Our tradition, based on close reading of Prophets, tells us that salvation comes during the darkest part of the night.
Over the last few years, and even more so the last few months, the world has gotten a lot darker, especially here in the Middle East.
The events of the last few days have built an even deeper sense of foreboding.
However, in the expanding catastrophe enveloping the Middle East, there is one thing the key actors all have in common: faith.
From Israel’s right wing government to almost the whole ensemble of Palestinian factions to Iran and its proxies to the conservative monarchies and presidential republics to the presidents, even, of both the United States and Russia.
The negative way of looking at this, G-d forbid, is that religion is the major source of conflict and evil in the world. This is what many secular folks are thinking right now.
It is diminishing the glow of the Divine in the world, undermining recognition of G-d’s greatness, desecrating His great name.
The positive way of looking at this, though, is that times like this are ripe for the miraculous, with G-d’s help.
What a miracle it would be if, based on the combined will of perhaps a dozen, maybe twenty men, what over a hundred years, and what over a thousand foreign policy geniuses have failed to solve, could be all resolved in a month, a week, maybe less.
By putting G-d first, as it says in Psalm 16, ‘I have put the Lord before me always’.
If those 12-20 men willed it, and G-d blesses it, then for the sake of G-d’s greatness, to sanctify His great name, all the parties agree to immediately stop the fighting and sit down to talk. No preconditions. And continue to talk until it’s all worked out.
There is a way. It is not the minimalist, reductionist, rationalist Western-inspired classic two-state solution. It is much closer to authentic Middle Eastern modes of governance. And it could also help resolve the conflict in Ukraine too.
It will be tempting for each party to find faults, to undermine solutions, to demand more, to grab a larger share of the pie.
But what can be achieved is far greater than a larger share of the pie – it would be arguably the greatest miracle the world has seen since biblical times, the most potent demonstration of G-d’s greatness, the most overt sanctification of His name.
If anyone actually reads this, I expect there will be sneerers, there will be cynics, there will be critics – imagining that this author is a naive dreamer. He probably is.
But, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “it is not the critics who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
It can be done.