The Person Behind The Posts

Friday, December 22, 2006

It's 1938 Again

"It's 1938 and Iran is Germany."

It seems that everywhere I turn lately, Jewish writers and thinkers whose work I admire are drawing the parallel. I, who was born well after the Holocaust, have never before lived in a time when the world felt fundamentally unsafe.

The world feels fundamentally unsafe. We are living in serious times.

The nuclear threat from Iran, the beginning of the North American wave of aliyah, the coming of the Mosiach, my personal, desperate need to be in Israel – these things are all connected.

I think about the Jews in Germany who sniffed out that whatever was coming was NOT GOOD and got themselves the heck out of there before 1938. For every one who did, there must have been dozens of people in their lives who doubted their sanity, thought they were overreacting and tried to talk them into staying in Germany.

I fear for my friends and family members whose eyes are not yet open. I know I sound like a lunatic to them. What I really want to say is, “It’s hard to accept that there has been a fundamental shift in the world, but there has been. At a minimum, I beg you to make sure your passport is current, in case you have to escape to Israel. Pay attention to the news. Notice the parallels between the news and what was happening in Germany in the years before the war. You can’t pretend that something massive is not happening. Something massive is happening. Please notice!”

Of course, everyone asks the same question, “How much sense does it make to run to Israel if Israel is the center of the storm?”

As my friend R. reminded me today, this would be a perfectly logical question, IF the history of the Jewish people was based in logic. But everything about our history is lemalah min ha teva – it goes beyond the principles of rationality.

A crystal clear pattern emerges from the most basic study of T’Nach and Jewish history. When the Jews do wrong, Hashem empowers an enemy to force us to do teshuva, to repent. When we do, the enemy is vanquished.

What is our sin? I have a theory. In 1948, Hashem handed dominion over Eretz Yisrael to the Jewish people for the first time in 2000 years. And what did most of us do?

We stayed put.

Hashem offered us a gift and we turned up our noses and said, “No thanks.”

“No thanks. I can make more money in America.”
“No thanks. My family has a very nice house (and two cars!) in America.”
“No thanks. All our friends and family live in America.”
“No thanks. We already live a life of Torah and mitzvot in America.”

Hashem’s response?

“Well, if you’re not going to value my gift, I’m going to take it away.”

This is why making aliyah at this time makes perfect sense.

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