Resisting Our Return

Internet Radio

July 27, 2010
37:05 Mins
Audio Excerpt (2:31 Mins)
…And why the violence there? Well, because, truth be told, mankind, leastwise a significant politically active slice of homo sapiens, objects to this 150 year-old project of the Jews, our return to the ancestral homeland after some 1,800 years away from it, during which time we never forget where home was.

The goyim among whom we lived did not accept us, but also our liturgy of many years overflows with references to Eretz Yisrael and Yerushalayim. Those who know something of Judaism, if far less than they imagine, think that “Next year in Jerusalem” is said once a year at the Passover seder. Not true. Three times a day six days a week we pray in the 18 Blessings to be returned to Jerusalem. Jews have survived these 1,800 years precisely because the discipline of religion kept this people alive like a life preserver at sea preventing the people from sinking into the ages of human history.

Unlike the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Persians, the Romans, the Hapsburgs, the Ottomans, we are still here. Still alive, alive and kicking; still being fruitful and vital. And we have stayed alive via these “rituals” which when seen from the outside appear to be obsessive-compulsive behaviors; rituals.

When on the contrary, they are free-willed behaviors which may look like rituals when seen from outside but inside they are mnemonics, memory devices; they all have meaning. By observing Passover every year, we never forget the beginning of our people as slaves who escaped; and who, by contrast to their slavery, of their own free will, accepted at Mt. Sinai the commandments which demand to be performed on G-d’s instructions, which behavior contributes mightily to the immortality of the Jewish people.

Put another way, the Jewish religion is the heart of Jewish national identity, which makes the Jewish nation unique among the nations of the world…