Links to three Pesach-pertinent essays I offered in past years:
Chag kasher visame’ach!
Stay safe and be well!
Links to three Pesach-pertinent essays I offered in past years:
Chag kasher visame’ach!
Stay safe and be well!
Anyone interested in a Zoom presentation on “The Hidden Haggadah: Subliminal messages in our Seder text” is welcome to join me at 4:00 pm tomorrow (4/1)
Meeting ID: 388 827 398 Password: 573128
On the first day of Pesach, Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib offered the “Jewish sisters and brothers” among her constituents Passover greetings, accompanied by a graphic that included two fluffy loaves of bread. A similar faux pas (perhaps, here, articulating the French should-be-silent “s”) was part of the British Labor Party’s seasonal greeting as well.
Ms. Tlaib’s ignorance of one of the most important and widely-recognized elements of Pesach observance nicely paralleled her similar unawareness of the history of the Jews and Eretz Yisrael.
Her unbridled support of the “Palestinian cause” reveals an obliviousness to the uninterrupted Jewish presence over millennia in the land that today comprises the state of Israel, and the even more trenchant fact that the Jews who were expelled from the land after the destruction of the Second Beis Hamikdash, and their descendants over all the subsequent generations, have turned daily to Yerushalayim in prayer and pined for a return to their ancestral homeland.
Although Ms. Tlaib hasn’t publicly expressed an explicit hope for an end to the Jewish presence in the Jewish land, she openly supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, advocates for a “Palestinian right of return” and backs a “one-state solution” – by which she presumably means (based on that “right of return” for all the descendants of all the emigrants from Partition-era Palestine) the transition of Israel, chalilah, into a 22nd Arab country.
The offensiveness of her infamous comment back in January about Senators Marco Rubio and Jim Risch – that, because of their opposition to BDS, they “forgot what country they represent” – has now been complemented by the craziness of her reaction to a report on the most recent conflict between Hamas and Israel in Gaza.
To be specific, to a headline in The New York Times summing up the violent happenings. The headline read: “Gaza militants fire 250 rockets, and Israel responds with airstrikes.”
The 250 rockets eventually became more than 700, and caused scores of Israeli civilian casualties, including three deaths – one of them a Bedouin father of seven; another, a 21-year-old chareidi father of a one-year-old. But, at the time of the Times’ report, the headline was an accurate, straightforward description of events.
Representative Tlaib, though, was outraged. “When will the world stop dehumanizing our Palestinian people who just want to be free?” she tweeted. “Headlines like this & framing it in this way just feeds into the continued lack of responsibility on Israel who unjustly oppress & target Palestinian children and families.”
The headline just stated the bald facts of the conflict: terrorists shot hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians and Israel ended the onslaught by attacking Hamas military targets from the air. Perhaps Ms. Tlaib would have preferred the chronology to be reversed, with Israeli attacks followed by Hamas retaliation. But time, alas, proceeds in only one direction.
And if the Congresswoman meant to reference the four Palestinian protesters at the border fence who were killed by Israeli forces the previous Friday, well, Palestinian violence at “peaceful protests” is legend. And those killings were preceded by the shooting of two Israeli soldiers there. That pesky arrow of time again.
The Congresswoman might also be reminded that Israel evacuated Gaza in 2005, relocating over 10,000 Jews, ethnically cleansing the region; and that the local residents, “who just want to be free,” freely elected a terrorist organization to rule them – which is what has directly resulted in their current deprivation and suffering.
If Ms. Tlaib – and we might well add her colleague Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, who likewise wished Jews a “happy Passover” – really wanted to gain respect from Jewish constituents and other American Jews, they might have issued a full-throated condemnation of Hamas’ most recent attempt to terrorize and murder Israeli civilians. And, for that matter, of Hamas’ general embrace of terrorism, incitement of the populace under its control and sworn goal of erasing Israel from the map.
Shia Muslim Imam and President of the Islamic Association of South Australia Mohamad Tawhidi did precisely that. And he went on to call out Mss. Tlaib and Omar for their own lack of outrage over Hamas’ terrorism.
Earlier this year, while paying his respects to Holocaust victims at Auschwitz, the imam was even blunter about the two Congresswomen, criticizing them as “absolute frauds and Islamists” who “promote hatred against the Jewish people.”
I don’t claim to know what lies in the heart of either woman. But I know what seems absent from both their heads: a recognition of the facts of history, both ancient and current.
