Scripture records two major Jewish redemptions – Passover and Purim.
The earlier redemption, in the first Jewish month, Nisan, was replete with such obvious miracles that after several plagues, most Egyptians pleaded with Pharaoh to let the Jews leave. And even the diehards amongst them acknowledged in their final moments in the churning waters of the Red Sea, “G-d fights for them (Israel) against Egypt.”
The later redemption, in the last Jewish month, Adar, was replete with hidden miracles – on the surface there seemed nothing unusual, and yet the Hand of G-d can be clearly seen in the seemingly coincidental, but otherwise improbable, flow of events.
The redemption of Purim, with its hidden miracles, is to serve as the model for the Final redemption of the Jewish people. This redemption will see the Jewish people ingathered to the Land of Israel, cleaving to G-d and his Torah, and dwelling in peace and security. Yet, despite the hidden nature of the miracles of this redemption, the redemption will be so obvious that the entire world will recognize the Hand of G-d at work, much as the Egyptians did in the Red Sea. And though the Final redemption is far from complete, it is nevertheless, well under way.
Since Israel’s creation, the Arabs have been waging an unrelenting campaign to destroy Israel through a three-pronged strategy of war, demographics, and world antipathy. This planned destruction of Israel has been labeled, rather blandly, “the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
For the most part, the founders and leaders of the modern state of Israel have not been believers in G-d’s promised redemption. Instead, they have continually attempted to engineer and fashion a kind of secular redemption for Israel. With its secular outlook, this leadership has tried to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict by generating plan after plan to rid Israel of what the secular Jews consider the “accursed occupied territories.”
The logic is simple. Israel has two choices. It can hold on to the occupied territories and become an undemocratic, apartheid state that perpetually oppresses the Arabs soon to be Arab majority. Or it can give up its heartland to create a Palestinian state, and pull back to what Abba Eban called the Auschwitz borders where Israel will then, in theory anyway, dwell in “security” as a democratic state with a Jewish majority.
And so, Israel has suffered through plan after plan: Oslo, Sharm-el-Sheikh, Mitchell, Tenet, the roadmap. “Roadmap,” “demographics,” and “unilateral withdrawal” are today’s buzzwords. This approach by the already defeated secular Jews is completely logical, though their unflinching refusal to let reality intrude defies understanding.
What is surprising is that the religious right wing has jumped on the plan bandwagon:
A religious Knesset member/government minister has a plan – the Arabs in Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) will become citizens of Jordan. The council that represents the settlements and settlers has a plan – create cantons so that the Arabs in Yesha cannot constitute a voting threat.
The leader of a grassroots Jewish leadership movement has a plan – deny the Arabs of Yesha the right to vote in national elections, and push for for voluntary transfer. A major religious, rightwing, women’s organization has a plan – voluntary transfer.
What is unfortunate is that these plans are basically antithetical to religious belief. Religious Jews believe in the inevitability of the redemption, and that G-d guides history and will bring about the redemption in His own way. Thus, the plans of the religious are problematic for several reasons:
If the plan happens to exactly match G-d’s plan, it is redundant; and if it does not match G-d’s plan, it must fail. Either way, who needs it?
It is inherently arrogant for religious Jews to put forth a plan, as if to suggest that G-d needs the plans of man to achieve the redemption.
Finally, and perhaps most important, G-d’s redemption will inevitably involve miracles that we cannot plan for, miracles that will ultimately awaken the Jewish people and the world in general to G-d’s role in the world. Furthermore, the redemption may well involve processes that man may not devise or implement on his own, as we can learn from Passover and Purim.
If we look at the redemptions of Passover and Purim, we see clearly that Moses, and Mordechai and Esther, had no plans other than to get the Jewish people to rely on G-d for deliverance.
When Moses tells the Jews in Egypt that he was sent to redeem them, they all believe in Moses, the Redeemer – until Pharaoh throws out Moses and increases the servitude. The people then complain against Moses who, in turn, questions how G-d could have done this. G-d responds by saying that now He will show the people what He will do. Had Moses initially succeeded, the people would have turned to Moses, not to G-d. But it had to be absolutely clear that G-d, not Moses, was redeeming the people.
