This last summer was hot in every sense here in the Holy Land. Most of our attention was focused on what was probably the longest military campaign we experienced here in many years. The most unique aspect of the dramatic summer we had to go through was that it ultimately marked and emphasized the dead end we have reached. The battle is over, but there is still a threat and there is nowhere for us to escape.
The moment one round of conflict was behind us, the shadow of the next was already hanging over our heads. Each time we stall for different reasons and postpone any decision making, hoping that things will somehow work out on their own, they don’t.
In fact, things haven’t changed for decades. The drama inside and around Israel only continues to escalate, a clear sign that we are really missing the point.
The prophet Jonah found himself in a similar situation thousands of years ago. The plot reads like an adventure novel. Jonah receives a mission from God to help the people of Nineveh (who are not Jewish) overcome the mutual hatred they feel and fulfill the principle of love thy neighbor as thyself.
It was Abraham who first fulfilled this idea and founded the Jewish nation on this basis. Renowned British scientist and historian, Paul Johnson wrote, “What would have happened to mankind if Abraham hadn’t been a man of sharp perception and if he had stayed in Ur and kept his ideas to himself and not founded any unique Jewish nation? The world without Jews would undoubtedly be very different than it is today.”
Today more than ever before, the entire world—not just the Jews—is in need of love, or at least elementary, mutual understanding.
At the same time, mutual understanding, and even more so “love thy neighbor as thyself,” seems totally unrealistic. Jonah, who felt the same as we do about his mission, decided to flee overseas, hoping to escape the mission he had been given.
And just like Jonah, we are trying to hide from the great, ostensibly “impregnable” problems of our time, and let others deal with them while we deal with our personal issues. Our whole life is actually a cycle of daily issues that we sometimes manage to float above.
However it is up to the Jewish people to be aware of the big picture and provide the solution humanity subconsciously awaits. So yes, we are definitely feeling the heat and will continue to feel it until we start carrying out our mission.
You will probably go about your business as usual after reading this, but be aware that at the end of the day, we cannot escape the mission we have been given.
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