As absent, it would seem, as leavened bread in observant Jewish homes on Pesach.
© 2019 Hamodia
I often feel terribly pampered. Especially when I think of my parents’ generation.
At the age when my father, z”l, and several others from the Novardok Yeshiva in Vilna were captured for being Polish bnei yeshivah and banished by the Soviets to Siberia, I was being captured by a teacher for some prank and banished to the principal’s office. When he was trying to avoid working on Shabbos as his taskmasters demanded, I was busy trying to avoid the homework my teachers demanded.
When he was moser nefesh finding opportunities to study Torah while working in the frozen taiga, my mesirus nefesh consisted of getting out of bed early in the morning for davening. Where he struggled to survive, my only struggle was with the mundane challenges of adolescence. Pondering our respective age-tagged challenges has lent me perspective.
And so, while I help prepare the house for Pesach, pausing to rest each year a bit more frequently than the previous one, thoughts of my father’s first Pesach in Siberia arrive in my head.
In his slim memoir, “Fire, Ice, Air,” he describes how Pesach was on the minds of the young men and their Rebbi, Rav Leib Nekritz, zt”l, as soon as they arrived in Siberia in the summer of 1941. While laboring in the fields, they pocketed a few wheat kernels here and there, later placing them in a special bag, which they carefully hid. This was, of course, against the rules and dangerous. But the Communist credo, after all, was “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” and so they were really only being good Marxists. They had needs, after all, like matzah shemurah.
Toward the end of the frigid winter, they retrieved their stash and ground the wheat into coarse, dark flour.
They then dismantled a clock and fitted its gears to a whittled piece of wood, fashioning an approximation of the cleated rolling pin traditionally used to perforate matzos to ensure their thorough baking. In the middle of the night, the exiles came together in a hut with an oven, which they fired up for two hours to make it kosher l’Pesach before baking their matzos.
And on Pesach night they fulfilled, to the extent they could, the mitzvah of achilas matzah.
Perspective is provided me too by the wartime Pesach experience of, l’havdil bein chaim l’chaim, my wife’s father, Reb Yisroel Yitzchok Cohen, may he be well. In his own memoir, “Destined to Survive,” he describes how, in the Dachau satellite camp where he was interned, there was no way to procure matzah. All the same, he was determined to have the Pesach he could. In the dark of the barracks on the leil shimurim, he suggested to a friend that they recite parts of the Haggadah they knew by heart.
As they quietly chanted Mah Nishtanah, other inmates protested. “What are you crazy Chassidim doing?” they asked. “Do you have matzos, do you have wine and food for a Seder? Sheer stupidity!”
My shver responded that he and his friend were fulfilling a mitzvah d’Oraysa – and that no one could know if their “Seder” is less meritorious in the eyes of Heaven than those of Jews in places of freedom and plenty.
We in such places can glean much from the Pesachim of those two members – and so many other men and women – of the Jewish “greatest generation.”
A passuk cited in the Haggadah elicited a novel thought from Rav Avrohom, the first Rebbe of Slonim. The Torah commands us to eat matzah on Pesach, “so that you remember the day of your leaving Mitzrayim all the days of your life.”
Commented the Slonimer Rebbe: “When recounting Yetzias Mitzrayim, one should remember, too, ‘all the days’ of his own life – the miracles and wonders that Hashem performed for him throughout…”
Those who, baruch Hashem, emerged from the Holocaust and merited to see children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, naturally do that. But the rest of us, too, have experienced our own “miracles and wonders.” We may not recognize all of the Divine guidance and chassadim with which we were blessed. But that reflects only our obliviousness. At the Seder, when we recount Hakadosh Baruch Hu’s kindnesses to our ancestors, it is a time, too, to look back at our own personal histories and appreciate the personal gifts we’ve been given.
And should that prove a challenge, we might begin by reflecting on what some Jews a bit older than we had to endure not so very long ago.
© 2019 Hamodia
L’havdil, the letter beis hidden inside of the letter pei in ksav Beis Yosef and ksav Arizal, is no happenstance, but rather an indication of a mystical reality.
As both very different examples indicate, though, sometimes it is easy to miss something that is, in fact, right before our eyes.
Like the one event recounted in Dayeinu that is not followed by the word dayeinu – “it would have been enough for us.”
Whenever I make the assertion that there is indeed such an event in the Seder pizmon, I am greeted with blank stares or furrowed brows. But it’s there, in full view, just easily missed.
