The God of Israel’s Hand in Nature and History
By Ariel Natan Pasko
Just recently, the Jewish people experienced the Revelation of God at Mount Sinai, AGAIN!
The holiday of Shavuot just occurred. Jewish holidays are called a Moed, a private appointment time with the God of Israel, the God of their fathers and mothers.
Fifty days after Pesach/Passover, leaving slavery, leaving the Egyptian exile, the exile of the spirit behind; Moses leads the people to Mount Sinai, where they experience an unimaginable, synesthesiatic revelation, “seeing” God’s voice, the thunder, and sound of the shofar.
“And all the people saw the voices…”
“The voices: They saw what was audible, which is impossible to see elsewhere. Voices emanating from the mouth of the Almighty. Many voices, voices coming from every direction, and from the heavens, and from the earth,” (Rashi on Exodus 20:15, from Mechilta d’Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai).
A spiritual experience, of a magnitude never encountered by any other nation, before or after. As Rabbi Yehudah HaLevi, author of “Sefer HaKuzari” said, all other religions started with a “prophetic revelation” to one individual, who told others about it, and then believers started to follow the “prophet.” Not so, with Am Yisrael, the Jewish people, an entire nation experienced the prophetic revelation of God at Mount Sinai, and Jews have remembered this for over 3,300 years.
And what did they SEE? “I am the Lord Your God [the God of creation], who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage [the God of history]” (Exodus 20:2).
The Rambam (Maimonides), in his Sefer HaMitzvot, lists Positive Commandment #1, the First Mitzvah, to believe in the Divinity: to believe that there is a cause and a reason, which is the maker of all creations. As The Exalted One has said, “I am the L-rd, your God, Who took you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”
Rambam then asks, Why does God identify Himself as the One who took us out of Egypt? Why not as the Creator of the universe? Certainly the creation of the universe, is a far greater feat than the Exodus from Egypt.
He answers, We did not witness creation, but we did witness the Exodus from Egypt. Because of this, we owe it to God to believe in Him and follow His commandments.
When God created the world, He created nature. When He took us out of Egypt, He broke the system of nature, and we saw this happen. Every day we must remember that God not only created the universe, but that He continues to create it ex nihilo every single moment, and can transcend nature at will. The fact that the First Commandment is given in the singular (“I am your [singular] God”), tells us that God cares about the welfare of each individual person, and therefore continues to bring us out of our personal Egypt, our constraints and challenges, every single day.
The Rambam then points out, that the fact that God mentions the Exodus from Egypt in His First Commandment, reassures us that just as He took us out of the Egyptian exile, so will He take us out of this final exile [as He is doing in our day] with the coming of Mashiach, the Messiah.
Just as the God of Israel is Redeeming the Jewish people from its global exile and suffering today, showing how He is constantly involved in Jewish history and destiny, so too, is he punishing those who most oppressed the Jewish people, throughout the ages.
Recently I saw the data from John Hopkins University, for the CoronaVirus pandemic, the total number of confirmed cases has exceeded 6.23 million globally, almost 30% in the United States. The top seven infected countries are the US, followed by Brazil (about 8%), Russia (almost 7%), the United Kingdom (about 4.5%), Spain (almost 4%), and Italy (almost 4%), and France (about 3%).
The number of deaths in the top six countries, as a percent of all the deaths worldwide, is the United States (about 28%), the United Kingdom (about 10.5%), Italy (almost 9%), Brazil (almost 8%), France (about 7.75%), and Spain (just over 7%). Russia is in 14th place and has about 1.5% of the total deaths.
Three other countries near the top, who receive dishonorable mention are Germany, Iran, and Turkey.
After China, the first major epicenters of the virus outbreaks were in Korea, Iran and Italy.
It was very evenly spaced out across the globe by-the-way, to go into all Asia, E. & W. Europe, and from Europe and China ==> into USA. God’s Hand could be seen again.
But why Korea? North Korea has been helping Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas for years with, nuclear, missile, and tunnel technologies. North Korean pilots flew Egyptian MIG-21s against Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and always supported the PLO, i.e. Palestinian statehood. See my article, “North Korea: There is an Israeli Connection.”
Why Iran? Well threatening Israel’s destruction for over 40 years, and then a nuclear holocaust for the last 10 years, means something. The God of Israel “neither slumbers nor sleeps,” (Psalms 121:4).
And Italy? The Romans burnt down the Second Temple, robbed the temple treasury, destroyed Judea, murdered over a million Jews and dragged countless others off to slavery. The Coliseum in Rome, was built by Jewish slaves with money from the temple treasury. Christianity set up headquarters in Rome at the Vatican, and the Catholic Church has persecuted Jews for 1,600+ yrs.
Notice, most of the worse CoronaVirus outbreaks, have been in Catholic areas of Europe. The God of Israel is remembering the Church’s millennia long persecution of Jews, the Crusades, the Inquisitions, etc. For example, Italy (the Vatican), France (Burnt Talmuds), Spain (the Inquisition). The Catholic areas of Germany, have been hit worse than the Protestant areas, and we know what Germany has done to Jews in the past.
But why Brazil? As a Portuguese colony, Catholicism was the official religion, and anti-Semitic persecutions followed the Jews from the old world to the new world. Brazil was not free of the inquisition until Brazilian independence in 1822. Roman Catholicism remained the state religion, but the constitution proclaimed some tolerance of other religions, yet anti-Semitism persisted.
Anti-Semitism grew in Brazil in the 1900s, and reached its peak during 1933–1945, with the rise of Nazism in Germany. Brazil locked its doors to Jewish refugees from Europe during the Holocaust. Between 1937 and 1950, more than 16,000 visas to European Jews, most attempting to escape the Nazis, were denied by Brazilian governments.
