If I had to use one word to describe Israel today, it would be “vitality!”
Despite so many setbacks, so much tragedy, such objectively poor odds of survival – we endure. But we don’t just endure: we continue to hope, to build, to invest our hearts and souls and minds and bodies and prayers. Even if one is not religious, one cannot visit Israel without being struck by the miracle that is Israel. Whether from the sounds radiating from its yeshivos, or happy noise from its nursery schools; from the emerald green fields and orchards; the construction of its villages and cities; the innovations in science and technology – – we cannot deny the special blessings that G-d has given uniquely to us.
I don’t know of another people or culture that could take the constant pounding, threats, tragedies, cruelties, and near-annihilation and survive. But it goes beyond surviving. We emerge ever hopeful; joyous; believing; courageous.
There are no words for what happened to the Fogel family, and so many others like them, throughout the history of the Jewish people, Hy’d.
We simply cannot see the Bigger Picture and understandably, it frustrates us.
When we take all that Japan is going through: earthquakes, tsunamis, radiation leaks, hunger, thirst, disease, suffering and misery – we cannot ignore it, either. One day Japan was a thriving country in every way – and today, within a mere 24 hour period, their very survival is at risk. There is no way we can blame what has happened in Japan on man. Clearly this is HaShem’s hand. What can we learn?
For one thing, insignificant earthlings that we are: we cannot begin to know what incidents are “causes” and others “effects,” or even “reward” or “punishment.” For those answers, I’m afraid, we’ll have to wait for our day of judgment in the World to Come.
But what we can learn is that in the blink of an eye, total, catastrophic destruction can come. What seemed so solid, so true, so real – – it can be lost in minutes.
But in the same blink of an eye – G-d willing – redemption will come. Just when we are reduced to nothingness – redemption will come.
We cannot give up.