At the end of the day, like all things, marriage is partially what you make of it and how hard you work at it. Remember, bringing two people together, even two halves of the same whole, can be challenging and requires understanding and compromise.
While anti-Semitism and persecution for being Jews is horrible and should never happen, in a sort of obscene and ironic way, it ends up making us stronger as Jews. In short, testing our faith, ends up solidifying our faith!
No one likes adversity, suffering, or persecution, and G-d only knows that we as Jews have known our deeply painful share. Yet whether from Egyptian slavery to the Inquisition, the Holocaust, and more, it’s our test as Jews to survive, and to learn and grow from it our faith in Hashem.
Yes, these things are far easier said than done, but when we face these terrible events, we must try with all our might to overcome them, heroically and faithfully.
Why was Noah commanded to build a skylight in the ark?
Noah and all the fascinating people in the Bible weren’t just characters in a novel, but they were real people and they experienced up and downs, as we all do in life. The key to remember is that there is always a window where we can see our relative good fortune and everything we have to be grateful for, where we can keep an eye on the light at the end of tunnel (as my father used to say about bad things, “this too shall pass”), and we can look up to our Father in Heaven and remember that He will bring deliverance to us. Even in the mightiest of floods that devastated the world, G-d was still there for us, and He was, is, and always will be!
We all know the Jewish dictum of “He who save a life, saves the world.” In Judaism, every single life is invaluable, and hence we are even allowed to violate the holy Shabbat for the preservation of human life (“Pikuach Nefesh“). Similarly, when it came to a prisoner exchange for IDF Sargent first Class, Gilad Shalit, who had been held by Hamas terrorists for five years (2006-2011), Israel exchanged1,027 Palestinians in a prisoner exchange for Shalit. Life is truly sacred to the Jewish people.
This week, I had the opportunity to meet and hear from members of Israel Air Force’s Elite Search and Rescue, Unit 669, at Magen David Synagogue in Rockville, Maryland. There I was reminded of the brave Israeli soldiers who not only defend the holy land and people of Israel, but also who are there to search for missing soldiers and rescue them and civilians “regardless of location or conditions” when faced with war, terrorism, or other disaster. Soldiers from unit 669 go into every possible dangerous situation, and under fire, to save lives at whatever cost to themselves. (Source Photo: Flikr)
It’s not always the largest, strongest, fastest, and best financed that wins. Like with the story of David and Goliath or even one of my modern-day heroes, Rocky, the determination of the little guy can overcome the biggest and the best of them. The Taliban were patient and over twenty years continued to wage their struggle against us, but more than that they knew that our patience was limited and that eventually we would leave, and they took the long view and planned for the overthrow of the government and the return of their rule after we were gone. They waited us out and that can be an incredibly successful strategy!
Israel is the Jewish homeland and the Biblical Promised Land from G-d. What the Palestinians haven’t understood in all these years, since the State’s founding in 1948, is that no matter how long they try to wait us out, we have more determination than they have patience! The Jewish people will never give up our historical and legitimate rights to be a sovereign nation in our land, Israel. In the end, the Palestinians may be very patient, but we are the ones who are utterly determined: whether Ashkenazi or Mizrachi, Labor or Likud, Tel Avivian or Jerusalemite, one thing that we all fundamentally agree on is our sheer and utter determination as the Jewish people to survive and be a free nation in our land.
The fact of the matter is that when a terrorist who hates you and wants to kill you talks, they are telling you that homicidal action is soon forthcoming. It starts with words of disdain, loathing, threats, and hostility, but make no mistake, that those words end in terror and death. Terrorists, like the radical Iranian mullahs are not someone you can sit down with for tea, have a nice conversation, and work out a meaningful or binding diplomatic agreement. Unfortunately, the only thing that a murderous, racist terrorist understands is a punch in the nose! Accordingly, no amount of talking with Iran is going to lead to them ceasing their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction to use against the Jewish State and the United States. In their own very distorted “religious” minds, the irrational Iranian mullahs hate us and want us dead, period. To them, we are the scorned infidels, and they are the holy jihadists on a mission of murder. As much as we want peace with all our neighbors, in this case, a military response is not only necessary, but required.
The Jewish people have learned very well the hard and painful lessons from tyrannical madmen who have sought to destroy us over the centuries. The Holocaust is seared into our present-day consciousness like the tattooed numbers were into their victim’s flesh. We have learned to never let our guard down, to expect the unexpected, and to fight like hell when we have to. I am confident that with G-d’s help, Israel and the United States will not wait until it’s too late or stand by for a genocide to happen again! What Iran “says,” it means, but what Israel “does,” it expertly succeeds at.
In summary, with regards to Israel, we must follow two important commandments that guide our relationships with the outside world. First, there is the imperative to love our neighbor and the stranger. Second is the dictum to wholly defend ourselves from our enemies who seek our destruction. While on the surface these may pose a contradiction, in reality, they do not, because if our neighbors and the strangers among us are willing to live in genuine peace with us then we gladly and actively will extend the olive branch in peace and brotherhood. But if unfortunately, our neighbors are bent on our genocide then we must fight them.
Love and peace is always what we want from the bottom of our hearts, but war is a necessity that is sometimes thrust upon us by our enemies and that we must absolutely, with G-d’s help, win.
The mind’s eye can see what the real eye’s don’t.Perhaps, we see something (or not) and then rationalize it away or use any other of the cognitive biases to not pay attention or distort the facts and the truth. Not sure why this 3rd eye is off-center and also looks upside down (with the eyelashes on the bottom). The age old question is whether it would it be better to have the extra eye in the back of your head? 360-degree vision, way cool! Now if we can add some high-tech sensors to augment our eyes then we could also routinely see at night, in fog, etc. It isn’t true that what you don’t see can’t hurt you. Eyes wide open, and pay very good attention! 😉 (Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
It is the mere fact of our Jewish existence that irks our Anti-Semitic, terrorist enemies. This is why the world does not care, and may actually even cheer while Palestinian terror rockets fly overhead, hundreds at a time, into major population centers in Israel. From 5-year old, Ido Avigal, killed by shrapnel in Sderot to an 87-year old woman killed near Ashdod while running from rocket fire, nowhere seems safe, including in cars, homes, walking down the street, and even “safe rooms.”
Like it or not, every rocket, every suicide bomber, every attacker will be met and defeated—from north to south and east to west—because the Jewish people will not be driven out; this is our last stand and we will survive.