Sholom Ciment
Sholom Ciment

Thank you, Prime Minister Modi

On Friday, UNESCO passed a resolution designating the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Hebron a Palestinian heritage site. This, on the heels of their stripping Jerusalem and the Temple Mount of its connection to The Jewish people. This world body has taken direct aim at the heart and soul of our people; Hebron and Jerusalem.

This is not new. Their grandfathers did the same. Indeed, this week’s Torah portion describes how Prophet Bilaam, whose powers equaled Moses, is hired by King Balak to eradicate the Jews. Their “final solution” was to be achieved by stealing the Jew’s most powerful weapon, prayer. Their plan was to use Bilaams spiritual powers to curse the Jewish people unto oblivion. Being a true prophet, Bilaam is forced off script and only G-dly blessings are heard. Some so precious that they are in our daily prayers through today.

India, weighted down by its vast Muslim population, was not considered an ally of Israel. Indeed, at the UN, India’s voting record is aligned with fellow Muslim countries in their hate-filled, anti-Israel bias. Last week, this all changed. The Prime Minister of India, a country of 1 billion, was welcomed by Israeli PM Netanyahu and his cabinet at Ben Gurion Airport. This marked India’s first ever, official visit to the Jewish homeland. This remarkable visit is yet another milestone in the world’s odd, but rapidly changing, relationship with Israel. Israel has begun to receive her long overdue recognition.

Prime Minister Modi’s three-day visit was, by all accounts, special. His refusal to “sympathize” with the “dire plight of the Palestinian people” was, noticeably, barely reported. “Protocol” demands that a visiting global leader pay homage to the diplomatic heads of Fatah, Hamas and their ilk. This Prime Minister did not step foot onto, nor recognize, the so-called “disputed territories.” He rejected the world’s equating these terror chiefs, dressed as they are in diplomatic business suits, with a people trying to live peacefully in their G-d given homeland. Their false, now turning desperate, narratives have cloaked the murder of thousands of innocent Jews. On this visit, they were repudiated.

Prime Minister Modi brilliantly pushed evil aside, allowing not even a perception of association to further fuel their worldwide campaign to delegitimize Israel. What he managed to telegraph to the world was even more. Rather than shake hands soaked in innocent blood, he chose to meet 11-year-old Moishe Holtzberg in Jerusalem. Moishe is the orphaned son of Rabbi Gabi and Rivka Holtzberg, mercilessly slaughtered nine years ago by home-grown terrorists in their Chabad Jewish center of Mumbai.

With Prime Minister Netanyahu standing on his left and Prime Minister Modi on his right, Moishe’le shined. After welcoming PM Modi to Jerusalem in his childhood Indian tongue, he went on to share his life plans with the Prime Ministers. He told them that he intends to return to Mumbai to continue the holy work of his parents Hy’d. He exclaimed that he will be succeeding them as director of Chabad’s activities in Mumbai. PM Modi could not contain himself. Unscripted, he reached out and embraced little Moishe with a hug so tight, the boy’s glasses dislodged.

Despite being struck by horrific evil, robbed of his most precious loved ones, this boy of 11 stood in the heart of Jerusalem, and represented the Jewish people better than anyone. With the leader of 1 billion people on his right and the PM of Israel on his left, Moishe broadcast a message to the entire world; Am Yisroel Chai – The Jewish people are alive and forever.

Orphaned, yet still courageous. Battered, yet dedicated to sanctifying life. Eye-witness to the blackest of evils, yet still determined to create more, and only, light, Moishele is the story of The Jewish people.

One frail, beaten man, 90 years ago, was sentenced to death for “counter-revolutionary crimes” against the massive Stalinist Russian Empire. His crime was maintaining a network of Shuls, Cheders, Mikvaot and Jewish infrastructure throughout Communist Russia. This one holy Jew, Rabbi Joseph I. Schneerson Zt’l, refused to bow to his hate-filled jailers and was ultimately, miraculously freed.

Moishele’s parents, Gabi and Rivkie Hy’d, were The Rebbes emissaries. Imagine their nachas as they watch their little boy stand up, against all odds, determined to become a new general in The Rebbe’s army of boundless faith, brilliant light and everlasting hope.

Prime Minister Netanyahu arrived to his weekly Sunday Knesset meeting in a Kipah, carrying a Chumash. He read aloud from the Torah portion Chayei Sorah detailing Abraham’s acquisition of Hebron as the burial spot for his wife Sarah. This is truly the only response necessary for UNESCO and its agents of hate, falsehoods and destruction.

The seeds of Biblical change have begun to sprout. Prime Minister Modi’s visit opened a window into a future within reach, a world in which world leaders like him will be coming to their senses. And when they do, they will be coming to Jerusalem to give Moishele, and by extension his entire people, a genuine hug.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 11, Jewry will commence three weeks of national mourning over the destruction of our Holy Temples. Included in the prayers on this fast day is the closing verse; “For G-d’s house on your holy mountain will become the house of prayer for all the nations of the world.” May this be realized imminently in our days.

About the Author
Ciment is Founding Rabbi of Chabad-Lubavitch of Greater Boynton Beis Menachem, a pioneering traditional Jewish presence in Central Palm Beach County, Florida established in 1994. Chabad's 5 acre, "Rae & Joseph Gann Campus for Living Judaism" serves hundreds of member families and services thousands of Jews from all walks of life.