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[Author Note: Each year for the past many years, I have re- issued this prayer. Unfortunately my prayers don\'t seem to be answered. I know they are the prayers of many of my readers also. What to do?
My New Years\'s Card showed my rage and anger at the situation we face. This prayer is more hopeful. It also demonstrates my mixed state of rage and hope. I think that all Lovers of Zion have similar feelings......Please read and MAKE IT HAPPEN THIS YEAR, 5768.....Bernard]
MY PRAYER FOR ROSH HASHONAH - 5768
By Bernard J. Shapiro
As I survey the fragile planet we call home, my mind makes note of the chaos, blood, and tears. The cries of a million lost souls shatter the night in a million corners of the earth. The sensitive, compassionate among them try to feed the hungry, heal the sick, clothe the naked. One by one their energies dissipate. They try to hold back the tide with a teaspoon and then see the impossibility of the task. The Jewish people are but a cosmic speck in this universe. To many Jews who feel deeply about their own people, that speck becomes the whole world. Other Jews are irrevocably tied to non-Jewish pursuits.
May we as a people open our eyes and begin to see the world as it really is. Without becoming depressed and morose, we must realize that there are powerful forces in the world that wish us ill. May we mobilize our strength to fight our enemies until they are defeated. May we not succumb to false prophets of peace. We all want peace. We pray for peace in our Sabbath services every Friday night. After thousands of years, being victims of persecution, expulsion, extermination, and discrimination, it is natural that we yearn for peace with every ounce of our bodies and souls. It is because our hunger for peace is so strong that we must be doubly cautious not to fall for a pseudo-peace. Today none of us believe Chamberlain really negotiated "peace in our time" with Hitler. Why did some Jews believe that Peres and Rabin really negotiated "peace" with Arafat, one of today\'s Hitlers?
Why do many still believe that it is possible to make peace with the barbarians who surround Israel and wish only to destroy it. (Santayana said and it is true today: "Those who do not learn from history are forced to repeat it.") The Jewish people must learn from history and learn the value of unity in the face of so many enemies who wish them ill.
I pray that Israelis who have fought in countless wars will understand that there is no magic cure, though they crave to be free of constant conflict. As Jews we are all involved in this historic struggle to survive. It is not our fate or that of the Israelis that we should retire from this struggle.
I have a vision and a dream that I must reveal. In the name of G-d, the Almighty, Defender of His People, Israel, I say to my people\'s enemies: Beware of the thing that is coming, that will take what you would not give. That will free the people of Israel from your atrocities. I say to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: Be aware of the Risen People who will sweep the Arab scourge into the dustbin of history. Know that the Jewish soul will be set free. The spectacular victories of the Israeli army and the return to Zion demonstrated that power. But it wasn\'t a miracle. It was just the soul of the Jew coming to its own. It was just the Jewish soul freed at last to be itself.
And I see it coming, the Jewish soul released to be itself. I see a new proud Jewish government coming to power in Israel. A government that reclaims the Jewish Holy Places and restores Jewish sovereignty in all of Eretz Yisrael. I see Moslem control and Islamic sites removed from the Temple Mount to make it ready for Moshiach. I see the enemies of Israel, who raise up their hands to murder or injure Jews, driven from our Holy Land. I see the secular Jews of Israel and the world becoming more observant and returning to the Torah. I see religious Jews becoming more tolerant of diversity in Jewish practice.
I see a new Israeli foreign policy that grovels before no nation, no matter how powerful. I see Israel\'s Foreign Minister informing every nation that their embassies must be in Jerusalem. If they don\'t respect Israel\'s capital, then they will be given permission to have a consulate in Tel Aviv. I see the government demanding that the Vatican return all the property it has stolen from the Jewish people during the last 2000 years. Maybe they will refuse and we could always hold their property in Israel as a down payment. The Vatican has been used to dealing with obsequious groveling Jews, but now they would see proud fearless Jews. I see an Israeli government that would change its relationship with America from one of subservience to one of equal alliance.
Yes, I have a dream (apologies to MLK) that Jews will no longer debate the obvious: like whether to hold onto what is theirs or trade it away; whether to struggle for survival or to give up from fatigue. I have a dream that the Jews of the kibbutz and the Jews of YESHA will be reborn as brothers and patriots. From the Galilee to Eilat, all the people of Israel will share the same dream of a powerful independent Zionist nation. I have a dream that this strong, proud independent Israel will win the respect of all the nations of the world, including the Arabs. Instead of the contempt it has earned in recent years, Israel will again be a light unto the nations. And finally, I have a dream that this new Israel will find the peace it so dearly deserves. A peace with strength and self-respect. As I look back at 4000 years of Jewish history, I have but one urgent hope and prayer: We must make this dream a reality. There is no alternative.
May the Lord, bless the leaders of Israel with the courage to pursue peace, and the wisdom to know when it is not attainable. May the Lord bless the Jews who return to Zion and give them jobs and new friends to ease their transition into Israeli life. May the Lord bless the war-weary Israeli people with the stamina to bear up under the strain, if peace is not just around the corner. May they understand that their fate may be that of endless struggle to survive in a hostile world and may they have the strength to understand that there is still no alternative (ein brera). May the people of Israel prosper and go from success to success never forgetting that their destiny lies in their might, their righteousness and their faith in HaShem.