19 Days of the Omer
Yom Ha'atzmaut Commemorated
On the Founding of the Modern State of Israel - Too often we are called upon to point out deficiencies and to provide warnings of inherent dangers in the path we follow on our way to redemption in our Holy Land. Today is a day for setting those important tasks aside and to marvel at the miracles which have accompanied us thus far and to give thanks for all the good that we have been blessed with along with the daily challenges.
All of history has been moving forward in this direction and with this goal since the very beginning. Sometimes the process speeds up and sometimes it slows down, but it never reverses.
...Just as there is a measure of sin which, when full, causes wrath and calamity to befall the world, so too is there a measure of retribution which, when full, brings forth Divine grace and radiance to the world, whereby God bestows compassion even upon those of His children who have suffered the full measure of His fury. Even if we lack the merit of deeds to bring the redemption, the Jewish people in our time indeed possess the merit achieved through suffering.
And perhaps the very intensification of sin and moral decline are themselves sufficient cause for the redemption, for the very act of salvation is an impetus towards repentance and renewed allegiance to His covenant. This idea is found in the words of the Prophet (Yechezkel 16.62-62): And I will establish my covenant with you and you shall know that I am Hashem...so that you might recall and feel ashamed, never opening your mouth again because of your embarrassment after I forgive you for all that you have done. The Prophet (Ibid. 36.22-25) further tells us: Therefore say unto the House of Israel, thus says Hashem your God: Not for your sake do I do this, O House of Israel, but for the sake of My holy Name which you have profaned...and I will take you from among the nations...and I will bring you into your own land, and I will sprinkle you with the waters of purification and you shall be cleansed of all your impurities.
In Yeshayahu (44.22) we read: I have erased your transgressions as if they were vapor, and your sins as if they were a cloud. Return unto Me for I have redeemed you.
There are many allusions in our sources to the idea of redemption and forgiveness preceding repentance and purification. The precise nature of this, however, remains beyond our perception, for who among man can fathom the essence of the Divine plan?
...Let your mouth be filled with song and praise to God for what He has done, for what He does, and for what He shall yet do on behalf of His chosen Nation, the seed of Israel, from now and until the End of Days.
-The Book of Our Heritage, The Month of Iyar by Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov
According to the [Vilna] Gaon, all the work involved in gathering in the exiles, building Jerusalem and broadening the settlement of the land of Israel so that the Shechina will return to it, all the principles of the work and all the major and minor details are connected to the mission and role of the first mashiach, Mashiach ben Yosef. Mashiach ben Yosef is the miraculous power who will assist every act done when the awakening starts from below, in a natural manner, because he comes from the earth.
- Kol HaTor
THE AWAKENING FROM BELOW...