The Jewish people are undeniably unique. There are plenty of times in which we disagree or become frustrated with one another, but when our nation faces adversity, we immediately unite. During such a challenging time as now, we are witnessing observant Jews and secular Jews, Israeli and not liberal and conservative, contributing aid and donations to Israel. While most people try to flee during wartime, young Israelis and Jews from around the world are returning to Israel, eager to enlist in the IDF. In moments such as these, where the Jewish people face baseless hatred, there is no left or right; there is only us, uniting in pain and mending our wounds together.
For centuries, Jewish history has been marked by expulsions and tragedies, leading to the pertinent question: why are we still here? Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam, in his book Kerem Shlomo, suggests that the desire to not assimilate with gentiles in dress, speech, and names contributes to our endurance even in foreign lands. The covenant between the Creator and Abraham in Parashat Lech Lecha emphasizes the significance of maintaining one’s identity. By attempting to resemble others, we risk losing respect. We remain present and standing by maintaining a strong nation, identified through Torah and mitzvot.
Although it is evident that we are strong, the possibility of Gog and Magog’s war concerns some. But there is a well-known story about a Rabbi and a King that should bring some comfort to us:
The King asks the Rabbi, “What are you boasting about? That one day you will rule the world with Mashiach, son of David? You’re just a small nation.”
The Rabbi replies, “I’ll answer your question, but first, I want you to buy 70 adult chickens and one small chick.” The King naturally inquires, “For what purpose?” The Rabbi responds with, “You’ll see. Buy them, but do not feed them.”
In the evening, the Rabbi meets with the King again and instructs, “Now take out all 70 adult chickens and the chick and push them into a room with a small plate of food placed in the center.” Puzzled, the King questions why there is only a small saucer and makes a note that the chickens will kill one another. Nevertheless, he follows the Rabbi’s instructions. The chickens enter the roo
m, see insufficient food, and kill each other. After all are killed, the small chick comes in quietly and eats the food.
The Rabbi explains, “This is exactly how it will be with the people of Israel. After all nations contend for the Land of Israel, the people of Israel will ultimately do the right work, and with God’s help, our righteous Mashiach will come and be revealed to
It is natural to have fear during a time like this. It is natural to feel a sense of uncertainty right now. But I implore you all to remember that the Jewish people have endured many horrors and are still here. And we will remain because it is through our unwavering strength in our identity that we stand. Although we are living through unsettling times, the future is not unknown. Our fate involves the coming of Mashiach, the coming of peace and rest.