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Tammuz 17 5777

Between Israel and the nations


Written by the rabbi


לשיעור זה בעברית: בין ישראל לעמים - גוג ומגוג

The relations between the Jewish nation to the other nations are complex and tangled. Since the people of Israel showed up on the stage of history and to this very day, through all generations, this complicated situation continues. The approach of the nations towards the Jewish people is complex; on the one hand – appreciation and adoration, and on the other hand – contempt and hatred. On one hand mercy and on the other a strong stream of hate. The other nations are aware that the nation of Israel is a special nation, a great nation, and they have immense appreciation toward us. However, the special virtue of Israel, which stands out, is the one that stimulates estrangement and resistance towards israel within the nations. They feel themselves threatened by us, not a military or a financial threat, but a spiritual threat. It's true that the Jews are prominent with their success in many practical domains, but this is not the main cause for this hostile approach. In other domains there are achievements for the non-Jews as well. There's wisdom within the nations, there's fortune and there's bravery.

And indeed, the difference between Israel and the nations is not seen in these things. The thing that gives the Jewish people true individuality is the torah, the faith. The faith in the lord of the universe, its creator and its leader, the faith in one god is the thing that makes us unique. The torah is the one that makes an essential and absolute difference between Israel and the nations. And this difference makes the relations between Israel and the nations so complex and tangled. And the sages have already said – 'for what reason it is called the mount of Sinai? Because hatred (sinah) came down and filled the nations from that day on' (Shemot Rabbah 2:4). The meaning of this saying is that since the torah was given to the people of Israel, a huge gap was created between Israel and the nations. This is the origin of the tension, this the reason for the adoration and the hostility, both at once.

The whole world is looking for the true god, the god of Israel, but on the other hand, he cannot achieve the great level of the faith of Israel, which is beyond every realization. Many nations accepted Israel's belief in god, the belief in one god, but not completely, not in a pure way.

In this current era, when the time of the true verification of the faith is getting closer, when the Jewish people are coming back to their land, and their return to the land of Israel and to Jerusalem is announcing the victory of Israel's faith, right now, in this period, the complexity of the relations between Israel and the nations reaches its peak. On the one hand, appreciation and help, and on the other interruptions and delays, coming from a subconscious desire to prevent the full return of Israel to their land and to Jerusalem. The sages foresaw this situation, and so they said – in the days to come, meaning the days of the beginning of Israel's redemption, non-Jews will come to convert to Judaism (Avodah Zarah 3b), but we won't accept non-Jews in the days of the messiah, because it's not a true and honest conversion, they will only come because of Israel's success. However, those non-Jews, even though they are not accepted, are starting to fulfill mitzvot as if they were Jews; they put on tefillin, put Tzitzit in their clothes, and affix a Mezuzah in their doorposts.

But eventually, the success of Israel will increase the nations resistance to the Jewish people, to the point that all of the nations will resist and interrupt the actions of the Jewish people, and that will be the war of Gog and Magog. And in this hard time, that these converted non-Jews will see that the whole world is coming to fight Israel, they will instantly leave the Israeli nation and the mitzvot. Then god will sit down and laugh, because they don't know what is about to happen, they don't know that Gog and all of his soldiers are going to be fully defeated, and by that finally it will be clear, that the lord of Israel is the true god, and there is no other god but him.

The sages foresaw this situation. Out of their profound psychological perception, and out of their knowledge of the origin of these relations between Israel and the nations, they could have known that in the days to come the nations will aid us at first, but as we grow stronger, they will turn against us, and stand in our way. All of that is caused by this tricky situation of longing to the lord of Israel on one hand, and having difficulties accepting him on the other. Indeed 'He who is enthroned in heaven laughs' (Psalms 2:4), because the hour of the godly appearance, and the great clarification that god, the lord of Israel, is the true god, is getting closer.


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