40 Years: An Introduction Pt. 1

It is seven years since I wrote the manuscript, Forty Years, and with the passing of the 40 years of which I speak in this book, with the Jewish State now past its fortieth year, the terrible realities of which I wrote then, become starkly clear. Terrible vision becomes awful realization. The Jewish State crumbles and shakes and shudders before our eyes as the gentile enemies gather strength and momentum and the Jew stands astonishingly impotent and paralyzed - at best - and deeply divided by defeatism, abnormal guilt and suicidal tendencies from within. The dream of centuries becomes a thing to be questioned, doubted attacked.

But, of course, it could never be anything else. The fate of the Jew, despite the foolish arrogance of the secularists and the unfthomable loss of way of many apparently religious Jews, has always been based upon the iron law of Divine determination: "If you shall walk in My statutes and keep My commandments... I will give you peace in the land and you shall lie down and none shall make you afraid... But if you will not hearken unto Me and will not do all these commandments, and if your soul abhor My ordinances so that you will not do all My commandments but break My covenant... I will set My face against you and you shall be smitten before your enemies; they that hate you shall rule over you and you shall flee when none pursueth you." (Leviticus 26)

Nothing can break the iron law of the Almighty and one can mock it and one can ignore it and attempt to flee from it  - to no avail.
"Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? And whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up unto Heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in the netherworld, behold, Thou art there." (Psalms 139) It is true for the Jew as an individual. It is true for the Jew as a nation - a Holy nation, a Chosen nation, a religio-nation. It is an immutable Covenant, a treaty, a sacred contract signed and agreed upon, irrevocable and eternally binding. If we do that which He hath commanded, then He, so to speak, must do that which He promised - bring us all the wonderful redemption and glorious life of permanent spiritual majesty that He pledged. And if we do not bow to His will - then nothing can prevent us from feeling the terrible, terrible, terrible tragedies - the needless, needless, needless tragedies - that are the other side of the Jewish coin of destiny.

As I wrote in this manuscript, in the name of our Rabbis, the Jewish redemption can come about in one of two ways. The salvation of the Jewish people can either come through glorious and majestic Divine hand, swift and immediate - if we are deserving of it through acceptance of the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven and the commandments of the Almighty; or, if we are a stiff-necked people that refuses to accept G-d's law, and stubbornly violates His treaty and commandments, then only through prior terrible sufferings, so terrible that even we, who have known so much terrible agony in our history and so much prior terrible sufferings, have yet to witness such as these.

"In its time I will hurry it." (Isaiah 60) And the Rabbis explain: "If they, (the Jews) merit it, it (the redemption) will come hurriedly. If they do not merit it - it will come (only) in its time." (Sanhedrin 96)

The question that arises is: If the Jew does not merit it, why should the Almighty bring him redemption at all? What is this "time" that is mentioned in the Scriptures that is a final point at which, regardless of the lack of merits of the Jew, the final redemption will come? Why should it come and when we expect it to come - what are the signs that presage its arrival? As I write in this manuscript, they key to the bringing of the final redemption is the descent, so to speak, of the Almighty, the G-d of Israel, into such desecration, contempt and humiliation in the eyes of the nations as to question not only His Omnipotence, but indeed, His basic existence!

And as the Scriptures and the Rabbis again and again emphasize, the power of the G-d of Israel and His very existence are weighed and proven to the nations by the strength and victory of His people, Israel, or "disproven" by their weakness and defeat. The humiliation of the Jew is seen as the weakness and indeed, non-existence of
the G-d of the Jew, a thing that is known as Hillul Hashem, the vacuum and void in which the Almighty is simply non-existent. Jewish power and victory, on the other hand, are seen as proof that there is a G-d in Israel, all-powerful, controlling the world. That is why the Exile, with all its horrors and humiliations and defeats for the Jew, was the very essence of Hillul Hashem while a return to the Land of Israel, in spite of the enemies of the Jew, is proof of G-d's Omnipotence and is, the very opposite - Kiddush Hashem, the introduction and inviting of the Almighty into the world - because He exists in all His power and does indeed control it.

