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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Yonah Bookstein

Will we live up to the test? Lessons from Passover for the Current Israel Crisis

By Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

An athlete trying to achieve greatness will suffer physically from the demands of the sport. A businessman that is working on a deal will go without sleep or food to pursue it. They have a goal, and they are not concerned by the temporary pain. In fact, whenever we have a goal, we are less bothered by the circumstances we must endure to get there. 


Anyone who has flown in the economy to Israel knows this all too well! I don't mind suffering for 14 hours in the flying Glatt mart, where elbows, babies, and schmoozing fill the air. I know I am going to Israel, and willing to endure anything on that flight. After all, it's Israel. Baruch Hashem.


And that land is under constant attack! Is that fair? Is it fair that the world is all against Israel? No of course not, but G-d never promised it would be easy.


The Talmud in Berachos states, "G-d gave the Jewish people three fine gifts, all of them by virtue of their suffering: Torah, the Land of Israel, and the World to Come."


The land of Israel was not handed to the Jewish people like they were getting a coffee at the drive-through. In the times of Joshua and in the times of Ben Gurion or Golda Meir, many Jews had to suffer for the gift to be manifested. 


So, too, today, the gift of Israel isn't going to be given to the Jewish people on a silver platter. The early Zionists faced malaria, famine, disease, and poverty. Later, immigrants had to evade the British blockades. Later, the Jewish people in Israel defended themselves against war after war just to survive. 


But it will not be like this forever.


The redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt that we relive on Pesach night is the prototype of all future redemptions for the Jewish people. The ultimate redemption, the great redemption in the Messianic era, will alleviate the suffering that we currently experience and will happen very quickly.


G-d tests every generation and every Jew. When G-d wishes to elevate a person to any level of greatness, G-d achieves first by testing them. G-d is testing us, and this generation in ways we thought were long over. 


Will we live up to the test? Will we stand together, united as Jews? Will we stand up for Jews who are being persecuted? Will we stand up for those who are in need?


We can achieve greatness in this generation by not forsaking our fellow Jews, by demanding the release of the hostages in Gaza, by supporting Jewish schools and organizations that are devoted to connecting Jews to Jewish life, and by elevating ourselves spiritually with Torah and Mitzvot. Remember that this is all part of the Divine plan. Am Yisrael Chai.


Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!

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