I remember a song from my Sunday School days in Pittsburgh. It was called,”There Is a Mystic Tie.” The tune was the same as Hatikva, but they didn’t connect it with the state of Israel.
I can’t imagine they still sing it; then again, I can’t imagine they ever sang it. I only remember the first two lines:
There is a mystic tie that binds
The children of the martyred race.
The lesson was hauntingly clear: As a Jew, I was cooked.
Fortunately for me, I didn’t listen to anything I learned there. It didn’t add up. What difference did it make where in Mesopotamia the Jewish people began if we were all destined to die as martyrs?
Still, I liked being Jewish. I couldn’t help being Jewish. I just didn’t like the Judaism I was taught. I could call myself “culturally” Jewish, but that didn’t answer the existential question of what it meant to be a Jew.
It took years for me to fully believe that the Torah was given by G-d to the Jewish nation for all time. If it was true, I wondered, why did so few Jews believe it? And what about other religions who also claim to have THE truth? (Not to mention the atrocities committed in G-d’s name by those other religions…)
I don’t think about these questions anymore. For one thing, there’s no time. The Torah predicted long ago that world events would play out exactly as they are doing now, right before the coming of Moshiach.
According to Yalkut Shimoni, a centuries-old compilation of the Bible’s mystical teachings, the global battle between the descendants of Yishmael (the Muslims) and Esau (Western civilization) is the harbinger of our Final Redemption. It describes in detail the battles among these leaders.
It also describes the feeling in the world:
Consternation and confusion will strike all the nations of the world…the Jewish people too will be seized by consternation and confusion, as they ask, “Where shall we come and go?”
But here’s how the prediction continues:
And the A-mighty will answer them, “My children, do not fear…the time of your redemption has arrived!”
Will G-d whisper in our ears or will everyone get a text? I don’t know. We can’t imagine this era with the minds we have today. I just know that, until that time arrives, casualties continue to mount and people everywhere are terrified as never before.
The good news is that you don’t have to believe in Moshiach in order to hope for it. (You don’t even have to ask yourself why you never learned that belief in the coming of Moshiach is Maimonides’ Thirteenth Principle of Jewish Faith.)
If we move forward with acts of goodness and kindness, or even just the thought about G-dly intervention on our behalf, it can only be good for the world.
Please G-d, very soon, Moshiach will eliminate martyrdom from the Jewish script–and everyone’s script.