Rabbi Label Lam
The House that Truth Built
And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and I will make
your name great and you will be a blessing. And those that bless you will
be blessed, and those that curse you will be cursed, and through you will
be blessed all the families of the world. (Breishis 12:2-3)
Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs but only one stands out in legendary
proportion. That is the home run he is reputed to have hit for a sick
child, but not before having first pointed his bat towards center
field. Why is that one distinguishable from all the hundreds of
others? The one who hits the most home runs is also usually the one who
strikes out the most since he swings the hardest. Sometimes he hits it big
and sometimes he misses it big. However, when he calls the shot and hits
it there that shows some modicum of control.
3700 years have passed since Avraham walked on the earth and a lot of
history has transpired since such broad sweeping and open projections were
made, such as "through you will be blessed all the families of the
world." Innings later, but not quite a post-game report, let's check at
least anecdotally the veracity of that statement.
Not less than John Adams the 2nd president writes in a letter in 1806; "I
will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other
nation. If I were an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I should
still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential
instrument for civilizing nations. I should believe that that chance had
ordered the Jews to preserve and propagate to all Mankind the doctrine of a
supreme intelligent and wise Almighty sovereign of the universe which I
believe to be the great essential principle of all morality and
consequently of all civilization. They have given religion to
three-quarters of the globe and influenced the affairs of Mankind more and
more happily than any other nation, ancient or modern."
Maybe some people remember that during the Yom Kippur war in 1973, there
was an oil embargo, oil prices sky-rocketed and bumper stickers began to
appear reading, "We don't want Jews! We want oil!".
A gentile named William Ikon wrote a letter to the editor of the Colorado
Springs Gazette Telegraph that was subsequently published in 250 dailies
throughout America. He wrote the following:
"Jews go home, G-d forbid that you should think that these remarks made by
a few sick people expresses the opinion of all the people of America and
you would pack your belongings and go. Jews go home. We do not want Jews.
We want oil. But before you leave, could you do us a favor?! Could you
leave behind the vaccine formula of Dr. Jonas Salk before you go?! You
would not want our children to be paralyzed by polio. Will you leave
behind the capability you have shown government, in politics, your
influential prowess, your good literature and your tasty food.
Please have pity on us. Remember it was from you that we learned the secret
of how to develop great men as Einstein and Steinmetz and many others who
are of great help to us. We owe you a lot for the atomic bomb, research
satellites and perhaps we owe you our very existence. Instead of observing
from the depths of our graves how Hitler old but glad passes through our
streets relaxed in one of our Cadillacs if he would have succeeded to reach
the A-bomb and not us.
On your way out Jews, could you do me one more favor? Could you pass by my
house and take me with you? I'm not sure I could live a secure life in a
land in which you are not found. If at any time you will have to leave,
love will leave with you. Democracy will leave with you and essentially
everything will leave with you. G-d will leave with you. If you pass by my
house, please slow down and honk, because I'm going with you."
A reputation like this is not made in a single swing, a season, or a news
cycle. It is a record perhaps more impressive than pointing or predicting
a series. Its promise produced a more enduring dynasty and a history
grander than that that built the house of Ruth. When it will be our time to
"go home" for real it will become clear that it is not for a lack of oil or
an abundance of desperate hate, but rather to revel and cheer aloud again
in the house that truth built.
Text Copyright © 2001 Rabbi Dovid Green and
Project Genesis, Inc.