Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Mystery of the Jews

God & The Torah

“Why are the nations in an uproar? And why do the peoples mutter in vain?
The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD, and against His anointed”
Psalm 2:1-2JPS Tanakh (1917)

א לָמָּה, רָגְשׁוּ גוֹיִם; וּלְאֻמִּים, יֶהְגּוּ-רִיק.
ב יִתְיַצְּבוּ, מַלְכֵי-אֶרֶץ-- וְרוֹזְנִים נוֹסְדוּ-יָחַד:
עַל-יְהוָה, וְעַל-מְשִׁיחוֹ.

—תְּהִלִּים  Chapter 2

This video was posted on Youtube by [SimpletoRemember].

The Jewish People have been instrumental in shaping the world around them, most of it for the better, a people touching all aspects of life: religious, spiritual, cultural, scientific and technological. The Jews have given the world the idea of monotheism as well as both Christianity and Marxism. We have never been a people in control of a powerful nation—like ancient Greece, ancient Rome, the French Republic, Great Britain or the United States— but such primarily is a good thing, since powerful nations and empires in particular come and go.

They don’t last, since they compete with other nations for world dominance, which often comes at a cost. This does not suggest in any way that Israel cannot be a great nation, one that is morally exceptional. In many ways, it already is. It all comes down to the Jewish People. Has there been a nation, a people, that has shown such resilience in the face of so many challenges and difficulties?

Such speaks of the mystery? Our enduring history, our thousands of years of existence as a people rests on a combination of factors, including our historical reliance on the Torah, our moral code, our kind of mysticism, our inquiry, our way of argumentation, our flexibility, our pragmatism and our enduring belief in hope. Each forms a strand that when wound tight makes a strong rope of existence.

The Jewish People have been able to do all this for most of its post-Temple history [70 CE to 1948] as a people without a nation, as a people in exile. This is all the more remarkable. So, that it has had a nation since 1948 is considered by many a miracle; as is the corresponding revival of the Hebrew language in such a short period. That it is a modern democratic state can not and should not be easily ignored. Despite the many challenges and obstacles it faces, including being the recurring recipient of apoplectic fits of rage from the international community of nations, Israel is in a good position. It is viewed favorably by a large majority of Americans, which is not always translated to favorable policies by its leaders.

The word “mystery,” which shares the same root as mystic, has as its primary meaning, a “religious truth via divine revelation.” Such revelations come to us by way of mystics,  men, who inform those around him. The Jewish People have had their share of mystics; and their “divine thoughts” have taken on the form of a continuing narrative. For your consideration, there are these verses (particularly 24 to 28) from one of the prophets, Ezekiel (יְחֶזְקֵא), Chapter 36, which speaks of the special relationship and the covenantal promises made between God and the Jewish People—one of the many such passages found in the Hebrew Bible (“The Tanakh,” תַּנַ"ךְ‎).