Day 8- Airforce Museum, Sde Boker, Machtesh Hagadol, Family Time,
We got up early this morning at 6:00am to begin today’s journeys. We davened at 6:30 and had our first delicious breakfast at our new hotel, yummy! Packed and we were off for another awesome day of touring.
In sefer tehillim there is a mizmor which we say every day, which is easy to glance over and say “yea sounds about right I guess” but after today we were able to understand it with great clarity. The passuk says “rabot machshavot bilev eish vatzaht hashem hi takom” in plain English Man plans but Hashem’s plans overrule. This can be easy to understand from a philosophical perspective however, when it happens and OUR plans are messed up , how good is this knowledge? You might thing “Yeh Yeh Hashem rules but I still suffered and my day suffered, so David hamelech give me something I can use!” Hours upon hours go into each day’s schedule for this trip, hundreds of e-mails etc and in one swift moment Hashem says “I don’t think so”.
The rainy season is basically over here in Israel, if it rains it is short and sweet, but today it poured from the north to the south and when all of your plans are for outdoor activities oh boy! Our bus driver said “in the thick of winter it doesn’t rain like this”. Well today Hashem said “ I don’t think so”. Israel relies on rain to survive, without it things are very bad. The Kinneret, Israel’s main water source, was dangerously low this year but B”H winter was pretty good but a last minute gift like we had today is very much needed and looked at as a blessing from Hashem. R. Weiss’s, grandson Maor about 4, whenever it rains he stands outside, hands up facing the sky and screams out “thank you Hashem for the rain”. It was very interesting how everyone was so happy that it rained even though their plans were surely ruined. A lesson for us all and a gift that must be accepted when given! So even if things seem not to be working out on our schedule we can be comforted to know that Hashem has plans and that they are ultimately for our good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We did manage to reach our first stop, after a grueling two hour drive, the Air force Museum in Be’er Sheva. First we walked through this room which showed us models of different planes. Then the tour guide showed us the different systems of the cockpit and the pilots’ suits. After that she showed us a picture of all of the past leaders of the Air force. She also told us an interesting story about an Air force pilot who crashed in Lebanon and was captured till today, Ron Arad who is still there since 1986. The other pilot was rescued by a Cobra Helicopter, which didn’t have any room for him, so he had to hold on to the Helicopter’s landing ski throughout the rescue.
After that story we went outside to see real airplanes. There was a large parking lot-sized space with almost 50 planes, ordered in the time that it was used. First came some World War II era planes, such as the Messerschmitt, Spitfire, and several Mustangs. Next was a row of the first jet planes, including the British Vampire and Meteors. Then there were a few Russian planes and the famous French Mirage. Lastly they had a few planes that are in the Air force today.
The last part of the museum was a Boeing 707 commercial plane that was used in the Entebbe Operation. We boarded the plane and watched a movie about the Israeli Air force.
Then we just barely made it to Sde Boker a small kibutz which Ben Gurion founded, lived and died. Apparently when Ben Gurion was in the army marching through the canyon he fell in love with the kibbutz area and stayed there for a bit. Later he became Prime Minister of Israel. After he retired he moved into the kibbutz and lived there for the rest of his life. Instead of being buried on Har Hertzel, like all the other Prime Ministers, he decided to be buried in Sde Boker. We had the privilege to see his and his wife’s burial spots. The view of the Negev is spectacular it is easy to see how and why they fell in love with the kibbutz. The Kibbutz is also right next to the river of Tzin mentioned in the chumash as one of the borders of Israel, very cool, Fonzi cool! We had lunch at a pizza store in Sde Boker, Mrs. Gurions famous recipe, yum yum (Not really). Rabbi Weiss ordered pizza with tuna on it, all the kids were aghast.
Next we drove to a huge ‘crater’, which really wasn’t a crater but some other strange reaction, called Machtesh Hagadol the views where again breathtaking.
Back to the hotel for Family visiting night. Those who were not picked up got to go into town for some much needed shopping. We took taxis to town and we had a blast. Inquiring minds should ask Ari Klau about his experience with a man collecting money (very funny).
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