Yom Haatzmaut is so rife with nostalgia for most Israelis, mostly because many of us can still remember the time before we had any. Independence, that is.
Most other days of the year I’m immune to this stuff, but today I find myself staring at these heroic posters through moist eyes.
Can you imagine, having a brand new country, just one year old, all the options are still open, anything can happen. What I wouldn’t give to be back then, to experience the newness.
Many National Religious Israelis call the state of Israel “atchalta d’geulah,” which is Aramaic for “the beginning of redemption.” But a friend of mine pointed out that it’s an illogical statement, since you can’t tell if something was the beginning of anything without benefit of knowing the ending.
So, I say, drop the “atchalta” part. This is Geulah, redemption is here, in the country of the Jews.
Maimonides, who was very big on the statement that the only difference between pre- and post-Mashiach days is that after redemption we will no longer suffer the yoke of the gentile nations. Then he refers the great prophetic vision of Isaiah, about lambs and wolves and tigers and kids and cows and bears sitting together munching on hay, and he explains that this will happen in the later stages of redemption.
Good enough. So we’re now in the stage of redemption when the gentile nations still have delusions about enforcing their yoke on us, and we’re busy figuring out ways of keeping our necks yoke-free. It’s still redemption.
Not the beginning – very much the middle of Geulah.