by Shalom Pollack
We are very close once again to the time of celebrating the most important moments in our history as a nation. The holiday of our freedom as a people, 3,500 years ago, pointed us on our way to receiving the laws that made us unique and making our way to our promised land.This is unparalleled in history.
As I recollect these earth-shattering events, I try to compare them with any other single period in our very long history. The only period that comes to mind is the one we are blessed to live in this day. In fact, for me and almost seven million Jews, it is not only this day but this place.
I am sharing these thoughts from my home in Jerusalem.
As my grandfather would say in Yiddish, "ein klenekeit"(no small thing). My grandfather was lucky to leave Czarist Russia in time to raise a family in the US. I was lucky enough to fulfill the dream of hundreds of generations that preceded my grandfather and come full circle. Ein Klenekeit indeed!
Could my ancestors, as they were expelled from one hostile land to another ever imagine that one day it would really happen. Did they really?
Our sages tell us that the final redemption will be much like the first, in Egypt. It is not difficult to find some clear parallels:
We were freed from physical personal and national bondage.
How many millions of Jews left their antisemitic totalitarian countries in which they lived for centuries, in Europe, the Mid-east and beyond to fulfill the prophecies of the"ingathering of the exiles " at the end of days? It is happening outside my window.
Against all odds, the Jewish people, never a military power, freed our land from a host of powerful military powers in the promised land. That was 3,500 years ago. A similar miracle was repeated in 1948 (and in 1967, 1973....).
Our greatest leader of all time, Moshe abandoned a very comfortable life to rouse his people to break the bonds of slavery and march home.
In the late nineteenth century, another man, raised in the lap of European comfort decided to leave that comfort and to dedicate his life to his people for the same reason. As Moses, he too was met with many naysayers and critics. He too had to face derision and accusations from the people he was trying to save and dedicated his life too.
By the time they died, both were recognized by the world as the leader of their people. Both ultimately did not enter the promised land but paved the way for the rest of his people.
As soon as the People of Israel left Egypt, the Egyptians changed their mind and against all logic, pursued them until the former cruel masters were drowned in the Red Sea.
The British issued the "Balfour declaration" in 1917 promising the Jews their homeland. They too changed their minds very shortly afterward and became the nemesis of the Jewish dream of the return.
Like Egypt, Britain soon lost its superpower status as its empire quickly crumbled and is a shadow of its former self. Millions of Muslims stream into England destabilizing British life from within. Their best days are long gone. Their pinnacle was when they issued the "Balfour declaration" They began to sink fast when they reneged.
When the people of Israel settled the promised land, they had were engaged in constant war with neighboring and internal nations who continually challenged Israelite sovereignty.
Our sages guarantee us that the ultimate redemption will make the Exodus from Egypt seem pale for all of the miracles that God will do for us.
It has been a very convincing beginning.
The best is yet to come!