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Yom Ha'Atzmaut

04/15/2021 03:19:55 PM


Rabbi Hearshen

עוד לא אבדה תקותנו, we have not lost our hope. The Israeli national anthem is by far one of the most meaningful and beautiful national anthems in the world. It tells the Jewish national story in eight short lines. To sum it all up, we are the people of תקוה… hope. When we look over the course of Jewish history… the Jewish story… we find that the singular thing that kept us together and committed was the singular focus that we sought to return to our homeland. It is embedded in our liturgy and in our rituals. We end our seders with “next year in Jerusalem.” We face Israel when praying and some of our houses have elaborate signs or paintings on the eastern walls to designate it as the direction of Israel. 

When we were struggling at the hands of tyrants in Spain or Eastern Europe, the dream and hope of a return to our homeland provided us with the energy and strength to keep going. That hope became entrenched in the Jewish psyche and was expanded well beyond the yearning for Zion. We as a people have claimed the role of the eternal optimists of the world and as people who truly believe in tomorrow. Hopefulness is essential and it is transformative. As Jews in the Diaspora, we are inspired by Israel and her pursuits and accomplishments. At the same time, we are also in awe of the fulfillment of our hopes in her existence.

Hope is something that we all need to be willing to put more effort into on a daily basis. This past year has been difficult for all of us. It has been awful to be isolated and to live in fear. This past year we woke up each morning in a world that looked no different than the previous day and went to bed knowing that the next day would be the same as well. There was one thing that provided us with a path towards feeling restored and being able to cope and that path was called hope.

We hoped every day that things would improve. We hoped for a cure and for solutions. The act of hoping allowed us to endure the pain knowing there would be an end and a time when things would improve. This value can be applied to our lives outside of Israel and our lives outside of COVID. Hope is a transformative way of existing and living on a daily basis. Hope is something that we cannot lose sight of and cannot give up on. Hope is the last thing to die and we have never lost our tight grip on it.

Happy 73rd Birthday Israel!

Wed, May 12 2021 1 Sivan 5781