Will Our Boys Fight Again?

August 17, 2014

The world has not yet forgiven the Jews for the Holocaust. Yet Israel can survive – and this is the paradox of its reality – as long as it insists on its vocation of uniqueness.For the Love of Israel and the Jewish People

By Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Throughout the centuries, historians, philosophers and anthropologists have struggled with the concept called “Israel” more than with nearly any other idea.

While attempting to place Israel within the confines of conventional history, they experienced constant academic and philosophical frustration. Any definitions they suggested eventually broke down due to significant inconsistencies.

Was Israel a nation, a religion, or an altogether mysterious entity that would forever remain unexplainable? By some, it was seen less as a nation and more as a religion; others believed the reverse to be true. And then there were those who claimed that it did not fall into either of these categories.

In fact, it was clear to everyone that “Israel” did not fit into any specific framework or known scheme. It resisted all historical concepts and generalities.

Its uniqueness thwarted people’s natural desire for a definition, which can be alarming and terribly disturbing.

This fact became even more obvious once Titus the Roman forced the Jews out of their country, and specifically after the collapse of the Bar Kochba rebellion.

It was then that the Jew was hurled into the abyss of the nations of the world, and has since been confronted with a new condition: ongoing insecurity.

While mankind has always faced moments of insecurity, it is the Jews who have been denied even the smallest share of the dubious security that others possess. Whether Jews were aware of it or not, they always lived on ground that could, at any moment, give way beneath their feet.

In 1948, Israel once again became a country – but many forgot that it was not only a country. All the other dimensions, such as nationhood, religion, mystery, insecurity and lack of definition continued to exist. The people of Israel today do not find themselves exclusively in the Land of Israel, and instead of one Israel, the world now has two.

Yet the second, new Israel has until now been seen as responding to the demands of history, geography, politics and journalism. One knows where it is; at least, one thinks one does. But it becomes increasingly clear that this new and definable Israel has already become as much a puzzling and perplexing entity as the old Israel always was.

Throughout its short history, the State of Israel has experienced the most inexplicable events modern man has ever seen. After an exile of nearly 2,000 years, during which the old Israel was able to survive against all historical odds, it returned to its homeland. There it found itself surrounded by a massive Arab population that was and is incapable of making peace with the idea that this small and peculiar nation lives among them. After having suffered a Holocaust in which it lost six million of its members, it was not permitted to live a life of tranquility on its tiny piece of land. Once again, the Jew was denied the right to feel at home in his own country.
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Prayer for the Jewish Soldier

April 24, 2012

For the Love of Israel and the Jewish Peopleby Nathan Lopes Cardozo

 

Lord of the Universe:

We, the soldiers of the people of Israel

Come to You in humility

And pray for your help.

 

Once more we are asked to defend our

People and

The Holy Land against our enemies.

 

We ask You to have mercy on us and

Help us watch over our people

With clean hands

And with a heart filled with mercy.

 

Let our people have the strength to

Stay in good spirits

And live in unity and

Walk in Your ways,

The ways of justice and truth.

 

Let us not make mistakes

And hurt those who are not guilty,

Who do not understand

And have no part in this conflict.

 

Please,

Let our bullets not hurt those children of our enemies

Whose parents place them deliberately in dangerous spots,

Fire on us

And then shield themselves

Behind their own offspring against

Our forces so as to fault us when their children

Are wounded or even killed.

 

Remove the evil spirit of these parents

And make them realize the wickedness of their actions.

 

Stop their teachers from manipulating their students

With hate for us in their schoolbooks

On the radio, television and

The Internet.

 

O God,

You know what one of our prime ministers once said:

“We may forgive our enemies one day

For hurting and killing our children

But

We cannot forgive them for having made our children

Into those who needed to kill.”

We beg You, do not let our Jewish souls have to undergo

 

This ordeal that we cannot bear.

We are the children of Avraham, your servant, who

Prayed for the evil people of Sedom in the hope that

They would repent and live decent lives.

 

So, we beg you:

Make our enemies repent.

Make them understand that

We are good people

Who wish to live in peace with

All our neighbors.

 

O Lord,

Remove from their thoughts atrocities such as those

In which they dip their hands

In our blood.

As Jews, we

Cannot fathom

Doing this to even our worst enemies.

 

You commanded us to live in a country that

Is little more

Than a tiny island.

Our population is smaller than that of

Many single cities.

 

You asked us to live there so as to send

Your holy Word to all the corners of the world.

But

We are surrounded by many nations who

Contain more than a hundred million people.

They inhabit one of the largest regions of the world

But deny us the right to live in even the smallest corner of the world.

They do not want to listen

And only wish our death.

 

Give the Arab nations

Leaders

Who pursue justice and who really

Care for their people

And do not wish to bring their own brothers to despair

And unbearable pain

With the intention

Of accusing us

Of grave injustice.

 

Now,

After thousands of years of our dwelling

In this world and after many exiles, tortures, pogroms,

Expulsions and Holocausts

We finally found our way back to our

Small homeland

That You promised to our ancestors.

 

Yet once more our dreams of peace

Have gone up in smoke

While we try, at the risk of our own lives,

To find a way to

Allow our Palestinian neighbors to

Live their own lives.

 

While we were prepared to make sacrifices

For the welfare of these people

As no other people ever did

While we offered them land, peace, finances

And even firearms so as to defend themselves,

We once more pay the price for being a people

Who believe in the honesty of another nation and its leaders

And once more we feel misled.

 

Oh Lord, remove the evil intentions of the

Security Council, which distorts the truth.

Remove the deliberate lies

From the hearts of those who head the

Media.

Why do they want to portray us

As an evil people?

They do so

To deny Your existence and Your moral

Demands.

They hide behind their own wickedness

And cover up their own and their ancestors’

Immoral acts that they committed against us

And our ancestors for thousands

Of years.

 

O God, You know

That

No army in world history has used as much restraint

As ours.

No army is so careful not to hurt or kill

As ours.

But what shall we do when they are not even prepared

To give us the option

To prove this to the world?

 

Please, God,

Bring peace into the hearts and minds

Of our enemies.

Let them be uplifted with a spirit of righteousness.

Stop them from hating us because we are Your people.

Let us sanctify Your name as this is our

Mission and our dream.

Give us the possibility once more to teach

Your ways to the peoples

Of the world

And make them hear and

Understand.

 

We hate war as nobody else does.

We abhor the need to wear weapons.

We cannot stand the sound of our own artillery

And our tanks.

 

We are the people of the Book,

The Book that demands holiness,

Kindness

And integrity.

Our heroes are not the generals or the marshals

But our prophets and our sages,

Righteous people.

So deliver us from this anguish.

Bring peace to the nations.

Let us not be forced to use our strength against them

For they will have no escape.

But

Let the blessing that you gave to Avraham come true –

“Through you all the families of the earth will be blessed” –

For this is our hope.

 

–Chapter 34 from Cardozo’s For the Love of Israel and the Jewish People: Essays and Studies on Israel, Jews and Judaism.