And it’s there, I believe, by design, that of the Baal Haggadah who composed Dayeinu.
Go grab a Haggadah and see if you can find it. I’ll wait.
Okay, that’s long enough. Find it? No? But it’s right there!
All right, I’ll tell you, but not before remarking first that, while much of our Seder-night message to our children is forthright and clear, some of it is subtle and stealthy.
And some of it quite puzzling, like Dayeinu. As commentaries and Jewish children alike ask, would it really have been “enough for us” had Hashem not, say, split the Yam Suf, trapping our ancestors between the water and the Egyptian army? Some have suggested that what the pizmon means is that another nes could have taken place to save Klal Yisrael, but that certainly would weaken the import of the refrain. And then there are the other lines: “Had [Hashem] not sustained us in the desert” – enough for us? “Had He not given us the Torah.” Enough? What are we saying?
The simple approach is that we don’t really mean “Dayeinu” literally when we say it, but rather only intend to declare how undeserving of all Hashem’s kindnesses we are.
But I think there might be a different way to see Dayeinu, one that doesn’t require depriving the refrain of its actual meaning. And it has to do with that event in the pizmon not followed by the word “dayeinu.”
Oh, I’m sorry. We haven’t identified it yet. Okay, it’s time.
It’s the very first phrase in the poem, “Ilu hotzianu miMitzrayim” – Had He taken us out of Mitzrayim…”
That phrase – and it alone among all the stanzas – is not introduced with a “had He not” and qualified with a “dayeinu.” We never sing “Had He not taken us out of Mitzrayim, it would have been enough for us.” Because it wouldn’t have been. Yetzias Mitzrayim is, so to speak, a “non-negotiable” in a way that nothing else is.
It was the singular, crucial, transformative point in Jewish history, when what was until then an extended family became a nation, Klal Yisroel. Had Jewish history ended, chalilah, with starvation in the desert, or even in battle at an undisturbed Red Sea, it would have been, without doubt, a terrible tragedy, the cutting down of a people just born – but still, the cutting down of a people. Klal Yisroel, the very purpose of creation (“For the sake of Yisrael,” as the Midrash comments on the first word of the Torah, Hashem created the universe), would still have existed, if only briefly.
And our nationhood, after all, is precisely what we celebrate on Pesach.
And so, the subtle message of Dayeinu may be just that: the sheer indispensability of Yetzias Mitzrayim – its contrast with the rest of Jewish history, its importance beyond even the magnitude of all the nissim that came to follow.
If so, then for thousands of years, that sublime thought might have subliminally accompanied the strains of spirited “Da-Da-yeinu’s,” ever so delicately yet ever so ably suffusing Jewish minds and hearts, without their owners necessarily even realizing it. And the fact that the Seder persists among Jews who are far from observance and even devoid of other markers of Jewish identity or affiliation, may be born of their unconscious recognition of the ultimate importance of Jewish peoplehood.
In any event, it’s an idea worth pondering.
There’s more to say on the subject, maybe, with Hashem’s help, next year.
For now, though, dayeinu.
© 2018 Hamodia
More recently, I was struck by a full page come-on just around this time of year featuring a bottle of kosher for Pesach potato-based vodka over the legend: “Finally, shulchan oreich is a pleasure.”
Finally? I dunno. Somehow, my family’s sedarim have been immensely pleasurable, even vodka-free.
Between those offensive bookends I incredulously encountered many other Jewishly tone-deaf ads, in print or pixels. Like one advising how you can “steal the show” with some fancy table adornment or another; another one that proudly announced an all-you-can-eat “Fleishfest!” (though for a worthy cause); yet another letting the reader know that there’s a way to “Experience the real simchas yomtov,” by spending Pesach at a particular hotel. (Who would want a fake simchas Yom Tov, after all?)
And then there was the ad (for another away-from-home holiday locale) assuring us that “The only thing you should have to give up for Pesach is chametz.” Presumably, the message was that one shouldn’t have to spend his hard-earned free time – the holiday, after all, celebrates freedom, no? – cleaning, changing over the house and cooking for Yom Tov.)
And Sukkos really seems to bring out the best (so to speak) in Jewishly clueless marketing.
