Ups and Downs
I have to admit that if I were honestly reporting on the current situation in which Israel finds itself, one side seems to be on an upward trajectory, while the other side seems going downward.
This is all separate and apart from the joy and privilege I feel every day, of living in Israel since our aliyah last July. I love it here, and belong here, and bless God many times a day for the miracle which is Israel. My faith is bellowed here, my senses are heightened here, and when I look out our balcony, or drive in Jerusalem, or walk the streets of communities where friends live, I still can’t believe that this is all mine. I simply love it.
At the same time, it’s hard to escape that, to paraphrase Tevye the milkman in Fiddler on the Roof, one side of this Arab-Israeli conflict is on a long staircase just going up, and one is on a long staircase just going down. And I don’t have to tell you which is which.
Our Arabs neighbors seem to be on a march to statehood in September at the United Nations, no matter what. It doesn’t matter what they do- get in bed with the Hamas terrorists, don’t move an inch towards peace during Israel’s 10 month building moratorium, incite hatred against Israel, celebrate the butchering of an innocent family- governments across the world as well as liberal thinkers give them a pass and fail to hold them accountable. Terrorist weapons go through tunnels unabated. We yawn at Iran’s progress.
Now even President Obama has bought the party line: Geographically vulnerable Israel must retreat to pre-1967 borders, saying this even while maintaining that Israel’s security is at the top of his agenda. Mr. President, if there were a third side to your mouth, you would be talking out of that, too. I would but a Palestinian state at 1599 Pennsylvania Avenue, and ask the President to report to me a few months from now, to let me know how that arrangement is going. It’ll be a safe and secure neighborhood to be sure, especially with J Street at 1598 Pennsylvania Avenue, just to round things out.
At the same time that our Arab neighbors seem to be enjoying the height of popularity and support, Israel seems to be sliding down a snow-covered mountain with no breaks. Claims such as: Our Prime Minister is not bold enough. We are evil occupiers. We kill innocent people in wars. We kill innocent people when we go on ships who wish to break a blockade. We have apartheid policies. Our biblical reclamations in defensive wars are illegitimate.
We have to justify our existence every day. We simply can’t seem to do anything right. We have the Midas touch- except that instead of gold, everything we touch turns into a muffler.
This is the perception, and at this time, it feels like we’re on the losing end, doesn’t it?
Enter Exodus 6:1, a verse in our Torah that gives me the chills every time I read it, and gives me hope and support at times like these, when things seem more and more precarious for Israel.
Right before Exodus 6:1, Moses had gone to the Pharaoh of Egypt, in the hopes of currying his favor and convincing him to ease up on the slavery, and ultimately to let his people go. Things go from bad to worse, and this is not lost on Moses who frustratedly addresses God with the following:
"My Lord, why have you done evil with this people? Why have you sent me? From the time I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he did evil to this people, but you did not rescue Your people."
In a word, “We’re going from bad to worse and things look terrible. What are you doing? I thought you’re supposed to be on OUR side!”
Exodus 6:1 is God’s answer to Moses, one that gives me tremendous comfort. It reminds me of Who is in charge, and that there is a power much greater than our enemies. It doesn’t absolve me of praying for Israel and its precious Armed Forces, and I must continue to do what I can spiritually to help God in his battle against those who are endangering and harming his chosen nation. I absolutely love this Torah verse, and have quoted it dozens of times.
“God said to Moses, ''Now you will see what I shall do to Pharaoh, for through a strong hand will he send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them from his land.''"
Now you will see…I have set the stage….the perceptions are in place….it hasn’t looked this bad in a long time…and this, ladies and gentlemen, is where I come in.
Just sit back and watch. Your spiritual good works will help me, but sit back and enjoy. This is when I do my finest work, in full view of the entire world, who will marvel at the saving and redemption of Israel.
Psalms 113:7- He raises the low from the dust, to seat them with the nobles.
I have every faith and expectation that now, as in the past, God will reverse our downward trajectory, to seat us forever with the nobles of the world.
You can follow Rabbi Elan Adler on elanadler.com