Furthermore, could one imagine Moses, the most humble man on earth (or his brother Aaron, the peacemaker), planning to redeem the Jews by bringing down plagues upon the Egyptians that caused them bodily suffering, destroyed their crops and animals, and ultimately killed their firstborn? The plan was entirely G-d’s. Moses merely followed the instructions of G-d on any given day.
The Purim redemption is even more telling. The Book of Esther relates that Haman sent out a document in the king’s name authorizing the destruction of the Jews on a certain date. Mordechai sends Esther to plead before the king on behalf of the Jews, and they have the Jews pray, fast, and do repentance. Esther invites the king and Haman to two feasts, and at the second feast, she accuses Haman of plotting to destroy her. Whereon, Haman is marked for death.
What then happens is most interesting. Esther requests that the King rescind the decree of destruction against the Jews. The king’s reply is that once the decree has gone out, it cannot be rescinded. Instead, he authorizes the Jews to kill their enemies before their enemies can kill them. And they do. The Book of Esther records that (in self-defense), the Jews killed 75, 000 of their enemies.
This redemption is instructive for several reasons:
Can one imagine Mordechai telling the Jews that he had a plan to save the Jews – they would kill 75,000 of their enemies? He would have been taken for a lunatic.
The only person to make plans was the “secular” Haman. But because Haman did not know that G-d controls events, he did not know that his every plan would have the opposite of the intended effect, and that his plans would all further the redemption:
– Haman thought he was building a gallows for Mordechai, but he unwittingly built it for himself and his ten sons.
– Haman thought he himself would receive the honor of riding on the king’s horse, and unwittingly ended up suggesting the honor for Mordechai.
– Haman basked in his own glory at Esther’s feast, unaware that his death warrant was to be issued at the feast.
Consider – who was responsible for the deaths of the 75,000 enemies of the Jews? The answer is startling. Esther had no plan destroy her enemies. As noted, she merely wanted the king to rescind the decree of destruction against the Jews. Had there been no decree of destruction, she would not have requested anything from the king. But G-d had a different plan, implemented through Haman. Through his blind hatred of the Jews, Haman issued the decree that necessitated the destruction of his own people.
Today Israel faces an enemy no less intractable than Haman and his people. Yet, the plans of the religious all reflect one bad idea – let the Arabs remain in Yesha (unless they voluntarily leave, an unlikely event), and try to minimize the damage they do.
This may make sense if one does not believe in G-d, and accepts the Left’s idea that Israel has only two choices. But religious Jews should recognize a third alternative – a complete redemption with the Jews living in peace and security in the entire Land of Israel and their enemies completely removed from the land.
How, then, to get there? Here, if we look, we can clearly see G-d’s hand at work. Under a secular vision of an illusory peace, the Left brought in Arafat to create two side-by-side states for two peoples. Instead, Arafat turned his people into psychopathic murderers with whom peaceful living is not an option, and then launched a war against Israel. And he is now escalating that war toward an inevitable all or nothing showdown with Israel.
To plan a population transfer, as in “I don’t want those ‘others’ here; let’s throw them out,” is ugly in the extreme. It is no wonder, then, that Kofi Anan, Europe, the Arabs, and the secular Jewish Left are so happy to implement such plan – provided that the people being removed are Jews.
But for moral people, especially religious Jews, such plans are anathema. You do not remove people because they are different. However, in an all out war where they seek your total annihilation, you are obliged to kill them or otherwise remove them.
And for precisely this reason, religious Jews should not make peace plans. Because only G-d can bring about a Haman or an Arafat who will make the destruction of their own people a necessary act of self-defense.
Instead of making plans, Jews should without apology proclaim and militarily defend their G-d-given right to every inch of the Land of Israel, and politically work toward that end. At the same time, they must increase their merit by turning their hearts, and the hearts of their fellow Jews, to G-d, praying for deliverance, performing acts of loving kindness, and studying Torah. Then, they should leave the rest of the details to G-d.
The Book of Esther states that after the Jews killed 75,000 of their enemy in self-defense, Esther sent out a second letter containing words of peace and truth. Peace and truth. Not words of an illusory peace, like Oslo. Likewise, the conclusion of Arafat’s showdown with Israel will see Israel dwelling securely in all its land, its enemies gone, and a real peace, built on truth, because G-d makes the plans and controls the events.