Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Did Israel Feel Despair In The Desert?

I've wanted to write a review of Rabbi Yoel Ben Nun's book "The Miracle of the Gathering of Israel", but unfortunately despite having finished it months ago, I seem to not have found the time. This is a great shame, since the book is a Dati-Leumi masterpiece, and has not gotten the level of attention it deserves.

I do however want to share one central idea from the book. The book is divided into several series of lectures/lessons trying to clarify the meaning of the creation of the state of Israel through the prism of the redemption. Harav Ben Nun is arguing with the religious Zionists who have turned their back on the state, or who feel that it has somehow not fulfilled their messianic hopes. His main argument is that no one promised/dreamed of a fast "Geulah" - and that we should be prepared to wait many generations before the full Geulah occurs. He illustrates his point by asking this most poignant question:

How did the tribes of Israel feel while they waited for forty years in the desert to die? How did their children feel, when for generations after entering the land of Israel they did not succeed in conquering it?
The Talmud teaches that the redemption from Egypt is the prototype of the future redemption. However how did our ancestors see their redemption once they learned that they were destined to all die in the desert? did they not feel that the "redemption" had failed? did they not have second doubts? People living today in Israel, who feel that Israel is not the miracle they prayed for, would do well to meditate on this question.

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