On a day that echoed through history, November 1st, 1755, Lisbon quaked. The destruction was not just physical; the Lisbon earthquake’s ripples struck at the heart of European faith and philosophy. Voltaire, the Enlightenment philosopher, saw in this catastrophe a fissure in the narrative of a world under benevolent divine care.
Through his poem on the Lisbon disaster, Voltaire erected a monument to questioning. He challenged the notion of a god who would permit such devastation if we truly lived in the best of all possible worlds. His voice rose against complacency and attempts to justify pain as part of an unfathomable divine plan.
In the lines of “Candide,” Voltaire unraveled the tapestry of false hope, exposing the reality of the evil and human tragedy. The satirical narrative wasn’t just a story; it was a mirror, a biting satire of theological explanations in the face of palpable cruelty and suffering.
Now, let’s turn to Israel, where the land also shakes under the weight of ancient promises and modern conflicts. Voltaire’s dialectic seems applicable: the divine cannot be an excuse for injustice nor a passport for the exercise of brutality.
In the lands of Israel, where faith can both unite and divide, we live Voltaire’s dilemma with pressing urgency. The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is one facet of the same riddle: where is divine justice in human suffering?
This is not a call for the passive acceptance of the murder of brothers or of all those who fight for Israel’s safety. The defense of life and liberty is sacred. But Voltaire would remind us that war should be a sad exception, not an eternal norm.
Peace, so elusive, must be our ultimate pursuit. The day will come when weapons will fall silent, and the “earthquake” that shook our existences will give way to rebuilding. That will be a moment for reason and humanism to return to center stage.
In the post-conflict, in the ruins left by the last tremor, there will be space to reflect on the nature of justice, responsibility, and the path forward. That is the moment for Voltaire’s philosophy to make sense once again.
Voltaire would invite us to understand that valid divine will, perhaps, is not found in the dictates of war but in the generosity of forgiveness and the resilience of peace.
Voltaire’s reason challenges us to look beyond the immediate to find solutions at the roots of conflict that preserve human dignity and promote coexistence.
The real strength, Voltaire’s legacy suggests, lies in the ability to overcome adversity, not with more violence, but with the dialogue that acknowledges our shared humanity.
Thus, in the quest for peace, we must maintain a vigilant defense of Israel but also that we are prepared for the day after. When the war ceases, we must be ready to heal, build, and move forward, carrying the lessons learned in times of quakes and tumults.
It is in this scenario of reconstruction that reason and empathy, so dear to Voltaire, must prevail, guiding us toward a future where peace is not just a dream but a concrete and achievable project. And in that future, we will honor both those who fought and those who dreamt – with a thriving and peaceful Israel.