Thursday, May 26, 2011

It Doesn`t Make Sense - or Does It?

Spring wildflowers in Central Israel
Photo: Yehoshua HaLevi

The Rebbetzin's Viewpoint
by: Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Some years after the Six Day War, I was invited to address the I.D.F. as well as various communities in Israel. On one of these occasions I called a press conference. In those days, it was possible to do that for outreach was a novelty. With the exception of Chabad, none of the kiruv organizations that are active today were in existence. We were literally the first to put kiruv – outreach, on the map.

I called the press conference because I was terribly afraid. In the euphoria that followed the spectacular victory of the Six Day War.... gratitude to Hashem, proclaiming His guiding hand, was blatantly missing. We deluded ourselves into believing that it was “kochi v’otzem yadie...” – “It was my strength, my might that achieved this...” I was so terribly afraid of the consequences of this attitude, that I felt constrained to call a press conference in the hope that someone might just listen.

“The nations of the world begrudge us victory,” I said. “Yes, for a few moments after the Holocaust, their consciences bothered them and anti-Jewish diatribes became politically incorrect. But alas, as a survivor of the Holocaust, I knew that that would soon pass, and their hatred would resurface,. There is only one way in which we can protect ourselves,” I continued, “and that is to have our representatives at the U.N. and throughout the world, unabashedly proclaim that we returned to our G-d given land – that our right to that land was granted by the Almighty G-d Himself and we have a deed to prove it. And even as we make that declaration, we must point to the Bible – our Torah and read the passages that assure that this land will belong to us, the Jewish people, for all eternity...... that G-d Himself deeded it to us as an eternal inheritance – that the covenant sealed at Sinai proclaims that we the Jewish people, the Torah, and the land are one.”

My plea, of course, went unheeded. At best, people smiled at my naivete, and others just dismissed it as “religious fanaticism. Sadly, to this very moment, nothing has altered. With the exception of Menachem Begin, none of Israel’s leaders – neither the Prime Ministers nor any of the ambassadors have mentioned Hashem or recognized that it was His guiding hand that enabled Israel to triumph. Sadly, this failure to recognize Hashem, is also evident in many areas. Our beautiful, moving anthem, Hatikva, would be so much more meaningful if G-d’s name was mentioned. I could cite many other examples, but the important factor is that we ourselves understand that “we are a holy nation that stood at Sinai and heard the voice of G-d, and that voice is embedded in our neshamas. If we would only listen to its still, small voice that is constantly calling out to us.

With every passing year, the demonization of the Jewish State has escalated, where once, for a very brief moment, Israeli soldiers were held in esteem, today, they are regarded as oppressors of the downtrodden who occupy land that does not belong to them.

In vain does Israel reach out with compassion to those who attack her; in vain does she extend the hand of peace. The attacks continue unabated and with every passing day, they become more deadly., killing men women, children and babes. From the very moment of Israel’s rebirth, Jewish blood flowed freely in the land, but no nation ever protested that; no nation ever raised its voice on our behalf.. The centuries old canard of Jew hatred never really dissipated, and today we are witnessing that which we thought would never occur.

Was it only yesterday that the most popular song on the Israeli hit parade was “Ani mafticha lach..... I promise you my child, that this will be the last war...” Tragically, it was a dream that never came about.
I write all this not because, G-d forbid, I want to criticize our people, but precisely because I love our people and our land, that I write. G-d knows we have undergone more than enough suffering already, and in this time of crisis, even as in pre-Holocaust Europe, doors are once again being shut against us. Before it’s too late, we have to recognize that our help, our salvation will not come from Washington nor from any other capitol on earth. But it can and will come from the greatest capitol of all – the capitol in the Heavens above. It is there and only there that our destiny is shaped. It is to that capitol that we must cry out, and if we do so, our help will come.

President Obama, in his address to the nation outlined his new peace initiative, calling upon Israel to return to her pre-1967 borders, a suicidal course that the Jewish state can never consider. Israel’s Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu, delivered a most eloquent, powerful response, explaining why Israel can never entertain such a death sentence. He passionately explained how, throughout the centuries, the Jewish have people suffered barbaric torture and persecution that saw millions slaughtered, but throughout, the Jewish people never renounced their right to the land of Israel nor their hope of return. Yes, he spoke from the heart and you had to be a stone not to be moved by it. But with all that, there was one word that was blatantly missing, and the absence of that word rendered Israel vulnerable, open to further attack, and that one word was Hashem – the Almighty G-d.

If only.....if only, I thought to myself, he had added to his powerful plea, “We have returned to our G-d given land!”. But alas that one sentence never surfaced. No, we cannot rely upon anyone. I reiterate, our help can only come from G-d Himself.

I ask every fair-minded person to consider what happens if millions of people shout that Israel and the Jews, are the vermin of the world and must be exterminated. Then consider what would happen if, instead of the word “Jew”, the words “black man” was substituted. Then consider what would happen if, instead of “Israel” another nation would be required to give over its land to a people who openly proclaim that they will never recognize her right to exist.

What’s more, consider what would happen if any other nation was required to give up her land, evacuate her citizens, and remove them by force. What would happen if they were demanded to give up the homes and the synagogues that they built, the land that they converted from a desert into beautiful gardens and orchards only to see that place become a launching pad for deadly terrorist attacks. Yes, Israel called upon her own soldiers to uproot their brethren from Gush Katif and rendered them refugees in their own land.

And it wasn’t only these places. Remember Oslo when Israel gave up her land for the creation of a Palestinian State and then supplied weapons for a police force, only to see those weapons turned against her. I could go on and on, but would anyone dare demand that after having seen and experienced all that, more land be given away to a people that have proven time and again that they have only one agenda, and that is to wipe Israel off the map.

And how, you might wonder was Israel rewarded for her sacrifices? The lands that she gave away were quickly converted into launching pads for deadly missiles and rockets aimed at her villages and cities, killing and maiming. And now, Israel is being pushed to give away more and more of her land. from whence Hamas and her cohorts can launch even more deadly rockets.

Prime Minister Netanyahu explained that we are a nation that suffered one holocaust too many. we cannot risk another slaughter. Instead of understanding his plea, he was chastised for lecturing the president in the White House.

There is something here that does not make logical sense, something that every rational mind must question and wonder at. How could such evil be accepted? It defies all reason, and yet, the answer is simple: “If only My people would heed Me. If Israel would walk in My ways, in an instant, I would subdue their foes and against their tormentors, turn my hand....” [Psalm 81]

Source: Hineni

Also see: The Sound of Silence

1 comment:

Dov Bar-Leib said...

In St. Louis, MO where I spent the first 43 years of my life, there was a legendary radio host on KMOX named Jack Carney. His mother was Jewish. He had a regular feature where he featured several KMOX personalities such as Bob Costas in his own soap opera. One of his favorite stars was the cleaning lady at the KMOX radio station. Her name was Miss Blue. She had one line that she said over and over again. "All is well." Well, All is well. The final redemption, G-d willing, has begun.