That was the First WW. Still “enjoyable”…”
This kind of deliberations were going on for centuries, around many tables, in many parts of the globe; I myself in my younger years have heard such discussions; in the Hebrew prayer book, about a third of all supplications and prayers center around the hope of redemption: “…pl. Lord, return soon and in our days to Jerusalem, your chosen city, and rebuild her and dwell in her, as you have spoken, and restore the throne of David forever…”
“Bring back our judges as in the past, and our counselors like in former days, take from us pain and lamentation, and rule over us, soon, you the Lord alone, in grace, in righteousness, in judgment and compassion… “
These prayers three times a day, prayed by Jews all over the world, 365 days a year, for more than 2000 Years, expresses the unflinching hope of Israel, and our longing for Zion and Jerusalem.
- I recently joint a wedding in Jerusalem where the forehead of the groom was covered with ashes; after the wedding-ceremony the first deed the groom performs: breaking a valuable glass while quoting the words of Psalm 137:5-6:
“If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill, may my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, if I don’t remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.”
Pronouncing this on the hour of his highest joy!! His wedding!
A Chassidic Story: A rabbi had invited the members of his community to the wedding of his daughter; in his invitation he wrote: My daughter, Lea, shall marry with her betrothed, Jacob, on the next Tuesday-afternoon, at 4 o`clock on the temple-mount in redeemed Jerusalem; should however the Messiah not have come by then, the same wedding shall take place at the same hour, in our village, in our synagogue.
A Jew building a house will leave as a symbol one square meter of a room without stucco, ….as long as Jerusalem is not restored in its former glory.
The story of the Jews as a people is like walking through a dark tunnel, but on the end of the tunnel is a light twinkling, a light of hope, of faith and promise.
The greatest of jewish philosophers, RaMBaM, who lived about 1200, formulated 13 avowals of the Jewish faith; no. 12 says: “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah; and though he tarry, I will wait daily for his coming.” This also is included in the daily prayers.
Once the Jews from Yemen, wrote him a letter, asking him how one could know, whether a person claiming to be the redeemer, is the real Messiah; he answered: “we cannot know, until he accomplishes what the prophets of the Bible have prophesied about him.”
In 1897 Theodor Herzl started to promote the idea of returning to the Land of our forefathers; not waiting endlessly, not dreaming, not discussing, but to take our fate in our hands: Now, and by ourselves!“ Today in Basel I have founded the Jewish state”, he wrote in 1897 in his diary, “ if I would say it loud, everybody would laugh at me, but in five years, but latest in 50 years it will be a fact.”! And indeed 50 years later, in 1947 the United Nations Assembly voted in favor of establishing a Jewish homeland.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Insert of the GSI editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Rereading of Herzl’s Old-New Land in → Jewish Review of Books
The first Zionist congress should have convened in Munich, Germany; but the Rabbis of Germany opposed it; “we have to wait until the time of God has arrived, we are not allowed to intervene”, was their argument. Although the Zionist Movement is a secular movement, it would not have accomplished its aim, if in the heart of the Jewish people would not have burnt this intense longing for Zion and Jerusalem.
Indeed most of the first voortrekkers, pioneers were no-believing Jews, among them even atheists, who came drying the marshes, making the desert bloom. The most revered Head-Rabbi of Palestine, Rabbi Cook, (1935) once was asked, how as Rabbi and devout Jew he could cope with this paradoxical situation; he answered; “When King Salomon built the first Temple, it were simple woodcutters and masons who built this sanctuary; probably they were not even aware that they helped to construct the Holy-of- Holiest , but they were instrumental in building it; so I see the present pioneers as builders of our Land; may be they are not aware of it, but they are instruments of the divine plan”.
As a result of the Shoa and later, as a result of the establishment of the State of Israel, most religious Jews became adhering the Zionist Movement, and actually today, are its most fervent supporters. They would not claim that present-day Israel is the long anticipated messianic promised Land; they would rather use the Talmudic term of “Atchalah De`geulatah”, a first “advance” towards a state of messianic perfection; now we all know that present-day Israel is far from perfection; on the contrary, with all the political intrigues and financial scandals – you better don’t read the local newspapers – it is far from perfect!!!
If you are married, and wait a baby, you have hopes; and if a baby is born finally after 12 years of longing, you are sure that this child will be the nicest person in the world, the most clever, the most beautiful … and then it grows up and is not so nice, not so clever, not so beautiful… but still as parents you will support him and stand behind him; it remains your baby. We Jews, having been waiting for 2000 years for this baby which is called Israel, will stand behind it for the better and the worse , and hoping for a happier future, which is compressed in the one word: Shalom.