Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Is the Modern State of Israel The Final Redemption

In Kings 2 Chapter 14 it says:

"23 In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty and one years. 24 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, wherewith he made Israel to sin. 25 He restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath unto the sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which He spoke by the hand of His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was of Gath-hepher. 26 For the LORD saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter; for there was none shut up nor left at large, neither was there any helper for Israel. 27 And the LORD said not that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven; but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash. 28 Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he warred, and how he recovered Damascus, and Hamath, for Judah in Israel, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 29 And Jeroboam slept with his fathers, even with the kings of Israel; and Zechariah his son reigned in his stead."

It is important to note several things here, but the most important idea to focus on is that within 40 years of G-D helping the kingdom of Israel restore it's borders, the king of Assyria came and wiped out all of the kingdom of Israel. The Jewish kingdom was not worthy of redemption, but G-D, in His kindness, decided to help them out and maybe they would repent. However, even after G-D granted them amazing victory after victory, they were unable to turn around their bad habits. They still worshiped the idols that the original king of Israel had set up and they did not follow the proper path.

My Rebbe, Rav Parnes, once quoted this section of the Tanach to tell us a very disturbing idea. He said that he loves Israel and hopes that it is the beginning of Moshiach. However, he was hesitant to put all of his eggs in one basket. He told us that this verse shows that even when the Jewish people are granted redemption, as the kingdom of Israel was, it might only be temporary. The only thing that we can know for sure is that G-D has a plan, but we are not privy to that plan. He hoped, as well as most Jews hoped and still hope, that the state of Israel will bring the final redemption, but what if it doesn't? We can never be totally certain. Take a look at the Shabtai Tzvi incident. Everyone thought he was the Moshiach, everyone was certain! However, he ended up converting to Islam and many, many, many Jews were lost and discouraged because of this hope. Although, it was well intentioned and meaningful, it caused so much heartache and grief.

Obviously, every Jew should support the state of Israel if just for the fact that it is the only Jewish state in the world. Calling for its destruction is like asking for millions of Jews to be murdered. In fact, the Jewish State has brought so much more Torah learning into the world than there has ever been before!

Rav Aharon Soloveichik wrote in "Logic of the Heart, Logic of the Mind" that once the state of Israel was created, Judaism transformed in a way that it needs the state of Israel to survive. In fact, Rav Aharon was a huge Israel supporter. However, if this is true, then I pray that the Jewish state is the beginning of the redemption and not just some relief of pain, like by Jeroboam son of Joash.

In all truth, there are two ways to look at the incident by which Jeroboam the son of Joash was able to return all of the land to the kingdom of Israel and relate it to the modern state. First, we can see the negative, no one repented and the only reason G-D gave them this temporary reprieve was because they cried out in anguish. However, on the positive side, we see that G-D told Yonah, the prophet, that he was going to save the Jewish people at this time and He kept His word even though they were undeserving. Looking at the modern state, we could also say that we received Israel only after 2000 years of suffering that culminated with the Holocaust. Perhaps the suffering was the only reason we were granted this reprieve? However, there are also the prophecies that tell us, (In Ezekiel 38) that there will be a giant war in the end of days. Do you know who is involved in that war? The Armies of Gog, the king of Magog and guess who he is fighting? Yup, the Jewish people, IN ISRAEL. Therefore, according to this prophecy, the Jewish people have to have a standing army in Israel BEFORE the Moshiach arrives! Therefore, if G-D is to keep his word, which He always does, the Jewish people MUST have a standing army IN ISRAEL, or the prophecy can NEVER come true.

This idea gives me hope, but who says that this will be the time? There have actually been a few autonomous Jewish kingdoms. After the second temple was destroyed we had the kingdom of Bar Kochba (Kosiba) in the 130's CE. Then there was the minor kingdom in Syria mentioned in the Gemorah in Tractate Succah (Queen Heleina). The most famous of all, the Jewish Kingdom of Kahzar, made famous from the book the Kuzari. All of these kingdoms had standing armies. Bar Kochba actually had a huge army in Israel. I am unsure of the minor kingdom in Syria, but the Kahzar's (located in the area between Russia and Turkey next to the black sea) wrote letters detailing how they desired to march to Israel and conquer the land.

All we can do today is hope and pray that the modern state is the beginning of the redemption and pray for its well being and success.


Yehivish said...

the State should at least be perceived as highly likely to be the hatchalta degeula. Keeping this in mind will help people be focused at making it a reality. There is absolutely no question,in my mind, that there were absolute miracles that brought Israel into existence. To ignore this is a complete missed opportunity. Not to do everything in your power to make the state the beginning of our redemption is anti-social, nothing more nothing less.

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

One difference between the section of Melachim you quoted and today is the degree of change that occurred. in the time of Jeroboam II, it was an expansion of the already existing state. This modern State rose from absolutely nothing through a series of miracles and survives even today only through miracles.
But it's only the beginning. We cannot sit back and say "This is what we've prayed for over the last 1900 years!" There's still so much to do.