Despite All

Some may think me harsh for writing this but I have absolutely ZERO sympathy for the Europeans. I believe, in my heart, that the G-d of Israel is executing judgement upon the nations that stood by and allowed the slaughter of 6 million of His people. In all of Jewish history there are many instances where nations and civilizations have brought pain and death to the House of David and sooner or later, they suffer the wrath of the G-d of Israel. Every nation that has harmed the Jew disappears from the pages of living history. The great and powerful empires of Greece and Rome, Babylon and Assyria are gone. The Jewish people has outlived their greatest oppressors, from the horrific genocide of the Hiterian savages to the political and social genocide of the Communist pogromists, the Jews have not only survived, but thrived.

Why? Against all odds of history, the Jews should have disappeared from the face of the Earth long ago. In 722BCE, the mighty Assyrian Empire, stretching across the Middle East from as far as modern day Afghanistan westwards towards the Mediterranean Sea, in a bloody war of conquest, destroyed the Northern Kingdom of Israel utterly and denuded the land of its indigenous Jewish population. This horrific war led to the disappearance of the legendary “Ten Lost Tribes of Israel,” who were scattered among the vast reaches of the Assyrian Empire.

Only the Southern Kingdom of Judah, with its capital in Jerusalem survived for another 136 years, till Babylon, the empire that encompassed what had been Assyria, in 586BCE, ravished Judah and destroyed the Temple of Solomon. The Babylonians also took the Jews to exile, but this time, the people of Judah did not disappear. They had been taught by the prophets of Israel to remain faithful as they wept “by the rivers of Babylon we wept and remembered Zion. May my right hand lose its cunning and my tongue cleave if I put thee not above my chiefest joy.”

Memory equals survival. The words “I believe” mean “I remember.” We remember the destruction of the Temple to this day. On the Ninth of the month of Av (Tisha B’ Av) we recall with great sadness, the destruction of the Solomon’s Temple. It is quite a stroke of historical coincidence, that on that very same day, in 1492 CE, Christopher Columbus (originally Colon and maybe even a Jew himself) embarked on his journey to the New World, perhaps to find a resting place for the Jews of Spain whose Inquisition began that very time.   Every Passover, we recall the slavery our ancestors endured in Egypt for 400 years and we proclaim our liberation from bondage with a pledge, “Next year in Jerusalem,” in the Diaspora. Those of us blessed to be living on the soil of the homeland change that final pronouncement slightly to, “Next year, in Jerusalem, the Rebuilt!” Next year and for eternity we shall echo those words among the very stones of that city,

For you must understand that even though I am not what any Orthodox Jew, or any Conservative or Reform Jew might think, that I am a religious person in the classical definition of the term. But I do believe that there is a power that protects us. I know there are many fine and intellectually gifted authors and philosophers and historians that have made little of this my own personal theory of Jewish survival.

Great historians have made sport of us, or denied us any real position in the pantheon of world history. Arnold Toynbee labelled us as fossils. Oswald Spengler chose to ignore us as we do not fit into his calculus of the theory of civilizations. Since we are an infinitesimally tiny nation among the peoples of the Earth, in a common sense sort of way, we should even be relegated to a footnote of history, like the Ainu of Japan (feel free to Google them, there are more of them than us, but have you ever heard of the Ainu?).

Somehow our tiny band of Jews has had an overwhelming and disproportionate (that word makes me shudder when it is used to describe Israel defending its sovereignty) impact on both Western and Eastern cultures. So much is incorrectly taught in schools about our participation in world history. Even the source of the English alphabet in inherently misconstrued when children’s lessons teach them that the letters of the alphabet are Greek in origin when the Greeks took their letters from the Hebrew.The first three letters of Attic Greek and Hebrew have the same three beginning letters-look it up for yourselves. I am not a qualified teacher of language (unless the language is Galician Yiddish or non-kosher Pig Latin).

Sure, we face enemies on all our borders and an existential threat from the Mad Mullahs of Iran. Perhaps they should recall, when they threaten us, what happened to their Persian forebears on a holiday called Purim.

What is the reason for our survival and redemption? How is it that of all ancient civilizations, we are the only ones that speak the same language, follow the same faith and inhabit the same land that gave us birth thousands of years ago? Despite every evil that mankind has persecuted us with. Despite all the bloodshed and barbarism brought upon us in the past and today. Despite all the innumerable attempts to tear us away from our homeland. Despite the Exile of our people to every part of the planet.

Despite it all, we can watch the sun rise every morning on a free, independent Jewish state. We can listen to our children and grandchildren play in the parks and schoolyards laughing and singing in the language of the prophets of Israel. We can bear arms and fight as a nation against our enemies and they have felt our steel and our fire. We have a flag again. We have our homeland again. We have Jerusalem again.

So, let them come with their butchering blades and their diatribes of death. Our enemies of today will vanish like our foes of yesterday and our descendants will see the sun rise over the hills of Yehudah and softly sink into the Mediterranean as they pray in their synagogues or dance in the streets in a restored, rebuilt and reborn land whose soil will forever be Jewish.

The G-d of Israel always keeps His promises to His people. That promise will forever echo with the words, “AM ISRAEL CHAI!”

About the Author
Irwin was born in New York City and is now retired. He lives in Maaleh Adumim since making aliyah 7 years ago.