Thursday, August 11, 2005

Israel's Road Map to...

On Wednesday, President of Israel, Moshe Katsav addressed the nation. Personally, I found very little in his speech to be new or of any particular interest. That is, with the exception of one of the last things that he said in his speech.
"The army is one of the instruments of the redemption of Israel. The coming of our redemption does not depend on the disengagement plan."

"With God's help," the president prayed, "we will be able to overcome the difficulties and to achieve the desired purpose: security and peace."

It seems, according to President Katsav, and many in Israel, when we speak of redemption, we are referring to the achievement of "security and peace". Ask the average Israeli what our national goal is, and he will most likely say, "peace".

However, this is a very dangerous mistake to make, for two reasons:

1) Peace can't be a national goal, since it is a goal that can't be achieved on our own. It is not entirely up to the State of Israel as to if it will be able to live in peace, but also up to our (not so) friendly neighbors. it can take certain steps to achieve "peace", but at the end of the day, it takes two to tango. To set as the nation's ultimate goal that which the nation can't possibly achieve serves to set the nation up for failure and despondency - which in turn causes the nation to adopt policies out of desperation and frustration in an effort to reach the non-existant pot-of-gold at the end of the rainbow, as can be seen today.

2) "Security and peace" and not end goals or forms of "redemption" in and of themselves, rather they are means to an end (means to achieving redemption). The true question is, what is it that the Nation of Israel hopes to achieve once we have achieved a state of "security and peaceā€? If the answer is that we merely desire to live normal lives like everyone else, then that is not redemption (at least not in the Jewish sense of the word). However, if our aspirations to achieve "security and peace" are meant to allow us to grow as a nation, in a spiritual sense, to connect with our heritage and our roots, to (re)connect with the Land of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the People of Israel, then "security and peace" are meaningful steps on the path to the true redemption of the Jewish People.

During these days, lets us not chase after false messiahs and false hopes for peace. There are no short-cuts to true redemption, just as there are no short-cuts to achieving "security and peace". May the G-d of Israel bless the Nation of Israel with the insight to stay true to our heritage and with the strength to overcome the desire to go after quick solutions that will bring us neither peace, nor security.


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