Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
More disturbing yet were Netanyahu’s generally secular views about life and human history.
Perhaps by using secular barometers to measure how we value and enhance life, Netanyahu was simply trying to establish a common ground with the other delegates, to impress them with Israeli accomplishments they could perceive and appreciate. Certainly, the long list of Israel’s achievements in the scientific and technological domains (“leading innovations in science and technology, medicine and biology, agriculture and water, energy and the environment”) is quite impressive.
But one might hope that as the leader of the Jewish state, Netanyahu would embrace a truer and more complete understanding of how we perceive the world and our significant, divinely mandated role within it.
Maybe it is asking too much from an irreligious head of state to expect him to acknowledge there is more to life than the humanistic aspirations he expressed. Perhaps he really does believe the Jews are just another nation, willing and able to make their fair contribution to the inexorable march of history. We, however, certainly cannot support that component of his address.
Rashi’s first commentary on the Torah (Bereishis 1:1) focuses on this very point. He states that the Torah began with the account of creation for one simple reason: “So that if the nations of the world were to say to Israel, ‘you are thieves, for you conquered the lands of the seven nations,’ [Israel) will say to them, ‘The whole earth belongs to God. He created it, and He gave it to the one that he found to be proper in His eyes.’ ”
We understand that we were given our precious land for a purpose. It is not simply to serve as a place of refuge for Jews fleeing persecution or even a homeland like all others. If that were the case, there would have been no need for us to conquer a land that was already occupied by other nations.
Instead, we were given the land of Israel because God intended for us to do something special with it, to develop it into a spiritual center from which to elevate all of humanity.
Hopefully, this more elevated view will soon be shared by all Israel, from the political leadership down, so that we can proudly and collectively embark on our true mission: to bring about the final redemption and with it the long-awaited fulfillment of Isaiah’s vision of a time when “nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore.”
And with that, we will finally be able to put the political farce that is the United Nations, as well as Ahmadinejad and his odious ilk, out of their collective misery.
About the Author: Rabbi Naphtali Hoff is president of Impactful Coaching and Consulting (ImpactfulCoaching.com). He can be reached at email@example.com.
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The answer is an emphatic no.
The meaning of “God’s watch” here is not entirely clear.
Don’t Israelis and Arab Palestinians deserve more than this? Is it not time to stop the insanity?
At age 104, my mother was still concerned about her relationship with Hashem.
Obama’s incompetence, the way his naive worldview and credulity have made a fool of him, are equally frightening
“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”
You’ve discovered our little secret!
Klein’s challenger has demonstrated a propensity to unleash poisonous vitriol, even to other Zionists
President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy.
Welcome the book of Leviticus!
If the nationalist Knesset members don’t provide the answer, the Arab MKs will do so in their place.
International Agunah Day falls annually on Ta’anis Esther, this year on March 13.
Yeshiva University Museum recently hosted an exhibit titled “Threshold to the Sacred.”
Even a foxhole Yid has to admit that antisemitism is on the upswing.
Humility is perhaps the least understood quality a person may possess. Often it is perceived as a form of meekness, a reticence that stems from a lack of self-confidence or an unwillingness to stand up and assert oneself. But that is far from what true humility is.
Throughout the past week we have thanked Hashem for the improbable defeat of the powerful Seleucid forces by a small, untrained band of Jewish fighters. We also celebrated the story’s one open miracle, when the menorah’s lights burned for eight consecutive days following the Temple’s rededication.
The exchange was brief and simple in its content, yet profound in its implications.
One morning this past summer, I davened at a shul in Passaic, New Jersey. Passaic was our new home as of mid-July, following nearly a decade of school leadership in other communities. After tefillah, I opened a conversation with someone who had also just concluded his tenure as a principal out of state. He informed me he had left the field of education entirely and had moved to the tri-state area to go into business with a relative. In the course of our talk, he mentioned that another colleague, also young by comparative standards, was not returning to the school he had helped found out west.
Throughout our nation’s long history we have resided in countless countries and lived under numerous governmental regimes. For the most part, our existence in the diaspora has been difficult at best, intolerable at worst.
Earlier this month the London Games were all the rage. Tens of thousands descended upon Great Britain’s crown jewel to witness the Olympics and cheer for their respective countrymen.
After three-plus years of economic challenge and uncertainty, we remain anxious for positive news, the kind that will finally let us believe the worst is fully behind us. Unfortunately, the outlook for the 2012 global economy remains uninspiring: recession in Europe, anemic growth in the U.S. and a sharp slowdown in China and other emerging-market economies all weigh on economist forecasts.
Asara B’Teves, the 10th of Teves, commemorates the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar that ultimately culminated with the First Temple’s destruction on the 9th of Av the following year.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/redefining-progress/2009/10/21/
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