We have entered into the celebrations of the 70th year of Independence for the newborn state of Israel.The midrash in the book of Numbers tells us that "there are 70 faces to Torah. Turn it and turn it for everything is in it”( Bamidbar Rabbah 13:15). The underlying message is that each created being has his own very unique vision and outlook .Actually the Hebrew letter for 70 is an Ayin which can also mean an "eye" It is important that each of us then uses that vision to find the spiritual truth in all that is around us. Yet regrettably many fail to even venture into that direction and as a result remain ignorant of many deep truths.
It is all about your vision!
There are those that look around them and wonder ”Is there anything here worthy of celebration?” There are others that smile smugly and declare: "We told you people all along that you were wrong to support and sanctify this secular state." There are yet others who are still recovering from the blows, the injustices and the shame heaped upon them by this same state that they had so rejoiced in. There are many others who celebrate the simple fact of Israel's physical existence and miss its deep destiny based meaning
Furthermore around us, the world gathers their weapons and brandishes their swords at us. The odious specter of blatant anti-Semitism has begun to seep into every corner of our planet again. Those in the world who claim to be our friends are consistently doing the opposite of what friends and allies are expected to do. This small beleaguered state is seemingly becoming more and more isolated.
Yet this little bastion of Divine promise is growing from success to success. The world who hates this country is at the same time reaping the benefits and enjoying the blessings of the technological, medical and agriculture innovation and discoveries of Israel. In a world that has barely survived the last financial crisis, Israel has emerged generally unscathed and whole.
In a land and region scant of water resources and long standing traditions of farming experience the trees are burgeoned with fruit and the fields overflowing with produce. This is a country that has multiplied its population by over 10 times in the few decades of its rebirth. People returning here from Europe, America, Africa, China and every small corner of the earth.
The inescapable truth is that Hashem is on the move in the world.
And that move is centered in this land
All that Hashem has promised in the book of Deuteronomy( Parshat Nitzavim) is blossoming before our eyes
And it will be, when all these things come upon you the blessing and the curse which I have set before you that you will consider in your heart, among all the nations where Hashem your G-d has banished you, 2and you will return to Hashem, your G-d, with all your heart and with all your soul, and you will listen to His voice according to all that I am commanding you this day you and your children,3then, Hashem, your G-d, will bring back your exiles, and He will have mercy upon you. He will once again gather you from all the nations, where Hashem, your G-d, had dispersed you. 4Even if your exiles are at the end of the heavens, Hashem, your G-d, will gather you from there, and He will take you from there. :5And Hashem, your G-d, will bring you to the land which your forefathers possessed, and you [too] will take possession of it, and He will do good to you, and He will make you more numerous than your forefathers. 6And Hashem, your G-d, will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, [so that you may] love Hashem your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul, for the sake of your life.( Deuteronomy 30:1-6).
As a result there are many of us who will rejoice on these days and will declare with unhesitant faith the Shehecheyanublessing: "Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, Who has kept us in life, sustained us and brought us to this moment.". Many of those define themselves with the broad term called " Religious Zionists"
Recently a member of one of the groups that come into our shop in the Old City for dialog asked the following question" what do you do with the term Zionism. Where I come from ( Europe ) that is seen as such a negative word?"
I told them, that for me, being a Zionist means that I firmly believe that G-d has an appointed place , an appointed time and an appointed plan of Destiny. This to me is the core of Zionism.
To be a Religious Zionist means that my Zionism has enhanced my deep love for my Creator and an intensified desire to do His will. My Religious belief has given me the expanded vision to enable me to see His Hand at work in every aspect of our existence and especially here in His land.
We have merited to be born in such a generation as this. We have seen how from the ashes of Auschwitz and the slaughterhouse of Europe rose the "dry bones" as foretold in Ezekiel 37. Painstakingly these dry bones began to wear flesh, sinews and skin (37: 4-6).
It was this generation that witnessed how, with the culmination of the Six Day War in June 1967 and the miraculous victory of the Jews over their Muslim enemies, the holy city of Jerusalem was reunited: "Jerusalem that is built like a city, in which all is united together." (Psalms 122:3)
It is those of us who live in Israel today that watched the Divine plan continue to unfold; and the streets and squares of Jerusalem were once again filled with children playing, exactly as Zachariah prophesied: "Thus says Hashem of hosts: old men and old women shall yet again dwell in the streets of Jerusalem.... And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets." (Zechariah 8:4-5)
It is those of us who live in this great land that can wonder if in fact some of the children that Zechariah saw could have been our very own.
A barren corner of the Middle East began to bloom and flower. A land seemingly cursed as uninhabitable and forsaken began to blossom, reaching out to welcome its children back home, just as we read in the prophecies of Ezekiel: "But you O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people
Some of the children that Zechariah saw could have been our very own.Israel, for they will soon be coming." (Ezekiel 36:8)
As history moved into the last decade of the twentieth century, the Iron Curtain that surrounded the Communist countries of Eastern Europe and Soviet Russia collapsed. And suddenly the hidden Jews from the former Soviet Union began returning home to the Land of Promise:
Therefore behold, days are coming when it will no longer be said. "As Hashem lives, Who took out the Children of Israel from the land of Egypt," but rather, "As Hashem lives, Who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the North, and from all the lands to which He had driven them;" and I shall return them to their land, which I gave to their forefathers. (Jeremiah 16:14-15)
As we today eat the sweet fruits of this land and marvel at how good they taste, we must remember that we are not eating mere fruits, but are actually eating fulfilled prophecies.
We who have seen all this, can we dare not rejoice? How can we explain not lifting our voices in song and praise? There is yet much more to do and much more to fix and repair .It is a fact that this Heavenly gift is still unformed and is still covered with unsightly husks and coverings.
Yet underneath lies a glorious gift, a gift from G-d. We cannot stand back and watch and wait for the gift to be ready and pleasing .We must begin to unwrap it with singing and Hallel. We need to also do that for those who are not here with us, because they never ceased their yearning over two thousand years of history. We are simply enjoying their fruits.
Lerefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved and Yehudit bat Chaya Esther