Beit Midrash

  • Family and Society
  • Understanding Circumstances
To dedicate this lesson

Yes, We're to Blame!

The Intifada. History. A Determined Stance. On Seder Night.


Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed

Erev Pesach 5753
1. The Intifada
2. History
3. A Determined Stance
4. On Seder Night

There are those who say that terrorism has increased in the Land of Israel because of the "settlers" of Yesha - who, it is claimed, ignited the "Intifada" by so-to-speak provoking the Arabs, by our very decision to settle in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

And I say: True! The settlers are guilty! There is no question that we had a part to play in all of this. If we had not decided to live in the expanses of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, it is very possible that the "Intifada" would not have broken out on such a great scale.

What prompted the terrorism that preceded the Six Day War? No doubt, it was the trials and tribulations of the Arabs who fled their homes in the wake of the1948 War of Independence. The establishment of the State caused the refugee problem and gave birth to terrorism! And before that, what caused the riots and attacks against Jews before the establishment of the state - at the outset of Jewish settlement in Eretz Yisrael? Yes, It was the Zionist Jewish settlement enterprise!

What brought about the European Holocaust? The threat of a Jewish takeover of the world political and economic system! And, centuries earlier, who caused the Spanish Inquisition? Jews, and their insistence on cleaving to their system of faith and belief in the face of Christianity!

There is no question about it: the existence of the nation of Israel throughout the generations has had an unsettling effect on the world, and has engendered much opposition. The unique path tread by the People of Israel is actually an irritant for many. From its very inception, the nation of Israel challenged idol-worshippers, standing in their way, preventing them from continuing on their immoral path. Israel, with its ethically-based Torah, with its commandments between man and his fellow man, threatened then, and today, the morally-corrupt approach of others. The Jewish People's high expectations of itself, its high moral standards, brought pressure to bear on others who chose to act unethically. Jealousy - even a deep hatred of the Jews - was often the response.

Despite all this, the nation of Israel refuses to give up on its mission; it continues to shine the light of its belief in the One God on the rest of the world. Our belief continues to set an example for others, both near and far. The anti-Semitic blood libels, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, riots and terrorism have not, and will not, silence the Jews.

There is also no doubt that the more the State of Israel expands and develops, strengthens and establishes itself, the more opposition to it will increase. But the Jewish state will continue onwards despite this pressure. We have a Divinely-mandated, crucial, universal task. The Jewish state has a historical role to play. The redemption of the nation of Israel is intertwined with the redemption of the world.

The belief I have described was solidified during the exodus from Egypt, on the Seder night. It was then that we truly became a nation. On the night of our departure from Egypt, we were born as God's nation, and from that day onwards, we have continued in this capacity. On this night, we say, "Not just one nation has arisen to annihilate us; in every generation the nations have tried to do so, and God has saved us from their hands..." On Seder night, fathers will teach their children of the Exodus - of the wondrous miracles that happened back then - and of the great history of our people. It is from the seder night that we will draw our strength to continue on our path, to progress, to build and to be built, to radiate God's light to the rest of the world.

"How happy are we; how goodly is our portion; how pleasant is our destiny; how beautiful is our inheritance."

Next year in the rebuilt city of Jerusalem!
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