Monday, December 6, 2010

From the Outside Looking In

I read news of the fire in Israel all weekend with what felt like a pit in my stomach. Awakening to the news this morning that it was raining in Israel brought a sense of relief and joy . . . for a few minutes. Because even though the rains came, the fire came first.

I love you and I worry about you, Israel. I want what is best for you. I also want what is best for my family and for me. And what happens to you affects not just you, but the entire world. You are the answer. Through you, Hashem will save the world. Through you, redemption will come. There’s no question that redemption is going to come, but HOW it is going to come worries me. Was the fire Hashem’s message that redemption will come the hard way? Perhaps I'm reading too much into the situation. But the sages teach that Hashem's judgments are made at Rosh HaShanah and that if one does not repent, then the judgments are delivered at Chanukah.

One of the main axioms of Torah consciousness is that Hashem is One. His Oneness represents that He is the only reality, therefore everything emanates from Him. In addition, His Oneness represents that everything that comes from Him is for our good. Also, Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag teaches that the main way man knows Hashem is through His acts. Following these principles one would conclude that: The fire came from Hashem. The fire is for Israel’s good. Hashem can be known through the fire.

What worries me though, is that the majority of Israel will not see the fire as a message from Hashem. And what is the point, if Israel misses the point? My heart longs for all of Israel to drop to their knees and turn their hearts towards Hashem. But the timing of the fire was during Chanukah. And the story of Chanukah is a story about a remnant. Only a small remnant fought for the honor of Hashem and the rededication of the Temple. Are there only a few modern-day Maccabees who will have the courage but also the willingness to play a hands-on role in bringing about redemption to Israel and ultimately to the rest of the world?

If so, then perhaps a message from the fire to a non-Jew like me, besides being reminded of the fear and awe due Hashem, is to direct even more prayer and help towards the remnant of Israel who will fight for His honor and fight to rebuild the Temple. I know without a doubt a remnant has heard Hashem’s message within the fire, and I know without a doubt their hearts are turned even more towards Him and that they will do what needs to be done. May that remnant gain strength from Joseph’s words in this week’s parsha , “G-d will insure your survival in the land and sustain you for a momentous deliverance.” Please, G-d, make it be so.

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