Re-Experiencing the Challanges

The Ba’al Shem Tov  the founder of modern day Hassidism said “Forgetting is the beginning of Exile; Remembering is the beginning of Redemption.”

Yom Kippur WarPresident Shimon Peres said in an interview with David Hume (2000) the following chilling words, “You know, they say the Jewish people have a long memory. What we need is a rich imagination today, because the things that are going to happen-or did happen already-are so revolutionary that the past becomes pale-irrelevant.” We are living in a world that glorifies the present and denies its responsibilities of the past. As a result we continue to get mired in the same erroneous conceptions and mistakes that have plagued us for generations. This is because destiny and time do not run in linear fashion but rather as a cyclical spiral ascending to its climax. Yet as the spiral ascends the same challenges reoccur and the same points of decision reappear. It is at those junctures that responsible and destiny driven decisions must be made or else the same mistakes will reoccur.

Thirty seven years ago on October 6, 1973, that coincided with the holy day Yom Kippur at 8:05 A.M Prime Minister Golda Meir convened an emergency meeting in Tel Aviv with senior defense officials. Six hours before the outbreak of the war, Israeli preparations for a general offensive by Arab armies finally began. Until then the chief of military intelligence, Eli Zeira, was still expressing the belief that Egyptian president Anwar Sadat would not start another war with Israel. He repeated those assessments on this fateful morning as well. IDF chief of staff David Elazar suggested a full reserve call up. His requests were denied mainly due to Moshe Dayan’s serious concerns about the views and opinions of the American government. U.S. intelligence was not predicting war. Moshe Dayan said “If you approve a major mobilization of the reserves, I won’t resign “but he added, “A full mobilization before even one shot is fired – they  ( the Americans) will say right away that we are the aggressors.”  Dayan’s concern upended IDF chief of staff David Elazar suggestion of a full reserve call up

As a result of that fear 2,656 Israeli soldiers were killed and 7,250  were wounded.

Today we are hearing  some of the same fears.

Leading opposition party Kadima called once again on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday to make the “proper” decisions that will facilitate the continuing of peace talks with the Palestinians. The comments came in an official announcement released in the wake of Netanyahu’s assertion that construction in settlements would continue despite Palestinian threats to leave the negotiations if building continues. Do these ” proper” decisions include acquiescing to The Obama Administration demand that Israel hand over more West Bank land to exclusive PA control, including the Abu-Dis area adjacent to Jerusalem.(according to  Palestinian sources). According to NBC’s website news page ” During a plea for American Jews to join Israelis in a dialogue about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, leader of Israel’s opposition party Tzipi Livni sided with President Obama on extending the freeze on settlement building in the West Bank.”

It is our hope that we do not make the same mistake of accepting American dictates and pronouncements because they are not coming out of an understanding of Israel’s needs and concerns. They are rather coming out of the very parochial interest of a faltering American administration facing a critical election in the next months.

Yet we are entering the winter cycle of our spiritual national existence. It is a difficult and dangerous time so we need to be even more vigilant We have entered into the Hebrew month of Heshvan, a month commonly known as Mar-Heshvan, “bitter Heshvan”, due to the lack of festivals and holidays within its time framework. Had we not been filled with the passions and joys of the previous month of Tishrei, we would not have been able to navigate the cold and lonely month of Heshvan. The previous month of Tishrei has nourished and impassioned us with the power to light and illuminate the dark months of the coming winter.

Those upcoming dark months will be filled with many tests and struggles. It is our hope that the Majesty of Rosh Hashanah, the Purity of Yom Kippur and the unending Joy of Sukkoth will strengthen us for the challenges ahead.

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