One late summer ad for a labor-free temporary tabernacle offered to end, once and for all, the dreaded “hassle of sukkah”; another dangled the lure of a getaway to a Florida Keys hotel featuring its own “air conditioned Sukkah!” (Good she’eilah there: If the AC is too strong, is one considered a mitzta’er?) And yet another invited readers to a glatt kosher vacation for the Yom Tov in the Bahamas, assuring them that “Sukkot Never Got This Good.” (After inviting Ushpizin, one supposes, he can, as the ad continued, “swim with dolphins!”)
That particular advertisement went on to modestly self-identify as “the most luxurious and extraordinary resort on Planet Earth.” Remind you of “So that your generations may know that I made the Bnei Yisrael dwell in sukkos when I brought them out of Eretz Mitzrayim” (Vayikra 23:43)? Me neither.
We Jews in America today are beneficiaries of Hakadosh Baruch Hu’s kindness beyond measure. We live in a time and place where we are not persecuted, have freedom to practice our faith and to engage in professions and businesses without hindrance –seldom if ever the case in our previous sojournings in galus.
But with plenty come plenty of challenges. The Shabbos before last we read in shul of the egel hazahav, the Golden Calf. It was said in the yeshiva of Rabi Yanai that Moshe attributed that sin to Hashem’s having bestowed much gold and silver on the people (Berachos 32a). It’s hard to be poor, but wealth carries dangers of its own.
I don’t want, chalilah, to injure any Jew’s livelihood, and have nothing against meat (though the less of it one eats, it’s increasingly clear, the better) or vodka, kosher for Pesach or otherwise; I’ve been known to occasionally splash a bit in my grapefruit juice myself. And there may well be people who, nebbich, need to spend Yomim Tovim in hotels.
But none of us should covet any of those things – or seek to stir covetousness for them in our fellow Jews. And, no less than we care about where our children receive their educational instruction we should care about the “chinuch” they receive from the pages of the periodicals we welcome into our homes. And we shouldn’t be sheepish about letting advertisers know when we feel their blandishments have crossed lines.
Yes, yes, I know that advertising is part and parcel of contemporary business, and what keeps Jewish papers and magazines afloat. But there is a stark, qualitative difference between ads that offer information, opportunities and products, on the one hand, and those, on the other, that shamelessly exaggerate – or, worse, that promote values that are, politely put, less than consonant with Torah-informed values. Or, worse still, that promote violation of one of the Aseres Hadibros’ “Thou shalt not”s (see “steal the show,” above).
There is ample room for creativity – photographic, linguistic, humorous and otherwise– in producing memorable advertisements for most anything. A Jewishly responsible ad doesn’t have to be bland.
But it should be becoming.
© 2018 Hamodia
Four cups of wine. Dam (=44) was placed, in Mitzrayim, on the doorway (deles, “door,” being the technical spelling of what we call the letter daled, whose value is four).
Let us move fourward – please forgive (fourgive?) me! – on the question of… why.
The chachamim who formulated the Haggadah intended it to plant important concepts in the hearts and minds of its readers – especially its younger ones, toward whom the Seder, our mesorah teaches, is particularly aimed.
Which it why the Seder persists, not only in the memories of all who are reading this, but in those of countless Jews who have strayed far from our mesorah. So many Jews who are, tragically, alienated from virtually every other Jewish observance still feel compelled to have at least some sort of Seder, to read a Haggadah, or even – if they have drifted too far from their heritage to comfortably confront the original – to compose their own “versions.” (I once, long ago, joked before a group that a “Vegetarian Haggadah” would likely appear any year now, and someone in attendance later showed me precisely such a book – though it lacked the “Paschal Turnip” I had imagined.)
Part of the brilliance of the Haggadah is its employ of “child-friendly” elements. Not just to entertain the young people at the Seder and keep them awake, but to subtly plant the seeds of important ideas in their minds and hearts. Dayeinu and Chad Gadya and Echad Mi Yodea are not pointless; they are pedagogy – and of the most effective sort.
There are riddles, too, in the Haggadah. Like the Puzzle of the Ubiquitous Fours.
The most basic and urgent concept the Seder experience is meant to impart to young Jews is that Yetzias Mitzrayim forged something vital: our peoplehood. It, in other words, created Klal Yisrael.
Before the event that we celebrate on the Seder night took place, a multitude of Yaakov Avinu’s descendants were in Mitzrayim. Each individual rose or fell on his or her own merits. And not all of them. Chazal teach us, merited to leave Mitzrayim. Those who did, though, who emerged from their blood-adorned doorways and passed through the channel of the Yam Suf, were reborn as something new: a people.
