Text: Brigadier General Rabbi Israel Weiss Letter to Jonathan Pollard
Justice4JP Release - November 11, 2004
J4JP Background: This is the J4JP translation of a personal letter that Brigadier General Rabbi Israel Weiss, Chief Rabbi of the IDF wrote to Jonathan Pollard following their prison meeting 19 October 2004. It was hand-delivered to Jonathan a few days later. Rabbi Weiss also wrote a personal letter to Jonathan's wife, Esther. Her letter and all the Hebrew originals are on the J4JP web site.
[Translated from Hebrew]
Chief Military Rabbinate
Office of the Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces
Mar-Cheshvan 4, 5765. (October 19, 2004.)
To my dear Jonathan, G-d is with you:
Green foliage which uplifts the heart masks its destiny as soon-to-be fallen leaves. Similarly the visit room and entry hall of the prison make a good first impression but are misleading, if not to say downright deceiving. The superficial outer appearance cannot conceal but for a moment, the horrors of the last 20 years, and all of the long months of those years, which can only be described as undeserved (to say the least).
In the inhumane reality (for example) where you and Esther who have been married for so many years hold hands in front of me, with great love but also with unconcealed tears because of your inability to realize your love, or to bring children into the world and to fulfill the very first mitzvah of the Torah, and why oh why? Because you are being punished for generations to come? Because the fathers ate "bosair" (unripened fruit), should the teeth of the sons be blunted?
Before I met you, Jonathan, I asked myself more than once, what is the effect of being confined in a tiny and narrow room - a man's outstretched arms easily reach from wall to wall - on a normal man? What have years of such confinement carved, etched and engraved upon his flesh? Years, I thought, not one or two, but twenty years! I then thought that 20 years should be multiplied by 365 days in each year, and then triple and quadruple the hours, minutes and seconds and so on. All of these calculations led me to believe that when we met I would behold a broken man, a shadow of a man, a broken vessel. This is how I imagined you would be, Jonathan - but not in reality. In reality you revealed yourself to me as a true hero, a great personality, a giant in thought, pure in speech, a knowledgeable person - and in every respect, solid, focused, well-balanced, clear thinking, and razor sharp. I experienced true intellectual delight during the hours we shared together in prison, Jonathan. I saw a man whose words and heart were in harmony; a man who "does not bow before man". You are a man of truth; a man who has fought without fear; who has fought as a proud and faithful Jew.
Jonathan, even though you are held in a horrible prison in North Carolina, your heart is in the East in the land of Israel, and what is even more important is your soul. Jonathan, your soul can be found in the soul of every single Jew and is part of it. This is not a feeling, nor is it a sentiment. It is the reality. You are with us, within us, part of our soul, within our very limbs, and now even more so than ever.
We are connected, we are hurting, we are joined, we feel, we pray, we wish, we hope, and we are certain that the day will come - and not far off is the day - that you, Jonathan, and Esther your wonderful wife by your side, will arrive together at the gates of redemption, at the gates of Eretz Yisrael, and very soon. Amain! May it indeed be His will!
signed with love,
HaRav Israel Weiss
Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces