On Being an Idealist...
The other day, after being labeled as being both controversial and extreme, I laid out a number of my beliefs pertaining to Israel and the Jewish People and asked my loyal readers to tell me if these beliefs were in fact either controversial, extreme, or both.
Among the comments that I received to the post, there seemed to be a bit of a common theme through out (at least with those who didn't agree with the beliefs I set out):
* Not an extremist, no... but as I've told your bro, sometimes a wee bit unrealistic...
* And as a side note, some might term it as being too "idealistic".
* ...a little disconnected from the reality on the ground.
* ...this post is far more realistic (even though it's extremely idealistic) than some of your others.
So, my question, once again to all of my readers is, what is wrong with being an idealist?
I was talking with my close friend Yishai last night, and he mentioned Theodor Herzl's famous words: "If you will it, it is no dream". When Herzl began running around talking about creating a Jewish State, people mocked him and laughed at him, but he was one of the people who helped to lay the groundwork for the future Jewish State of Israel. Vladimir Jabotinsky had a vision during WWI for the creation of a Jewish army - the 1st one in 2,000 years - and once again, his vision was met with scorn and derision by his Jewish brothers and sisters. Yet, he persevered, and he was able to help found and serve in the Jewish Legion (which fought with the British in Eretz Yisrael) - which was the predecessor to the Israel Defense Force.
If one goes back even 70 years ago, perhaps less, who would have believed that there would be a Jewish State of Israel in existence today? Who would believe that the majority of world Jewry would soon be living in that State? Who would have believed that the Jewish People, who for the good part of the last 2,000 years were strangers to both fighting and farming would be able to build the IDF, among the best armies in the world today, as well as take a country that had been desolate for 2,000 years and literally make the desert bloom? Who would have believed that Jews from all over the world, East and West, North and South would all come together in Israel - a modern day Ingathering of the Exiles?
None of these things were realistic or practical. Every one of these things happened because the Jewish People believed. They had faith. A faith that was unbroken for 2,000 years of Exile, and they would not be denied.
If I was a practical / realistic person, I would still be living in NY. I wouldn't have the privilege of owning my own home with a view of Jerusalem. I would not have been blessed with a daughter born in Jerusalem. I would most likely have gone into a career where my main concern was making lots of money, instead of working to inspire and connect my Jewish brothers and sisters to the Jewish people and the Land of Israel...
The Jewish People have always been above history - we are a super-natural People. Our mission and destiny in this world are not based on reality but on idealism and vision and our faith in Hashem.
Was Avraham Avinu a realist? The progenitor of the Jewish People was exactly mainstream with his belief in the One, True G-d. How about King David? The Maccabim?
Where are all the great empires that had such practical and realistic worldviews? Greece, Rome, Persia, Egypt, Babylon, the Soviet Union, the Ottoman Empire? All gone - forever, into the dustbins of history - and yet, the idealistic, persistent, stubborn Jewish People have remained, unwilling to bend or break with the times.
The Jewish people still have so much to accomplish, and on paper, none of it seems to be possible, so what is a Jew to do? Give up?
So, am I an idealist?
Of course I am... but as a Jew, I don't know any other way to be.