Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Waiting for Moses ... as promised

Waiting for Moses . . .
(A Passover Commentary)

On Pesach [Passover] eve, Israelis are getting ready for family celebrations to mark the exodus from Egypt. The Pesach seder commemorates this great event in the history of the Jewish people and is also an occasion to hold a family reunion, gathering children, parents, and grandparents to celebrate our liberation from slavery as a people and the awakening of our national awareness.

The Hebrews from the [time of the] pharaohs were not yet Jews. They became Jews during a 40-year journey of difficult trials in the desert and evolved from an oppressed people into a nation which merited to receive the Tables of the Law and the Torah [Gen.– Deut.].

I would like to comment on this passage. The Hebrews became Jews upon receiving the divine text which became the fundamental basis of Western civilization. .210 years of Hebraic presence in Egypt did not destroy the seed of freedom nor our will to return to the country of our ancestors.

But the arrival of a leader, educated in the Egyptian kingdom and traditions, was fundamental in order to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt and into the land of Canaan. Without a leader like Moses, the Hebrews could have been lost, even extinguished in Egypt.

Moreover let us not forget that only one-fifth of the Hebrews left Egypt under Moses’s command. The others, frightened by uncertainty and anxiety toward the unknown were too attached to Egypt, which symbolized everything they had grown accustomed to. This prevented them from joining the rest of the people and the great history of Israel. They walked out of their own destiny.

The Exodus was thus a genuine revolution, both nationally as well as personally, where the Hebrews did not only have to pray but also to act for their freedom. When we celebrate Pesach in a few days time [April 2], I think it would be wise to do a little soul- searching and decide whether we are ready to leap forward and lead a revolution.

Today, there is no power which oppresses the people of Israel, but there is a kind of invisible gravity which holds us oppressed, as in a kind of limited freedom. There are real, existential threats which weigh upon us and are a cause for concern. We can worry about Iran, Syria, and fundamentalism.

Moreover, there’s no other place to go, there’s no other place to dream about. The dream to seek a better future has been replaced by a kind of psychological and internal movement. This Pesach, as always, Israelis will read the ancestral prayer: “Next year in Jerusalem.” Perhaps it’s time to add another prayer, such as, “may a kingship sprout in Israel.”

Just like a seed that disintegrates before germinating, let’s pray so that from this state of “decomposition” so to speak, true leadership will emerge. Let’s pray for a leader who can guide us both spiritually as well as politically. Somebody who can lead us in the desert if need be with the certainty that a solid structure awaits at the end of the road. One that will enable us to blossom and carry out the mission of the Jewish people.

Israelis are now, more than ever, bitter and anguished. When one speaks about negotiations, there is not true euphoria, but rather a lack of confidence, because our leaders cannot make the mark. Since Sharon’s disease and the Second Lebanon War, Israelis are seeking leadership.

Paradoxically, the Israeli democracy needs a king to draw it out of its stupor and liberate it. But liberate it from what? From a heavy atmosphere, from a press which is busy revealing scandals about men who are supposed to lead our country, to free us from the anguish of not knowing where we are going.

As we mentioned in earlier lines, at the time of the exodus, the people [who] did not know where they were going went, but they relied on Moses, their leader. Pesach this year could perhaps be experienced not only by recalling the exodus from Egypt, but also the anticipation of a great leadership. Next year in Jerusalem, who will be the next king?

(By Olivier Rafowicz, Infolive.tv, March 28, 2007)

Prayer Focus
Today, Israel needs a Moses who will lead her spiritually, politically, and militarily. Pray that in His goodness and mercy, God will raise up such a leader or shepherd for His covenant nation and people.

“He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” (Psalm 103:7–8)

[Source: Bridges for Peace]