We remember that this last summer was hot in every sense. Most of the whole year that passed gave our nation the longest military operation in many years. Its uniqueness is in the fact that it ultimately marked and emphasized the dead end we have reached. The battle is over, but there is still a threat and there is nowhere to which we can escape.
The moment another round is over, the shadow of the next round is hanging over our heads. Each time we stall for different reasons and postpone any decision making hoping that things will somehow work out on their own.
But things haven’t changed for decades. On the contrary, the connection between the contradictions around and inside our country is growing increasingly tighter. It is a clear sign that we have to do some self-clarifications before we can clarify and face our problems.
The prophet Jonah found himself in a similar situation thousands of years ago and is the hero of the book that we are used to reading on Yom Kippur. Strangely, this story keeps repeating regularly and although the atmosphere or the environment may change, it is always relevant. Our times are no exception.
The plot seems like an adventure novel, as Jonah receives a mission from God to help the people of Nineveh overcome the mutual hatred they feel and to fulfill the principle of love thy neighbor as thyself.
It was Abraham who first fulfilled this idea and founded the Jewish nation on this basis. It makes no difference today how he attained it, but the important thing is that the Jewish nation succeeded in doing what is basically impossible.
“What would have happened to mankind if Abraham hadn’t been a man of sharp perception and if he had stayed in Ur and kept his ideas to himself and not founded any unique Jewish nation? The world without Jews would undoubtedly be very different than it is today.” (Paul Johnson, British scientist and historian).
Today more than ever before, the entire world—not just the Jews, Arabs, Russians, and Ukrainians—is in need of love, or at least elementary, mutual understanding.
At the same time, just as in the past, similar ideas are perceived as totally unrealistic. No wonder Jonah decided to escape overseas, thinking he could escape the mission he had been given.
Just like Jonah, we too are trying to hide from the great, “impregnable” problems in our daily routine, and let others deal with them while we deal with our personal problems. Although our personal problems are not on a global scale, at least they can be resolved. Our whole life is a cycle of daily problems that we sometimes manage to float above.
It isn’t by chance that Jonah’s story is read on Yom Kippur. From ancient times comes the reminder that it is impossible to escape the mission we have been given.
From the Russian Brochure: “The Main Secret of the Jewish New Year”