How Does a Nation Survive?
By Rabbi Label Lam
You are the Source of Blessing HASHEM our G-d- Who performed miracles for
our fathers in those days at this time! (2nd Blessing when Lighting the
At this time: In actuality- now! There is in every year a trace of the
miracles that occurred back then, in those days. (Kidushas Levi)
Where might one find a trace of the miraculous nowadays? Here are eight
suggestions to contemplate.
1-Rabbi Yaakov Emden wrote in the early 1800’s (Consider how much has
transpired since then!): Many have tried to injure us but they were not able
to destroy or wipe us out. While all the great ancient civilizations have
disappeared and been forgotten-The Nation of Israel who clings to HASHEM is
alive today! What will the wise historian answer when he examines this
phenomenon without prejudice? Was all this purely by chance?! By my soul,
when I contemplated these great wonders of our continued existence, they
took on greater significance than all the miracles and wonders that HASHEM,
Blessed be He, performed for our fathers in Egypt, in the desert and when
they entered the Land of Israel. And the longer this exile extends, the
miracle of Jewish existence becomes more obvious to make known G-d’s mastery
and supervision over Nature and History.
2-My wife has an uncle that survived seven concentration camps. At his
grandson’s Bar Mitzvah he had this to say about the Jewish experience of
World War II; “We lost all the battles but we won the war!”
3-The mother of a close friend experienced twice, as a sixteen year old
girl, being lined up by the Nazis, before a mass grave they were forced to
dig and falling into that pit with all the murdered corpses. Then in the
stealth of night, she crawled out from underneath the pile, running naked
into the cold, as the bullets from the firing squad somehow skipped over
her. She went to Israel after the war and started life again. Alive today
she has children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren proudly lighting
Menorahs this Chanukah!
4-An all American –electrical worker- hard hat- motor bike riding-
non-academic type with tattoos on his muscular arms discovered a picture of
some rabbinic looking figure in his mother’s attic. He asked his mother,
“Who is this?” She told him, “This is your great-grandfather.” He queried,
“He’s in our family?” She quipped, “No! You are in his family!” He was
stirred to study Torah and today he is a massive Talmud scholar, in his own
right and the father of a sizable household.
5-A Russian Jew that had submitted himself to getting his circumcision when
he was in his mid twenties and for whom I was his Sandek at the Bris, urged
his secular minded older brother to do the same for more than a decade. Last
year the older brother came to New York for the Bar Mitzvah celebration of
his nephew. It was Chanukah time. He witnessed the children lighting the
candles, and something inside him melted. So he acquiesced to his brother’s
pleadings and he got a proper circumcision. He danced with extreme joy, at
the Bar Mitzvah celebration, claiming all the while he felt completely
different. Within a short time, dramatic changes occurred. Now he is looking
for a life partner to help him keep Shabbos.
6-In the year 1800, it is estimated that there were 25,000 Jews in the Land
of Israel. Now, the number is approximately 6 million.
7-In nine months a newly formed baby grows from 1 cell to 2 trillion
cooperative cells. When rapidly replicating, the DNA code is precisely
transferred to each cell. After instantly proofreading and correcting the
margin of typo- error is about one mistake in 50 million pages!
8-Thinking of my wife I penned this tiny poem: A Flower gently bends-
Concrete slabs-Tends a petal ear- To hear angel songs-Amidst a cacophonic
roaring panic- In time, the will to live- Overwhelms the desire to oppress
And a gentle flower bends Concrete slabs-A nation survives-As a soft young
girl from the Bronx lights Shabbos lights- And dreams of the miracle Growing
in her heart-Let all that hurry by…pause and wonder- To Whom does a flower
stretch? To Where does a candle point? And how does a Nation survive?
DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.