Editor’s Note: Rebbetzin Jungreis, a”h, is no longer with us in a physical sense, but her message is eternal and The Jewish Press will continue to present the columns that for more than half a century have inspired countless readers around the world.
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The plight of our brethren in Israel is always before me. From the creation of the state 69 years ago, our people have experienced non-stop war and terrorism and international opprobrium.
Whenever Israel responds to murderous attacks on its people, nearly the entire world, silent when Arabs kill Jews, suddenly awakens and unleashes its venom and fury on Jews for having the temerity to defend themselves.
Anti-Israel demonstrations, even when the IDF is not engaging Israel’s enemies, have become a daily fact of life, particularly in the streets of Europe and on American college campuses.
It matters little that Israel makes Herculean efforts to protect the lives of Arab civilians, and that Hamas terrorists use those very civilians (including children) as their shields.
Cunningly they hide in hospitals, schools, and mosques, daring Israel to attack so they can then cry “Holocaust! Humanitarian crisis!”
It defies imagination that the world’s ‘enlightened do-gooders/ have not questioned the hypocrisy of Hamas, an organization ostensibly concerned with the welfare of Palestinian Arabs but that uses its funds to purchase lethal weapons and dig tunnels through which to smuggle them.
In 2005 the Israeli government uprooted its own citizens from their land so that Gaza could have its “freedom.” Israel left behind the magnificent greenhouses it had created in the heart of the desert, greenhouses that could have provided a livelihood for the Arabs, but Hamas chose to destroy them all, replacing them with launching pads for terror.
World hatred of Israel and the Jews is difficult to comprehend. Israel created the only democracy in a region where, for centuries, oppressive dictatorships held sway. Moreover, there is no nation that has not suffered from the barbaric hand of radical Islamist terrorists. So how can these nations and their supposedly freedom-loving people accept the Arab narrative and denounce and boycott Israel?
Israel stands virtually alone. But that reality, sad as it is, should imbue us with strength. For what we are witnessing is so irrational, so senseless, that it can only be explained as the Hand of G-d.
Something unprecedented is happening in the world. If you know Tanach, you realize that what is occurring was foretold thousands of years ago. “It is a time of travail and suffering for Israel, but from that suffering shall emerge her salvation.”
The patriarch Jacob on his deathbed gathered his children to tell them what would occur in the pre-Messianic period: “Assemble yourselves and I will tell you that which will happen in the end of days. Gather yourselves, sons of Jacob, and listen to Israel, your father” (Genesis 49:1).
Strangely enough, Jacob did not make the revelation. Our sages explain that Jacob went blank – Hashem took away his Ruach HaKodesh and thereby prevented him from relating that which would happen. Why?
Could it be that Jacob did tell us what would happen in the pre-Messianic period – that G-d would be calling but that we would not listen to or even perceive His message?
Recent history has given us one wake-up call after another, from the massive suffering and murder perpetrated by the Nazis and the Communists to the unspeakable savagery of al Qaeda and ISIS and their jihadi compatriots in the Middle East and elsewhere.
All our icons, everything we once took for granted, are collapsing so that we, the Jewish people, might come to the realization that there is no one but G-d. But those wake-up calls have yet to rouse us as a people. We have yet to hear and heed the call of G-d and turn to Him.
The terrible suffering that has been predicted for this period is unfolding before our eyes but we refuse to consider or comprehend. So – I tremble as I write this – we can only expect more wake-up calls, more tragedies, more suffering.
But the day of awakening will come – and when we finally realize what is happening all around us, we will know what needs to be done to prevail over the forces of evil.
In his blessing, our father Jacob gave us the way to protect ourselves, saying, in essence: Gather yourselves and be one – unify as one. Cease your bickering and turn to G-d and His Torah, for that is the key to your redemption.