England, the United Kingdom, Britain? Well that one’s obvious, they were pretty bad to us too…
The first blood libel in Europe occurred in England in 1144. The English participated in the Crusades, killing and looting Jews, in England itself, on their way to the liberate the Holy Land from the Muslims. Then, Jews were forcibly thrown out of England from 1290 until the 1650s.
The British declared the Balfour Declaration in 1917, to support the Zionist goal of establishing a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, and received the Palestine Mandate from the League of Nations to carry out that mission.
Yet, during the mandate period, they perfidiously helped the Arabs living in the mandate to thwart Jewish national aspirations. They allowed many Arabs from the surrounding countries to enter the mandate area, while limiting Jewish immigration to it, even during the darkest days before and during the Holocaust. Their policies toward Israel have been lukewarm at best, since.
Russia, the former Soviet Union, why them? Again obvious, pogroms, persecution, and the Pale of Settlement, under the Czars, and things only went downhill from there under the communists. The Soviet Union persecuted Jews, for wanting to learn Hebrew and practice Judaism. They supported the Arab states politically and militarily during the Cold War period, against Israel, and denied Jews the right to make Aliyah, i.e. leave the Soviet Union and move to Israel.
Even today’s Russia, is playing a two-faced game. Although Putin has had better relations with Israel than during Soviet times, he’s been allied with Iran and Turkey in Syria. Certainly no friends of Israel.
Which brings us to the United States. Why has God hit America so hard? Hasn’t America been good to the Jews, isn’t it the “Goldene Medina?” Maybe that’s the problem?
First of all, America did nothing in particular to save Jews during the Holocaust. Roosevelt ignored all requests to bomb the railroad tracks leading into the murder camps.
On one hand America has been so good to the Jews that they’re assimilating in record numbers (a Silent Holocaust), yet anti-Semitism has sizzled under the surface for decades, and has been boiling over more recently.
President Trump has been good to the Jewish people, and done God’s will, in recognizing Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and towns in Judea and Samaria. But Trump went too far (something HaShem, the God of Israel, didn’t want), in talking about a “Palestinian” state, and Netanyahu has sinned also, in agreeing to recognize other’s “rights” to our/HaShem’s Land.
Like an overconfident poker player, Trump has overplayed his hand… “Deal of the Century” get it?
He’s also made the biggest blunder, in talking about keeping the status quo on the Temple Mount, i.e. denying Jewish rights, when we all know that God’s House, the Third Temple, is going to be built there soon.
If you think about it for a moment, there’s definitely a pattern here. Starting in mid-January 2020, each weekly Torah reading, since the beginning of Sefer Shemot (the Book of Exodus), has related HIGHLY to what had been going on in the world at the time. The plagues, the exodus, the golden calf, building the Mishkan (Tabernacle), and soon the “Sin of the Spies.”
Back at the beginning of February, I was telling people out here, in Israel, that the Coronavirus hit America at about the same time, as the ten plagues had been being read in the weekly Torah readings, and the announcement that Trump’s partition plan, was going to be unveiled the following week, on January 28th. See my article, “The Likud and Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook.”
The exact chronology is: on Tuesday of that week – the first announced case of CoronaVirus was found in Washington state (no coincidence, note the name). On Thursday of that week, the White House announced that they were inviting Netanyahu, the following week, to unveil the “Deal of the Century.”
Do you see God’s Hand?
The return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the redemptive process, as promised by God, through his prophets (see the Hebrew Bible), has been unfolding in the last couple generations, it won’t be stopped by the Trump Plan, the CoronaVirus, or anything.
Many Rabbis have given three causes, for the CoronaVirus, (a slightly too GALUT/EXILE-CENTRIC perspective, because it ignores the most important reason) in my humble opinion.
1. The World’s Sexual Promiscuity (Health)
2.LaShone HaRa (Slander/Evil Speech) (Hate)
3. Excessive Materialism (Money)
I’ve been telling people similar things, for the last several months…
But, let me end with this, and what about you? The Jews still in Galut?
HaShem is shaking the YIDDEN up worldwide!!! He’s brought:
1. Disease – the CoronaVirus ==> Health.
2. Rising anti-Semitism ==> Hate.
3. Economic collapse ==> To end Money/Power Idolatry & Jews’ false sense of security.
Interestingly, we read about the Golden Calf during this period too, and what symbolizes, modern idolatry, more than money today!
Now, the biggest reason (in my humble opinion) for this pandemic, and all that’s occurred in the last six months.
The God of Israel is carrying out Kibbutz Galuyot (the ingathering of the exiles), just as He promised in the Book of Ezekiel, “…So says the Lord God: Behold I will take the children of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side, and I will bring them to their land,” (Ezekiel 36:21). The redemption of the Jewish people continues.
All this will lead the Jews in the exile to:
4. Think really seriously, about moving to Israel ==> a massive wave of Aliyah is brewing.
Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Isaac Herzog recently said, “…We are preparing for increased Aliyah once the crisis is over…”
Aliyah, is itself TSHUVA, it is the Tikkun (repair) for the “Sin of the Spies,” who despised the GOOD LAND! That Torah reading by-the-way, Parshat Shlach, is coming up in less than two weeks.
Pesach (Chag HaGeula – the holiday of redemption) culminated in the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, on Shavuot. But the plan was to bring the Jews into the Land of Israel, if not for the “Sin of the Spies.” Remember, 80% of the Jews never even made it out of Egypt…
Don’t get left behind! Make Aliyah NOW!!!
Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master’s Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.
(c) 2020/5780 Pasko