, immigrated to another land where he raised his family, yet the anger, even though belonging to other times and other places, did not dissolve.

Recently, Joel’s brother passed away and suddenly he realized it’s only him and his old father left from their seed family. Fortunately, timing was right for Joel’s father as well, today 92 and in an enviable mental and physical condition. Slowly but surely they came closer, bridging between their worlds towards a joint family trip to Israel. For Joel this was his first visit to Israel and for his father it was the first time to meet his 18 year old granddaughter.

Masada at TwilightTwilight is graceful in Masada, bringing a light caressing breeze to disarm the day’s heat. The site is almost empty, as at this time of day most tourists have already left.

I am overwhelmed, I feel this is the time for will and desire, this is Sha’at Ratzon. I tell Joel, Grandpa Benjamin and their family how here at Masada many people tell me, that most important in their lives are their families.

“For you, I say to them, the last few years were like creating something new – a new family and getting to know each other. For you, I go on, the phrase – again Masada will not fall, has an even stronger emphasis – never again will your family fall apart.”

I fill my lungs with air and roar towards the mountains, fading out in the evening light:

Again Masada will not fall!

I then noticed how for the first time in decades, the old father took his son’s hand in his.

The grandfather then turned to me and quietly whispered into my ear: “I do not have many years left in this world, he said, I will though never forget this day which I will cherish till my last.”

These words are, needless to say, the most thrilling words a host and a tour guide can possibly hear. 

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