Thursday, May 25, 2006

Jerusalem Unification Day

See R. Mordechai Willig's recollection of Shavuos 1967 in Jerusalem (hat tip).

From Rabbi Haim David Halevy: Gentle Scholar and Courageous Thinker, p. 218:

Throughout his writings, Rabbi Halevy expressed unwavering faith that the founding of the State of Israel, and the Six Day Way, were overt miracles. Anyone who denied the supernatural nature of these events was spiritually blind.[1] There were two options: to believe that this was the beginning of the messianic era, or to be wrong.[2] He never appears to have doubted this belief.[3]

[1] End Mekor Hayyim 4, pp. 367-368.
[2] Introduction to Mekor Hayyim 2, p. 9.
[3] See Mekor Hayyim 4:205, p. 191; 5:310, p. 508, where Rabbi Halevy used the formulation, "it is our hope and belief that this period is the beginning of the final redemption." From his other writings, it is evident that his profound hope led to a complete belief.
And from pp. 225-226:
Rabbi Halevy's earlier writings expressed unreserved enthusiasm about the redemption process. Yet, many of his followers were perplexed by the Yom Kippur War. This war had exposed Israel's vulnerability. No longer did the messianic age appear to be marching forward with increasing brightness.

Rabbi Halevy opened his Asei Lekha Rav series with several essays addressing this problem. He paralleled the contemporary situation with the redemption from Egypt. During the exodus, God created a moment of panic at the Red Sea, when the Israelites thought they were doomed. Only when the sea split did the Israelites retrospectively understand God's plan of redemption. Similarly, the Yom Kippur War initially seemed like a setback, but it resulted in Egypt sitting down to talk peace with Israel for the first time.[27]

[27] Asei Lekha Rav 1:6. Cf. Dat uMedinah, p. 27; introduction to Mekor Hayyim 2, pp. 7-10, where Rabbi Halevy made a similar point regarding the Six Day War. Although the period preceding the Six Day War initially was a terrifying time for Israel, it brought about the return of Jerusalem and Hebron, our holiest cities. Rabbi Halevy also highlighted the stunning turnaround in the Yom Kippur War, which was enought to include that war as part of the redemption process, rather than an obstacle (Asei Lekha Rav 1:6; 1:7-12).

(And a mazel tov to the new baby on my block who thankfully was not named Yerushalaymah but Yoninah, presumably because of the midrash about Yonah's wife going to Jerusalem)

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