Israeli independence has altered the condition of the world’s oldest people. The achievement of the nation-state of Israel has allowed a re-flourishing of Jewish culture, memory and language. The formation of the State of Israel has changed the existential condition of Diaspora Jews, even in the United States. Without the State of Israel, the self-confidence and sense of belonging that American Jews now take for granted today would disappear. Without the establishment of the Jewish State, the Jewish peoplehood and Judaism might not have survived from the Holocaust, the place of serpents and shrouded . . . in the shadow of death. However, how do we explain this rebirth of the Commonwealth of Israel after 2,000 years of exile, persecution and extermination directed against the Jewish people?
The Biblical mission of Israel, as described in Exodus 19:6, is . . . to Me a kingdom of ministers and a holy nation. A kingdom of ministers and a holy nation is a God-centered republic, in which all are priests and servants and God alone rules. It is not a society, in which a priestly caste rules over a non-priestly people. The law of a kingdom of ministers is the will of God.
It was not Israel that was chosen at Mount Sinai, but rather Israel that came into being by having been chosen. Israel was called into being by the will of God through the direct encounters with the Divine Presence. God’s choice made Israel as a witness to His Divine Presence in history.
The collective Jewish people could have surrendered its destiny as the people of God to its enemies and avoided the centuries of exile, hatred and destruction, but they are a “stiff-neck people” and that is why God chose them to be His witnesses on earth.
All this came upon us yet we have not forgotten You, and we have not been false to Your covenant. Our heart has not turned back, nor have our footsteps strayed from Your path, even when You crushed us in the place of serpents and shrouded us in the shadow of death. Have we forgotten the Name of our God and extended our hands to a strange god? Is it not so that God can examine this, for He knows the secrets of the heart? Because for Your sake we are killed all the time, we are considered as sheep for slaughter. Psalms 44:18-23.
Although Divine Presence may be hidden from man today, indirect intervention in the affairs of men, who are free to recognize or to reject His intervention, is how God performs His Will. Indirect divine intervention can be as a result of human action, performed by free will, or of the interplay of natural forces, or a combination of both.
Without the choice of good or evil, man would lack the free will of action given by God. If Divine providence occurred in the world convincingly to man, there would be not free will and a morally responsible human to choose good or evil when evil is always punished in this world immediately by God. When Divine Presence occurs in history, such as the miracle of the re-establishment of the State of Israel after 2,000 years and the Jewish survival during the 1948 War on Independence, the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War when another Holocaust should have happened each time, history stands still in the miracle for the history of the events cannot be explained by man’s rational.
The rebirth and survival of the State of Israel is the assurance of the messianic fulfillment of history. The survival of the Jewish people and of Judaism in spite of 2,000 years of persecutions and exterminations is the mystery of all ages. Dr. Eliezer Berkovits stated in God, Man and History: A Jewish Interpretation that “Israel’s suffering is the measure of man’s failure to become a ‘partner’ with God in the task of human salvation.” Israel’s survival is by itself the proof that God’s purpose in history will not be defeated and the day of redemption and salvation is coming. Today, we are witnessing the ingathering of all of the tribes of Israel.
Fear not, for I am with you; from the East I will bring your offspring and from the West I will gather you. I will say to the North, “Give [them] over!” and to the South, “Do not withhold! Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by My Name and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have fashioned, even perfected; to liberate the people who are blind though they have eyes, and deaf though they have ears.” Isaiah 43:5-8. [Emphasis added].
As in Isaiah 43:8, will the ingathering of the Jewish people back to the Land open the eyes and ears of the Christian community to see and hear God’s witnesses on earth? The world is witnessing the awaking of the assimilated Jews around the world to their ancient heritage and the ingathering to the Land.
Behold I will raise My hand toward nations, and I will hoist my banner towards peoples, and they will bring your children in [their] arms, and your daughters will be carried on [their] shoulder . . . Then you will know that I am the Lord, and those Who put their hopes in Me shall not be ashamed. Isaiah 49: 22-23.
Throughout the world, people are attempting to discover their Jewish ancestry and seeking possible return to Israel after centuries of being “lost.” Michael Freund founded Shavei Israel [www.shavei.org] as the only Jewish organization actively seeking the “lost Jews” to assist with their return to the Land, according to Biblical prophecies. Shavei Israel provides guidance and understanding in finding Jewish roots and assistance in making a return. Shavei Israel assists all who have decided that Judaism and a return to the Jewish people are central to their identity.
Copyright © 2012 by Martin M. van Brauman