As we celebrate 73 years of independence here in Israel, below are some essays which I hope will make the holiday more meaningful.
Yom Ha’atzmaut commemorates the anniversary of a marriage that has lasted more than 3,500 years. This may sound like a paradox, but it is the inescapable truth about the Land of Israel and the Jews. No marriage has lasted so long, been so deep in its commitment and so overwhelming in its love as the one between the Jews and their homeland.
Israel’s inability to conform to any framework is a living avowal of our uniqueness. Israel’s very existence is the manifestation of divine intervention in history to which it must attest. In Israel, history and revelation are one. Only there do they coincide. While other nations exist as nations, the people of Israel exist as a reminder of God’s involvement in world history. Only through Israel is humanity touched by the divine.
When contemplating the re-establishment of the State of Israel after nearly 2000 years of exile, no Jew should believe that the land is guaranteed to remain theirs forever. It could easily be taken away, as it has been in the past. If its inhabitants do not behave properly. If they hide behind the claim that they are observant or moral, while in fact they are fighting each other and disobeying the ethical dictates of God, the Book of Amos makes it clear that the State of Israel will not endure. Nor can we hide behind the abundance of Torah learning today to save us.