As Purim approaches, thousands of Israeli children and families grapple with poverty
So, against this backdrop of world history, are we simply spinning haphazardly from one tragedy to another? Or might there be some reason and meaning behind all the events that have punctuated our history?
The dreidel teaches us its lesson when we are facing times of hardship and tragedy. And that lesson? First and foremost, that God is our God and we are His people. And if we believe in that ultimate meaning of the Jewish people; if we know that despite the dizzying blur of events in our history there is some purpose to it all; if we are prepared to fight to remain Jews regardless of what history throws at us, then who knows – we might just see a miracle and be reassured that there is a Hidden Hand guiding the destiny of the Jewish people.
Isn’t that the lesson of our modern state of Israel?
Some sixty years ago, for the first time since the Maccabees defeated the Greeks, the Jewish people were on the verge of reclaiming sovereignty in their homeland. Who in the world believed this new state would be born at all? And even if it should be born, went the logical thinking, it would quickly be extinguished by the much larger and far better equipped Arab armies.
In those early days, the Jews of Palestine built up an image of strength for political reasons. They had to convince a doubting world that they were capable of surviving the birth pangs of nationhood.
How different the reality was from the image.
The fledgling Jewish army could barely arm a quarter of its men. It possessed a few thousand rifles, less than a thousand machine guns, and sufficient ammunition for only three days fighting.
There were no heavy armaments of any kind – no heavy machine guns, no artillery, no anti-tank or anti-aircraft guns, no real armored cars.
No air force.
That was the good news. On December 5, 1947, the United States government announced a total embargo on arms sales to the Middle East. By that time, the Arabs had already purchased tens of millions of dollars worth of U.S. arms surplus. The Jews had nothing but their anemic supplies and a dream.
They didn’t have a chance.
The rest, as they say in another well-worn quote, is history.
We Jews are a people of history, of time. God, whose name defines His nature as being outside of time, has entered time to save us, to establish and to reestablish His relationship with us.
That is the true miracle of our lives – that in the thicket of history we can be lost for so long and then found again.
That is the miracle of the dreidel.
It is our story.
It is our history told on the sides of a modest little top, spun around in a child’s delightful game to celebrate the holiday of lights.
About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.
Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general
Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.
In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.
Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.
Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address
Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.
I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.
The Holocaust was the latest attempt of Amalek to destroy the special bond that we enjoy with God.
UN inspectors were flabbergasted when Iran allowed them full unfettered access to All nuclear sites
Obama’s real problem is that he knows Netanyahu has more credibility on the Iran issue than he does.
Kristof’s op-ed “The Human Stain” was flawed and wrong; more than anti-Israel, it was anti-Semitic.
Jews cover the head not as ID but because wearing it makes concrete to ourselves our devotion to God
What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.
It is difficult to remain faithful in galut, the ultimate Rorschach test for all Jewish generations
Racheli Frankel: “I didn’t think they were thrown just anywhere. The tears of Hebron embraced them”
Yes, God judges, but His judgment is that of a loving father who longs for his child’s quick return.
But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.
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