And so, at the Seder, we seek to instill in our children the realization that they are not mere individuals but rather parts of an interwoven whole, members of a nation unconstrained by geographical boundaries but inexorably linked by history, destiny and Hashem’s love. We impress our charges with the fact that they are links in a shimmering ethereal chain stretching back to when our people was divinely redeemed from mundane slavery in Egypt and then entered a sublime servitude of a very different sort – to HaKadosh Boruch Hu – at Har Sinai.
Thus, the role we adults play on Pesach night, vis a vis the younger Jews with whom we share the experience, is a very precise one. We are teachers, to be sure, but it is not information that we are communicating; it is identity. Although the father of the home may be conducting the Seder, he is acting not in his normative role as teacher of Torah but rather in something more akin to a maternal role, as a nurturer of the neshamos of the children present, an imparter of identity. And thus, in a sense, he is acting in a maternal role.
Mothers, of course, are the parents who most effectively mold their children, who most make them who they are. That, interestingly, parallels the halachic determinant of Jewish identity, which is dependent on mothers. While a Jew’s shevet follows the paternal line, whether one is a member of Klal Yisrael or not depends entirely on maternal status.
The Haggadah may itself contain the solution to the riddle of the fours. It’s only speculation, but it has long struck me as having the ring of emes. The recurrent numerical theme in our exquisite Haggadah, employed each year to instill Jewish identity might be reflective of that halachic status-determinant, and, at the same time, reminding us of the inestimable importance of mothers.
Because the Haggadah, after all, has its own number-decoder built right in, toward its end, where most good books’ resolutions take place. We’re a little hazy once it’s reached, after four kosos and all, but it’s unmistakably there, in “Echad Mi Yodea” – the Seder-song that provides Jewish associations with numbers.
“Who knows four?…”
© 2017 Hamodia
American slaves in the 19th century famously adopted the imagery and language of Yetzias Mitzrayim to express the hopes they harbored to one day be free. In one famous spiritual, they sang of “When Israel was in Egypt land… oppressed so hard they could not stand,” punctuating each phrase with the refrain “Let My people go.”
Similar references to our ancestors’ liberation from Mitzrayim informed the American labor and civil rights movements as well. In his celebrated “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, Martin Luther King pined to “watch G-d’s children in their magnificent trek from the dark dungeons of Egypt… on toward the promised land.” And he sought to assure American blacks that “the Israelites” suffered much before gaining their freedom, and so neither should his listeners give up hope.
It says much that so many have modeled their aspirations on the Divine extraction of goy mikerev goy, “a nation from the midst of a nation” (Devarim 4:34). To the Western world, the account of our ancestors’ release from slavery is the mother of all liberation movements. And, at least in a way, one supposes, it is.
But the reading of freedom as mere release from repression is sorely incomplete. Because after Shalach es ami, “Let my people go,” comes a most important additional word: viyaavduni – “so that they may serve Me” (Shmos 9:1). Klal Yisrael wasn’t merely taken from slavery to “freedom,” in the word’s simplest sense. We were taken from meaningless, onerous oppression to… a different servitude, the most meaningful kind imaginable: serving Hashem.
The Hebrew word for freedom, of course, is cheirus, evoking the word charus, “inscribed,” the word the Torah uses to describe the etching of the words on the Luchos, the “Tablets of the Law.” Chazal see a profound truth in the two words’ similarity, and teach us: “The only free person is the one immersed in Torah.”
What in the world, others might ask us, does immersion in an intellectually taxing corpus of abstruse texts, subtle ideas and legal/ritual minutiae have to do with freedom?
They would claim to feel most free lying on beach chairs in their back yards on a day off from work, sunshine on their faces and cold beverages within reach, with nothing, absolutely nothing, to do. And, to be sure, there are in fact times when we all need to relax, to recharge. But that’s not the meaning of freedom, at least not in the Torah’s view.
In the words of Iyov, adam l’amal yulad, “Man is born to toil” (5:7). What we simplemindedly think of as “freedom” is not true cherus. We’re here to labor, to study, to control ourselves, to apply ourselves, to accomplish things. Our “freedom” is release from the meaningless servitude some pledge to a master like money, chemicals, or this or that transient pleasure; and entry into meaningful servitude to something transcendent.
Truth be told, the freedom touted by “the velt” doesn’t even yield the fulfillment it promises. Or even happiness. Winning the lottery and moving to Monaco to indulge one’s whims may be a common daydream, but, as countless accounts have borne witness, release from economic straits and the embrace of hedonism have yielded more suicides than serenity.
