The Jewish Voice of a New Generation

6 Apr

A tiny Jewish army equipped with little more than spitballs and slingshots defeated a massive Arab coalition united in their unwavering passion to destroy our beloved Jewish state.

In short, that about sums up the War of Independence. The nations feared and respected the Jewish People, and we walked upright and proud.

58 years later: “We are tired of fighting. We are tired of being courageous. We are tired of winning. We are tired of defeating our enemies.” – Ehud Olmert. And a Prime Minister was elected on that platform! (g-d forbid).

How could we have sunk to such depths? Where is our resolve?

During our service in various infantry units of the IDF, we encountered a comprehensive cross section of Israeli society and there was one terrifying theme: No one knew who the first King of Israel was! King David would have been flattered at his popularity, but even more disappointed that his beloved flock didn’t know of his predecessor, King Saul.

Our fellow soldiers, upon discovering that we volunteered for our service in the Israeli Army, began to question our sanity and beg us for our American passports, expressing their deepest desire to shed their IDF uniforms and leave Israel for good.

Could Ehud Olmert be right? Have we given up on the dream?

As always, we turn to the Bible and Jewish teachings for inspiration and understanding. We are approaching the Holiday of Passover. As Sabbath commemorates the creation of Heaven and Earth, Passover marks the creation of the Jewish people as a nation.

When the Jewish people emerged from hundreds of years of slavery in Egypt, they trekked through the desert as G-d tended to their every need. As a fire lead them by night and a cloud during the day, their food was miraculously delivered in the form of Manna falling daily from heaven.

Imagine a young child born in the desert who has never seen a tree bare fruit, or his father work the land. When his food fell from heaven he saw no miracle; just nature in action. For this desert Jew, Manna falling from the sky was just as natural as an apple falling from a tree.

Unfortunately, this is the condition of so many of our brothers and sisters living here in Israel. For them, Israel is the only prism through which they can fathom reality. They were born into this dream, surrounded by Jews their entire lives, speaking only Hebrew and exactly for that reason they don’t see the blatant miracle of the State of Israel. How can one not be honored to serve in the first Jewish army since the times of King David?

There are many causes that contributed to the spiritual bankruptcy, lack of historical understanding, and biblical ignorance of the Israeli masses and the first step to solving this crisis is to acknowledge and understand it.

This Passover, as we celebrate the biblical Genesis of the Jewish nation, we must focus on the future of our people. This Passover, we should not sit next to friends at the Seder table, but next to children. We should go out of our way and invite those who are less connected to our heritage to teach them and inspire them. We must make things real, not abstract.

The Torah is the spiritual blueprint of the universe and when studied correctly we are given the key that opens the door to the secrets of our existence. After surviving the reign of a modern Pharaoh that organized and executed the most horrific persecution in the history of mankind, we are in the spiritual Sinai desert that our Torah spoke about thousands of years ago.

Let this Passover be a starting point. Let us look at our lives with courage and intellectual honesty, however painful that may be. If we find ourselves living in a self imposed exile, raising our children in a nation not our own, is the payoff worth the price? Have we relegated ourselves to a life of mediocrity and compromise backed by justifications and rationalizations?

We are not prisoners to the past and we are not prisoners of the present. Each moment is a new creation, and our greatest gift is that we have the free will to make it our own.

It is our decision. Are we the generation of slaves who perish in the Desert fearing change and the unknown, or are we a free people meriting to enter the Land flowing with milk and honey? Let us prove Ehud Olmert wrong and show him that we are not tired of fighting because unlike him, we understand who we are and what we are fighting for.

Shalom from Jerusalem,

Jeremy Gimpel and Ari Abramowitz

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