We have all been there, either waiting for a simcha to begin a half hour after the invitation claimed, or running out of the door grateful to know that we probably won’t be late. We jokingly refer to this as Jewish time. But how do we as Jews truly expereince time?
“That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. There is nothing new under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 1:9
This assertion finds company in a myriad of cultural refrains-“plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”- the more that things change the more that they stay the same.
The very definition of Nihilism, is that life is a meaningless series of events that come one after another leading nowhere. From the vantage of modern Israel- I can certainly proclaim that Jewish history has proven this premise wrong.
Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik argues that much of humanity sees time in one of two ways either circularly where we relive the past and are destined to relive it again, or linearly where we are marching towards a singular goal. It is here that the Rav suggests a third perspective key to Jewish history- Spiral Time. He explains this idea as one where -“the past is not gone; it is still here. The future is not only anticipated it is already here and the present connects the future and the past.” (Out of the Whirlwind; Essays on Mourning, Suffering and the Human Condition).
Judaism owns the belief in a redeemed world- insisting that the world which we experience is not leading to just more of the same. This is the foundation of hope Tikva- the very anthem of Israel. We must not allow the chaos that Hamas wishes to rain down upon us define our hopes and dreams. Just as we maintained hope for 2000 years to return to our Land, we proudly continue to build upon the prophecy of that very dream.
As we hear the siren, step into our army fatigues, revisit the questions of how best to move ahead, we also return to the annual period of time where we most poignantly recall the destruction of Jerusalem and exile from our land leading to the ninth of Av. We stand with firm hope that we build off of these experiences and take a step closer to our redeemed world.
As we turn to God, we seek out the blessing of “peace to the Land and eternal joy for all its inhabitants.”