From Sadness to Joy – The State of Israel

  • Orthodox Jews are mourning over the past and refuse to rejoice in the State of Israel.
  • Religions have failed to achieve their goals.
  • Progressive spirituality accepts the faults of man without calling him a sinner.

The 10th day of the month of Tevet which falls out this year on January 7, is a sad day in Jewish history and a Jewish fast day.  It commemorates the day that Nebuchadnezzer the Baylonian King began the siege of Jerusalem and the holy temple built by King Solomon. Through the conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple the Jewish people were exiled from their land almost completely. However they continued their religion in other places in the world. Seventy years later they returned to their land and built the second holy temple in Jerusalem which lasted over four hundred years. At one point in Jewish history Israel had sovereignty over the land of Israel. Even in the time of the second temple they did not have sovereignty and were a satellite nation.

The motto of President Trump was like the song by the Beatles make a sad song and make it happy. Love Israel and love America.

The Jewish people dream and pray to return to their land to become again a sovereign nation. They pray for the Messiah to come to be again their king. Today the nation of Israel is a democracy which to the Orthodox religious world is not the answer to their prayers. Jerusalem the capital of Israel and the place of the holy temple is also a center of worship for Muslims and Christians. This creates a great obstacle toward the fulfillment of the Jewish religious ideal. Orthodox Jews especially the Ultra-Orthodox are faced with this dilemma. The State of Israel is a conflict in their lives.

President Trump helps Israel and is attacked by Democrat Jewish liberals on one side and the Ultra-Orthodox on the other side who don’t want democracy but to return to their God given Biblical theocracy. Today is a day of mourning for them. They have the conflict between the rewards given to them in the afterlife for continuing the Jewish faith mourning over the past, and living in the present to appreciate the help from President Trump a progressive Christian.

Orthodox Judaism follows the laws and commandments given to them by Moses the prophet for establishment of their nation. In the law is written that Judaism is to be the only religion of the nation in its land. Reformed Judaism and other religions are in the same category with the same punishments for transgressors. Therefore in Jewish law is the clause that Judaism is the only true faith and religion. Netanyahu the Prime Minister of Israel representing a Jewish Democratic State is faced with living with parts of his nation which are against democracy and freedom of religion in Israel.

President Vladimir Putin gave a discouraging message for Russians and the world for the new year. He may be ready to resign this year after twenty years of service to his country.

The Muslim world is more complicated than the State of Israel which is a Jewish State and a democracy.  In the Muslim world there are three categories of Muslim nations. There are nations who have adopted Islam as the ideological foundation of their state and constitution like Iran and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and Iran are at war in Yemen over Islamic ideological conflicts.  There are majority-Muslim nations like Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Pakistan which are more progressive religious.  There are also secular Muslim nations like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, and Turkey.  Democracy conflicts more with those Muslim states which are Islamic ideological theocracies.

The fast of the 10th of Tevet is part of the desire of for Israel to be an ideological Jewish nation like in Biblical times with a King. Judaism was the only religion allowed in Israel according to biblical law before Christianity and Islam who also claim to believe in Monotheism belief in One God the creator of the universe. Judaism cannot accept these other religions according to Jewish law.  Accepting these other religions means to relinquish the exclusive right of the Jewish people their homeland. Therefore there are Orthodox Jewish leaders who are against Trump. They prefer that there should be a third World war called Gog and Magog also called by Christians Armageddon.  Orthodox Jewish, Christian and Islamic texts refer to a war at the end of times to punish sinners. Only through this war can be revealed the true faith either Islam, Christian or Jewish. The Ultra-Orthodox were once in power in the world. The nation of Zion fell through the Babylonians on the 10th of Tevet, the Jewish fast day and the 9th of Av.  The Islamic Ottoman Empire attempted to conquer the world and almost succeeded if not for their Christian opponents from the Byzantine Empire.  The Orthodox faiths failed to achieve their goals and wait for God to punish the world until the people will repent and accept their philosophy.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe gave hope that World War II will not be repeated.

Trump defends religion but he is not Orthodox.  President Trump wants to save the world from destruction. The Orthodox have given up hope on a peaceful solution but President Trump still has hope that through democracy the world can be united together in peace. China and North Korea are obstacles but he is trying to talk to them.  Russia has come over to democracy but still has its national pride like when it was communist. Putin in his New Year message talked about Russian unity while in last year’s speech he included in Russian unity concern over world unity and peace. Russia is in the middle of conflict with America in Syria and Venezuela. He mentioned in his speech several conflicts in the world without being specific.  The Vatican had a hard year in 2019 which caused Pope Francis to remove immunity of Catholic Priests for sex abuse claims but he continues to give hope said, “peace is a path of hope, a path through which one advances through dialogue reconciliation and repentance.”  Putin ruling a democratic state even though he has been in office 20 years still has no immunity, and he may resign. President Trump has only immunity for another year until the next elections in 2020.  Netanyahu has asked for immunity which President Reuven Riblin never expected. In democracy immunity is limited.

Many Ultra-Orthodox Jews in their conviction do not want the answer which President Trump proposes including a two state solution. Many don’t want the State of Israel a democracy. Only religious fanatics want Gog-and Magog.  The Lubavitcher Rebbe and the former Chief Rabbi of Israel Mordecai Eliyahu representing the Jewish people said there does not have to be another Gog and Magog, the third World War and the holocaust was enough. Trump also does not want it. He is afraid to allow Iran nuclear weapons because in their ideology they may use it as a weapon of Islam. China and North Korea have nuclear weapons but today Communism is not at war with democracy.  Iran is at war with democracy. They are spreading out their power to Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. Israel is a democracy. On one major issue Trump agrees with Pope Francis, the need for world peace.

The world has religion Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. The world needs the vessel to unite religion with peace which is through Baha’i faith and Progressive Jewish Spirituality to change over sadness to joy – a great miracle.

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David Wexelman

Rabbi David Wexelman is the  author of five books on the topics of World Unity and Peace, and Progressive Jewish Spirituality. Rabbi Wexelman is a member of the American Friends of Maccabee, a charitable organization helping the poor in the United States and in Israel.  Donations are tax deductible in the USA.

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