Monday, December 17, 2007

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Israel's Hope or Lack Thereof

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

Jonathan Rosenblum writes ... An ancient Midrash recounts a conversation between Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael asserts his superiority over Isaac on the grounds that his circumcision took place at 13, when he was fully conscious of the ordeal, while Isaac was only eight days old at his circumcision. Isaac replies that if God were to request him to give up his life he would gladly do so.

That conversation, according to the Midrash, constituted the immediate prelude for the Binding of Isaac. Ishmael and Isaac were disputing which one of them is the true inheritor of the Divine promise of the Land to their father Abraham. And both understood that the answer to that question turns on the measure of mesirut nefesh - self-sacrifice - each demonstrates for the right to inherit the Land.

Ishmael's descendants remain faithful to that understanding. It is we Jews who give every indication of having lost our will, in large part because we have lost our belief in the Divine promise to Abraham...

Mr. Rosenblum starts out beautifully, but ends with a discussion of national will. Yet by doing so he completely moves away from his initial point. For the Jewish people, it's either Torah and emunah in Hashem, or it's not. There is no in-between that is sustainable.

After 3 generations without Torah, the leaders of Israel truly have nothing but lip service left. And without Hashem, the sheep will not survive among the many wolves.

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