Aloh NaalehAloh Naaleh is an organization dedicated to building Aliya motivation among North American Jewry. Torah Thoughts contributed by Aloh Naaleh members appear in the Orthodox Union's Torah Insights publication.
This coming week, at least according to the secular calendar, marks the anniversary of one of the Jewish people's most important events, the Six Day War. It was a moment that enthralled - and shocked - the world. To a believing Jew, it was a miracle of Biblical proportions. But, like all miracles, it not only affirmed our faith, it tested it as well.
For 2,000 years, we prayed daily for a return to Zion. We faced Jerusalem in prayer, recited "Next Year in Jerusalem" twice a year and modeled our shuls after the Beit HaMikdash. And then, in 1948, God allowed us to reclaim our ancient homeland. We won a stunning victory against all odds and Israel was born anew.
"Is this the Redemption we waited for?" wondered world Jewry.
But the new State was small and beleaguered. Jerusalem was split in half, the holy sites in foreign hands. "Is this the Redemption we waited for?" wondered world Jewry. Essentially, only those Jews fleeing persecution in Europe or the Arab world made Aliyah.
As evidenced by the amazing phenomenon of Pesach Sheni in today's sedra, God believes in second chances. And so, in 1967, we crushed our enemies and established solid borders from the river to sea, from the Golan to the Negev. Our holy places were once again in our hands, our capital reunited. With such an overt show of Divine blessing, would world Jewry answer the call and come home?
The question still lingers. While our population - keyn yirbu - has multiplied eleven-fold, and we now constitute the largest Jewish community in the world, a persistent Yetzer Hara still lurks in the shadows: Is Israel the long-awaited promise, or is it Galut with a Kotel?
For six glorious days, God worked. It is left up to us to do the rest.
Rabbi Weiss is the director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Ra’anana.
The foregoing commentary was distributed by the Aloh Naaleh organization.