True freedom, ironically, comes from hard work. Applying ourselves to our Divine mandate liberates us from the limitations of our inner Egypts, and brings true fulfillment, true joy.
Yesh chachmah bagoyim, Chazal tell us. Listen to the words of the Indian poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore:
“I have on my table a violin string. It is free to move in any direction I like. If I twist one end, it responds; it is free.
“But it is not free to sing. So I take it and fix it into my violin. I bind it, and when it is bound, it is free for the first time to sing.”
What a perceptive mashal, and how inadvertently apt.
Because when our forebears were released from Egyptian bondage, as they prepared to embark on their path to viyaavduni, they paused to sing a song, Shiras Hayam.
© 2016 Hamodia
The Sedarim took place and their ethereal light shone. Questions were asked and responses recounted. Divrei Torah were delivered, and, for the fortunate among us, new insights were granted.
And the haftarah on Yom Tov’s final day (in chutz laAretz) was read. Were we listening?
The excerpt from Yeshayahu (10:32-12:6) includes the Navi’s vision of the end of history, when the “wolf will dwell with the lamb” and perfect peace will reign among the world’s human inhabitants as well, for they will all recognize Hashem and His people.
The backdrop for the expression of that vision was the massing outside Yerushalayim of the army of Ashur, intoxicated with its successful conquest of much of Eretz Yisroel. Its king Sancheriv and his henchman Ravshakeh mocked the Jews; brimming with self-confidence, they blustered and blasphemed. But the besieging forces were to meet a sudden downfall, as the Navi foretold, suddenly and miraculously smitten by Hashem’s malach, as recounted in Melachim II (18-19).
Yeshayahu then moves to his vision of a more distant future, when Moshiach will appear, Klal Yisroel will be rescued from all who wish them harm and “the land will be filled with knowledge of Hashem, like the waters cover the seabed.”
Yirmiyahu Hanavi also speaks of that era, giving voice to Hashem’s promise that one day “It will no longer be said, ‘Chai Hashem, Who brought the Bnei Yisrael up from the land of Mitzrayim,’ but rather ‘Chai Hashem Who brought the Bnei Yisrael up from the land of the north and from all the lands to which He cast them, and returned them onto their [own] land’.” (16:14)
In other words, despite the miracles and wonders of Yetzias Mitzrayim, the germinal event in Klal Yisroel’s formation, that geulah will pale beside the one yet to come.
Why, though? Didn’t our ancestors’ enslavement in Egypt seem a hopeless sentence, as we recalled on the Seder nights, and wouldn’t its continuation have spelled the very undermining of the Jewish nation?
The makkos and Krias Yam Suf , though, as powerful expressions of Hashem’s love of His people as they were, were but temporary interruptions of the natural course of things. What the Neviim presage, though, is a permanent transformation of nature itself.
It has forever been the case that animals are both food and prey; it has always been so. A world where the lamb will be able to invite the wolf for a visit is a world radically altered in its essence. As is a world where Klal Yisrael has been gathered from the corners of the earth back to their promised home. And a world where, instead of the “normative” hatred of Jews, all the nations will unite in humble servitude to Hashem and in reverence for His people.
There are already individuals among the umos haolam, in some very unlikely places, who have already embraced the truths of history, and who, from their distances, venerate Hashem and revere Klal Yisrael. I personally have corresponded with one such a family, in a Muslim land, for more than a decade. The day will come, the neviim assure us, that such recognition of truth will, as we might say today, “go viral,” and fill the world “with knowledge of Hashem, like the waters cover the seabed.” A striking simile in this, our world, enveloped as it is by an ocean of information.
The Navi’s vision of the future should intrude on our present. All the threats against Klal Yisrael these days should remind us of Sancheriv and Ravshaka’s boastful rantings – and of their downfall.
And they should remind us, too, that it is Hashem alone, Who, as in Mitzrayim, will usher in the metamorphosis of the world the Neviim envisioned. When we knit our brows and announce our confident convictions about whether this or that is the savviest geopolitical course; this or that a leader to be trusted; this or that a wise pundit or a fool, we are really just entertaining ourselves.
The only truth is, as Yeshayahu proclaims: “Behold, Hashem is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid… for great in your midst is the Holy One of Yisrael.”
© 2015 Hamodia