That is the reason for redemption "in its time," despite the unworthiness of the Jew.
And clearly we are living in that era today. One who does not understand is partner to one who refuses to understand. The era of the beginning of the redemption is surely at hand and woe unto the deceivers who deliberately refuse to accept this and who raise the specious and fraudulent arguments that many times in the past during our exile did people rise claiming to be the Messiah and Jews believed that they were living in the era of the redemption, only to be bitterly disappointed.

Of course there were such periods and many were those who, like Shabtai Zvi, proved to be false Messiahs. But can one compare any of the eras of the false Messiahs to that of today? Did any of the false Messiahs produce a mass return to Eretz Yisrael and an independent Jewish state, no matter how barren of Judaism? What do we make of the Almighty when, with the wave of a hand, we dismiss the rise, after 2,000 years of the Exile, of an independent Jewish state and the return of more than a million Jews from the Exile, as nothing Divine? Do we understand what an incredible miracle  is this State, again without reference to its religiosity? Is it a game of chance, an ordinary thing, that a Jewish state arises and so many exiles are ingathered, exactly as the Prophets promised?

Is it an accident of "fate" that 'old men and old women sit in the broad places of Jerusalem' and 'the broad places of the city are filled with boys and girls playing,' exactly as the prophet envisioned (Zachariah 8)? Do we make of the Almighty a non-player in the world, one who is divorced from all these incredible events? Do we do to Him what the nations did to Him during the long Exile - proclaim His irrelevancy or even His non-existence? Have we gone mad?

Of course, the State of Israel is clear proof of His omnipotence and Divinity. It is the beginning of the Redemption. And thus did our Rabbis speak:
"'But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are at hand to come.' (Ezekiel 36): There is no sign of redemption more clear than this." (Sanhedrin 98a)

"When Jerusalem is rebuilt, David (the Messiah) comes." (Megila 17b) We are living today in the era of the beginning of the redemption and the question arises, why was this time chosen as "its time?" Why did not the immense suffering of the Jews over all the past centuries, cause the Almighty to choose "its time" then? Were the sufferings and humiliations and horrors that the Jew suffered at the hands of the Church which mocked the G-d of Israel, not sufficient to be the Hillul Hashem of "its time?" Why today and not yesterday?

The answer lies in the Almighty's purpose in making the world: "Let every thing that hath soul praise the L-rd!" (Psalms 150) The world was made so that every living human recognize and acknowledge the L-rd as G-d, so that there will come a day when, "the L-rd shall be King over all the earth - on that day shall the L-rd be One and His Name, One." (Zachariah 14)

The Jew was chosen in order to spread the greatness and Divinity of the L-rd throughout the world:
"This nation have I created for Me, to tell My Glory." (Isaiah 43) The Jew was created and commanded to bow the knee and bend the head and annoint G-d as King. But the entire world was also created in order that some day, they, too, would accept the kingship of the L-rd, and cry out, "The L-rd is One!"

"The L-rd reigneth; let the earth rejoice, let the multitude of the isles be glad." (Psalms 97)

"The L-rd reigneth, let the people tremble!" (Psalms 99)

"My mouth shall speak the praise of the L-rd and let all flesh bless His Holy Name forever and ever." (Psalms 145)

But this universal acceptance of the L-rd, G-d of the Jews, cannot be unless the entire world is aware of the Jews and their G-d.
If huge parts of the world are unaware even of the existence of a Jewish people and a G-d of Israel, how can they possibly accept Him as King? How can we reach the day when "the mountain of the L-rd's House shall be established in the top of the mountains and all the nations shall flow unto it... and say: Come let us go up to the mountain of the L-rd, to the house of the G-d of Jacob, and He will teach us His ways and we will walk in His paths?" (Isaiah 2)

As long as the world was so isolated and made up of so many far-flung nations, separated from each other, all living their own separate lives and cultures, all ignorant of the very existence of a people called Israel and their G-d to whom they had to pay homage, there could never be the day when the L-rd would be One and His Name One. There had to come a time when the world so shrank and became one, that every nation and every people would be united in information and knowledge and know that there was a Jewish people, an Israel, and a G-d of Israel, to accept or reject!

By Rabbi Meir Kahane
40 Years
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