Many, perhaps even most, religious Jews believe deeply in the concept that there are no coincidences in life. None…not a one. All that happens, happens within the realm of a knowing God who watches, always watches over His creations. Last summer, when the missiles were falling, a secular friend told me I was lucky because in being religious, I had faith where she had terror, I had trust while she worried.
The last few days, so unlike myself, I have barely followed the news. My house is now ready for Passover, the cabinets labeled with dire warnings to any who would dare to open them.
I saw the news late last night that a deal with the Iranians was reached. They are to get more than 11 billion dollars in the coming weeks and basically their nuclear capabilities are left unchecked. Naturally, the Iranians are dancing in the street just days after reiterating their intention to destroy Israel.
It may shock you to hear that Israel is celebrating as well. Tonight, we begin to celebrate the date of our first redemption…the time we were freed from slavery and guided to this land…this very land where I make my home today. Just about 20 minutes from my home is the place where we believe Joshua led the Jewish people across the Jordan river into their land…20 minutes away…redemption.
We were redeemed many times – small redemptions like when a missile hit a house from which moments before, the family was called away. Redemption from more deaths, when a bus driver bravely slammed the gas and then the brake, while opening the door to allow his precious passengers to escape. Redeemed again, from Auschwitz and Bergen Belson, Chelmno and Treblinka.
We have survived Hitler. Amalek. Haman. Kings and Popes. Czars and crusades and inquisitions. Pogroms. Ghettos. We have crossed rivers and continents to bring our people home and we have remembered – every step of the way – what it was like to be homeless and so we gather – not just our own people, but those in need.
There are no coincidences in life. Remember that. Believe that. Obama signed this absurd “framework” agreement to secure his place in history. There is a relatively good chance that his place in history will include a footnote about World War III and an Iranian attempt at nuclear weapons.
In a shatteringly small amount of time, the Soviet Union fell. It was thought, at the time, that the corruption, the greed, the cruelty with which it treated its own people helped hasten its downfall. In the wake of the fall of the former Soviet Union, there seemed to be only one superpower left – and that was the United States.
What Obama has succeeded in doing in his six years as president is largely to remove that status. Financially weak, politically hypocritical, the US is more and more being seen as a failing star. This agreement, hailed by most here in this region and by many others as a failure, will push us that much closer to the edge.
Certainly, Israel knows that it acts alone, it walks alone. It is a redemption in itself, this being alone. For many years, we have had to walk a tight line between our allegiance to the pact we share with the United States and our own interest as a strong nation that fully intends to be the final and only eternal home to the Jewish people.
We have compromised by declaring freezes on building while our enemy builds vast areas of homes for their people, illegally siphoning off water, electricity and more. We have gone to war, while crippling our sons from taking the actions needed because of international sensitivities and the displeasure of an egotistical tyrant in the White House who cannot be pleased by anything we do because he is, fundamentally, opposed to the concept of our existence.
Yes, that’s right. Obama has systematically worked to undermine Israel in the eyes of the American people and the world – throwing it little tidbits of praise to muddle the images. No nation can thwart its allies to such a devastating extent and still be considered to be supportive.
This agreement is, as Benjamin Netanyahu correctly points out – not just a colossal disaster, but an historical mistake. The message is clear – our future, our redemption, is not (and never has been) in the hands of the United States government.
Already weeks ago, as part of his temper tantrum, Obama suspended key cooperation with Israel – we too will likely be less forthcoming in detailing our intentions.
Passover is a promise to the Jewish people from God. I will take you out of Egypt, God told us, and I will make you a people. I will give you a land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
Today, Israel is a land that flows with not just milk and honey, but innovation, breaking technological masterpieces, medical inventions and more. We are a people – proven every time we are challenged. Last night, it seems that two stupid young men pulled a childish prank by staging a supposed kidnapping. The details are not clear – but what is clear is two things happened last night. One – the security forces mobilized. Men who had just arrived to their homes ready to spend their Passover holidays with their wives and children, rushed back to look for one missing young man. And two – all over Israel, people began to pray.
There are no coincidences – and there are no wasted prayers. We are a people returned to our land – divine promise that only a fool would ignore.
My home is about 40 minutes from a mountain that stands ancient and proud over a dead sea. Romans once camped there promising to destroy the wonder of the world Jews had created on top of Masada. That victory was denied to them. They conquered the mountain but took no captives, had no slaves to drag back to Rome.
And a promise was made – Masada will not fall again. We have held Masada for almost 67 years, we will hold it for another 670 and 6700 years beyond that. Israel is not a superpower – never was and likely never will be. All that we are, is a fulfillment of God’s promise, a redemption for a tiny people who want to live in peace but are prepared to go to war – against the Iranians if necessary.
I think an agreement was signed yesterday, but I heard more. I heard a promise from God as He looked down at the fool in the White House. You are My people, He whispered gently to Israel last night. I will see you through; you have conquered the mountains and are eternal. I have made you so, God promised…redemption is coming, redemption is here.
You have been redeemed through time, God reminds us tonight. Have faith and do not fear. All the world is a narrow bridge, we sing, and the most important thing is not to be a afraid.
עם הנצח לא מפחד מדרך ארוכה
An eternal people is not afraid of a long path…