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Blessed is He Who Keeps His Promise – April 15, 2012

Today is the day after Passover and everything goes back to normal.  Last night we were up late washing and drying dishes, putting away the Passover dishes and taking out the regular dishes, stripping the beds from the company that stayed with us for the holiday, and starting on the mounds of laundry that always waits for us when a holiday is over.  It was a great week with lots of time for family gatherings and large meals, synagogue services and seeing friends, and hikes in the beautiful hills and valleys of Samaria.  And I had time to relax which is always a good thing.

This morning, as I glanced at the morning paper, I knew that life was back to normal.  The headlines in both the newspapers and on television summarized the talks in Istanbul between representatives of the Western Powers and Iran.  The bottom line was that nothing had happened other than an agreement to meet and talk again.  Boaz Bismuth, a well-known Israeli television and newspaper commentator, was there and shared some interesting observations.  He noted that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan shares a common dream with President Obama – a world without conflict. While Turkey’s vision is a result of a declared purpose to revive the glory of the Ottomans, Obama, according to Bismuth, is involved in an ongoing game of make-believe.   “According to their plans, we should be picking roses in 2012.  Instead, we have been left with the thorns.”

Bismuth is not alone in Israel in the perception that this attempt to continue negotiations with Iran is actually giving Iran the opportunity to buy time, to continue its nuclear program under the very noses of the western world, with Ahmadinejad smiling at the world’s leaders as he joins them for coffee and negotiations.  While no one in Israel is eager to go to war with Iran, it is becoming clearer and clearer that if we want to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, we have no choice but to use force to stop them.  The question is whether the US and Europe will reach this same conclusion before it is too late.   At the end of the day, though, while a nuclear Iran threatens the entire free world, as well as some of its Muslim neighbors such as Saudi Arabia, Iran’s verbal attacks focus on Israel.  It is safe to assume, therefore, that Israel would be its primary target in the event of a nuclear attack.  It is Israel, therefore, who is at greatest risk from a nuclear Iran.

I was born years after World War II was over and after the State of Israel was established.  But as a student of history, I remember well the effect of Chamberlains’ attempt to appease Hitler and his incredibly foolish statement after the Munich conference that he had achieved peace in our time.  Within months, Chamberlain’s victorious smile was replaced with the reality of world war against the most dangerous man of the 20th century.  Today, there is a new man on the scene with the same diabolical goals as Hitler – to destroy the Jewish people and to become a world power.  Will the world’s leaders continue to act as Chamberlain did or will they wake up in time to prevent World War III?

One new factor that was not present in the 1938 equation is the existence of the State of Israel.  Although we are not a world power and are actually one of the smallest countries on the globe, we do have a powerful army and the ability to fight to protect our people.  The officers in today’s IDF are the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors who perceive their grandchildren’s accomplishments as their ultimate victory against Hitler.  Who would have dreamed 70 years ago, that the Jewish people would once again be free and independent in the Land of Israel?

This week, we will commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day and next week is Israel’s Independence Day, preceded by another Memorial Day for the fallen soldiers and terrorist victims who lost their lives because they were Jews living and defending their people in their land.  Coming upon the heels of Passover, the original holiday of Israel’s independence and freedom, it is a significant time on the Jewish calendar.  But the messages of each event create a story that we dare not forget.

At the seder, which we celebrated just over one week ago, we all read a critical paragraph in the Haggadah, the Seder text:   Blessed is He who keeps His promise to Israel, blessed be He! For the Holy One, blessed be He, calculated the end of the bondage as He had said to our father Abraham at the Covenant between the Portions,  . .   “You shall know that your seed will be strangers in a land that is not theirs and they will enslave them and make them suffer for 400 years.  But I shall also judge the nation whom they shall serve and after that they will come out with great wealth.” This is what has stood by our fathers and us!  For not just one alone has risen against us to destroy us, but in every generation they rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One blessed be He, saves us from their hand.

For generations, our ancestors remembered the bondage in Egypt and the great exodus and salvation of our people from the Egyptian oppressor.  And as our ancestors faced the oppressor of their generation, they remembered G-d’s promise to Abraham and relied on it, knowing that G-d would indeed save us from the oppressor of each generation.  And indeed, there have been oppressors in each generation.  In our generation it is Ahmadinejad and his friends and allies, Hamas, Hizbollah and so much of the Arab world.  And as we have just concluded the celebration of Passover, we begin our preparations for Holocaust Remembrance Day and then Israel Independence Day, remembering the oppressor Hitler of the last generation and G-d’s salvation of the nation with the creation of the State of Israel.

We pray that G-d will save us from the evil of Ahmadinejad.  We cannot know if Iran and their allies will succeed in slaughtering Jews and wreaking havoc upon our nation.  But we know that he will not succeed in wiping Israel off the map.  This is what has stood by our fathers and us!  For not just one alone has risen against us to destroy us, but in every generation they rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One blessed be He, saves us from their hand.

Click this link to listen to a moving song of the above passage in Hebrew, accompanied by pictures that tell the entire story – the threats from our enemies and the faith that carries us through.  The clip includes references to the following Scriptures: Isaiah 3:11, Psalm 37:15, Psalm 94:14.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p0ys4uKX28&feature=related

We apologize that this clip is in Hebrew with no sub-titles. However, if you click on it, we are certain that you’ll see it as significant and a blessing, even if you don’t understand the words to the song. Thank you.Shalom from Samaria, Sondra Baras Director of Israel Office Christian Friends of Israeli Communities

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CFOIC Heartland, P O Box 50833, Colorado Springs, CO 80949-0833 for U.S. and Canada

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