Judaism: This War is for Us
Ariel Natan PaskoA contributing author.
They're both right, and dead wrong. True, most Jews in America and Israel want the US to capture Saddam Hussein and his gang, disarm Iraq of Weapons of Mass Destruction, institute some form of regime change, and introduce freedom and democracy. But so do most Americans, many Iraqis, and many other freedom-loving people in the region and around the world. Although it might be in Israel's interest to see the 'neighborhood bully' - Iraq - have its non-conventional weapons confiscated, it is also in America's interest, it is also in Europe's interest, it is even in Russia's and China's interest - they have both been plagued by Islamic terror in recent years. And, though they might not like to admit it publicly, it is even in the interest of Arab states in the region.
Nobody who thinks about it for a couple of seconds should want a dictator like Saddam Hussein - who has already used chemical weapons on his own citizens, the Kurds, and his neighbors, the Iranians - to have Weapons of Mass Destruction. Whether he uses them himself or passes them off to terror groups like al-Qaida, Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, the Chechens, or Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who wants some nut cases releasing Small Pox, Anthrax, or VX Nerve Gas onto innocent civilian populations?
However, we already knew that this war is for us - i.e., the Jews and Israel. Chazal - our sages - throughout the ages have explained the Torah, telling us that everything that happens in the world is for the benefit of the Jewish People.
Simply put another way, if all the world is a stage, then the Jews - and especially those in the Land of Israel - are the lead actors on the stage of history, and the goyim - the nations, i.e. the gentiles - have supporting roles, while the evil-doers are props and background scenery. As our tradition states, G-D - the great playwright - created the world for the sake of the Jewish People, and it is our responsibility to implement the Torah - absolute morality and the blueprint of creation - in it.
Stop and think for a moment: the last Gulf War in 1991 ended erev - just before - Purim. This Gulf War began motzei - just after - Shushan Purim. Get the picture? In between, "The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honor." (Book of Esther 8:16)
Read the Purim story in Megilat Esther again, it is a rags to riches story on a national scale. Haman, the proto-typical anti-Semite, plans mass murder of the Jews and in the end pays with his life, the life of his ten sons - all hanged - and the Jews kill 75, 800 members of the anti-Semitic - i.e. Nazi - party of the time.
This is not so different from the Nuremberg Trials after World War II, when 23 Nazi war criminals were tried. Originally 11 were to have the death penalty imposed if found guilty. Everybody in those days thought that they would be shot - as is customary in military executions - or get the electric chair - as was common in the United States. But when the judges announced the verdict of guilty, they also said that hanging would be the method of execution. Two hours before the execution, they found Hermann Goering dead in his cell. He had committed suicide. That left only 10 Nazis to execute.
There is more to this story than meets the eye. In Megilat Esther (9:7-9), when it describes the execution of Haman's ten sons, their names are listed in a vertical column. If you look at the Hebrew closely, you'll notice extra-small letters in three of the names. The first name, Parshandata, has a small tav. The seventh name, Parmashta, has a small shin. The tenth name, Vayzata, has a small zayn. Hebrew letters are also used as numbers, as well as for dates in the Jewish calendar. Tav, shin, zayn numerically means 707, corresponding to the year 5707, which began with Rosh HaShanah - the Jewish New Year - on September 25, 1946. On October 16, 1946, as foreshadowed in the names of Haman's ten sons, ten Nazi leaders were hanged as war criminals. And if that doesn't impress you, out of nowhere, with the rope around his neck, Julius Schtreicher - editor of Der Sturmer, the Nazi propaganda newspaper - shouted out with flaming hatred in his eyes, just as the trap door opened, "Purimfest 1946!" It was reported in the international press of the day.
As I said earlier, of course this war is for the Jews and Israel, and instead of hiding from the accusation, or crying, "anti-Semitic slur", we should gratefully acknowledge what the Master of the Universe is doing to our enemies for us. Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat, Bashar Assad, Osama Bin-Laden, and the other dictators, terrorists and mullahs of the region, are the modern day Hamans and Hitlers.
Great things are yet to come. The Hebrew month of Adar is a time for 'increasing joy'. Purim is a time for celebrating our salvation from enemies who plot our destruction. Adar falls at the end of the calendar for months and the end of the winter. And after Adar comes Nisan - or Aviv, meaning springtime. Springtime is a time of rebirth and regeneration after a long dark winter. Pesach - Passover - Z'man Cherutainu - the time of our freedom - falls in Nisan. In Nisan, we were redeemed from slavery in Egypt, and the future redemption will be in Nisan.
Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook taught that we were liberated from Egyptian bondage in order to bring liberation to the entire world. The Torah repeats three times that we departed Egypt in the springtime (Exodus 13:4, 26:15, and Deuteronomy 16:1), because our freedom is not only the spring of our people, but also the spring of the entire world and its inhabitants. The objective of our liberation is to perfect the world under the reign of the Almighty, as G-d promised Abraham, "and through you all the families of the earth will be blessed." (Genesis 12:3)
Yes, the war is for the Jews. But it is also for all decent, peace-loving and freedom-loving people. Just as when the Jews were saved from Egyptian slavery, liberated, given the Torah at Mt. Sinai, and brought into the Holy Land, the world now has a great opportunity to rid itself of the Hamans, Hitlers, and Pharaohs who want to kill or enslave them today.
In the Purim story, Mordechai told Queen Esther, when she seemed apprehensive about approaching the king to ask for help to avert Haman's plan of genocide, "If you remain silent at this time, then relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father's house will perish." (Book of Esther 4:14) That is what we should tell the Pat Buchanans, the Jim Morans, and all those in America and around the world who say that the Jews are behind America's war in Iraq. That is what we should tell all those in the ?Anti-War Movement? who are against America.
Pat Buchanan really is Anti-American, though he hides it well. Who could imagine an isolationist America, disengaged from the world, as he advocates? Terrorists and terrorist states would multiply. It would end up bringing more tragedies like September 11th to America. Rather than blame America's support for Israel for September 11th, as he and Jihadist Muslims have done, Israel, America, and their allies will lessen the threat of mass murder, through war on Iraq, on other terror-regimes, and on terrorist groups.
Great things are coming, for the Jewish People, for the State of Israel, for America, for the Western democratic world, and for all those who aspire to be like them. And why should we apologize for that?
Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree in International Relations and Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites, in newspapers, and can be read at www.geocities.com/ariel_natan_pasko.
(c) 2003/5763 Pasko
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