Anyone for a Godly Israel?

The Torah, one of many documents defining a Jew, the nature of God, and the elements of faith. It could be the blueprint for a Godly Israel. And a key source of the rule of law in Israel--or it should be. Is the ingathering of the Jews in the offing? But these Jews must turn to God, Whom their leaders, and the public in Israel, seem to have forsaken. (What parallels exist between Judaism and George Lucas' Jedi ideal?) It names many heroes, including Abraham and Sarah.
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We are fortunate in having various Zionist organizations for a safe as well as for a strong Israel. These organizations have performed an important service. They have exposed the deceitful and deadly nature of the Oslovian peace process. They have shown with compelling evidence that the Israel-PLO agreements have armed Israel’s enemies, have brought not peace but a war of attrition which has demoralized the Jewish people and truncated their one and only homeland.

Toward a Godly Israel

I sometimes wonder, however, whether most Jews, be they Zionists or not, have an adequate understanding of what can make Israel safe and strong. Indeed, at the risk of alienating friends, I wonder whether emphasis on a “safe” or “strong” Israel is not counterproductive, in that such emphasis may obscure the one thing needed to make Israel safe and strong. The mere fact that Zionist organizations have failed to have any discernible impact on Israeli governments suggests that they need to think more deeply about what Israel is all about.

To be for a safe or a strong Israel is certainly meritorious, so long as it does not obscure the dire need of Jews to be for a Godly Israel, for only a Godly Israel can be truly safe and truly strong. Thus we read in the prophet Zechariah:

Not by armed might, nor by power, but by My spirit, says the Lord of Hosts (4:5).

Let us try to understand this verse by means of Israel’s most sacred symbol, the Menorah.

The Menorah points to God

The light of the Menorah symbolizes knowledge, precisely spiritual enlightenment. The source of spiritual enlightenment is of course God. This enlightenment is manifested in the words of the Torah. As King David has written:

The Word of God is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Psalms 119:105).

Or as his son King Solomon has written:

For the Commandment is a lamp and the Teaching a light (Proverbs 6:23).

Israel will be safe and strong only if its prime ministers are men of Torah. Only if they imbue every heart and home with the light of the Torah will Israel enjoy peace.

For instruction shall go forth from Me, and I will create a quiet abode for My [people], so that it may shine upon the nations (Isaiah 51:4).

O House of Jacob, come let us walk in the light of God (Isaiah 2:5).

When Israel suffers murder and misery, it is because

they rebel against the light, do not recognize the ways of God and never seek serenity [or peace] in His paths (Job 24:13).

As Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch points out, Scripture uses the words “lamp” and “light” as metaphors for the source of growth and life, of undisturbed progress and happiness. Hence the spirit of God mentioned in Zechariah denotes not only the means for attaining perception, but also the motivation for action.

One tree, six branches

Now, it should be noted that the Menorah resembles a tree with a central shaft generating three branches from one side and three branches from the other side. The central shaft symbolizes the spirit of God. From Isaiah (11:2) we learn that whereas the three branches of one side of the Menorah symbolize wisdom, counsel, and knowledge, the three branches from the other side symbolize understanding, strength, and fear of God. Imbued with the spirit of God, Israel will unite theory and practice, perception and accomplishment.

Unless they stem from the spirit of God, what is called “wisdom,” “counsel,” “knowledge,” “understanding,” and “strength” will be futile.

I am the Lord … that turns wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolish (Isaiah 44:24-25).

As for the fear (really awe) of God, this, says King David, is “the beginning of wisdom” (Psalms 111:10). If Israel’s leaders feared God, they would not have made a covenant of death and lies with PLO terrorists. (See Isaiah 28:15.)

Linking to the spirit of God

But merely to critically analyze the suicidal folly and mendacity of Israel’s political elites will have no impact on their behavior, since such knowledge is not linked to the spirit of God. This is why Isaiah says that God

confirms the words of His servant, and fulfills the counsel of His messengers (44:26).

Which means that it is not enough for critics to expose the lies and lethal nature of the Oslovian peace process. Their words must be motivated by the desire to sanctify the Name of God. God’s Name must be in their hearts and on their lips.

Thus said the Lord, your Redeemer and the One Who formed you [Israel] in the womb: I am the Lord, Who has made everything; Who spread out the heavens by Myself, and formed the earth of My own accord; that frustrates the signs of imposters, and makes rulers mad … (Isaiah 44:24-25).

Are not Israel’s rulers “mad”?

Hence I say, all honor to those who are for a safe and strong Israel. But now I ask: Anyone for a Godly Israel?

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