In March of 1898, Mark Twain published his essay, Concerning the Jews, in Harper’s Magazine, which concluded with the following:
He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.
The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?
My answer to Mark Twain, at least in part, is the message of hope that exists within the pages of the Tanakh. It was hope that got them through Egyptian enslavement and hope that got them through Roman persecution. For every horror Jewish eyes have witnessed since their birth, hope remained and remains to this day.
God has seen His people through far darker times than these and those who suffered under the worst of man’s inhumanity to man continued to have hope that God would see them through. They fought to survive and did not give up hope. National Socialism murdered 2/3 of the European Jewish population, but many were liberated from camps. Had they not had hope that God would see them through, they would have given in to the starvation and allowed themselves to die.
Hitler’s thousand-year Reich lasted 12 years. In a little over a month, Israel will celebrate her 72nd year. Despite the continued obstacles in her path, she has started to shoot for the moon. To look at the stars with wonder requires hope to reach them one day and the moon is the first step.
For anyone losing hope, turn away from the words of man and study the words of God. Do not give in to fear, for God is with you. Remember God’s covenant is without end and rejoice in knowing He will not abandon you. All you have to do is look up and see His glory in the heavens and know you are His chosen to be a light unto all nations.
Do not fear the blindness of the future, for God will be your guide, as he always has been. Do not give in to the darkness, for God is the light that shines brightly in your souls. Do not give in to despair, for you are loved by God and you matter to God.
To be a light unto nations is not a matter of doing so only in the brightest of times, but in the darkest of times as well. Reach out to your family, friends and neighbors for many need the light you can bring to their lives. Help to lift them out of the darkness of the despair many are feeling right now and remind them that God has not abandoned them and never will.
It is believed that the number of suicides will double before the light of day can be seen through clear eyes. The Talmud tells us that to save one life is to save the world. Imagine reaching just one of those who are on the edge of the abyss and guiding them back to the light of God.