HaZIKARON V’ HaATZMA’UT
“I AM YHVH YOUR HEALER”
Sh’mot (Exodus) 15:26
By Rebbitzin Lynette Shor
After two thousand years of exile the people of Israel have begun their long journey home. With all the expectations and frustrations, accomplishments and disappointments that have accompanied the birth and maturing process of the modern state of Israel, we can gain our greatest insight into just where Israel is today by examining her through the watchful eye of the Tanakh.
Following the seventh day of Passover, which marked the Israelites’ crossing of the Sea of Reeds, and just days before Yom Atzmaut—Israel’s Independence Day (5 Iyar, 5772), and, in fact, on Rosh Chodesn Iyar, (the first day of the Hebrew month of Iyar), we are afforded a particularly unique prism by which to locate just where we, the Jewish nation, find ourselves today.
When the Sea of Reeds closed behind the emerging Israelites, drowning the threatening army of Pharaoh, Israel had gained her physical independence. Much of the remainder of the five books of Torah chronicles the ups and downs of the young nation’s struggle for survival. The three primary challenges of food, water and war must be met and dealt with successfully, in order for the fledgling nation to continue on her divine path. And, in fact, all three of these crucial issues presented themselves to the children of Israel in the six week period between the crossing of the sea and the receiving of Torah at Sinai.
Until Sinai, the Israelite nation was independent but not free. For the true emancipation from the foreign gods and the debilitating habits and manners of strangers did not take place until Adonai, by virtue of the Sinai covenant, took the Israelites as His own people.
All this “ancient” history took place during the month of Iyar, the month we are presently experiencing. One could say that the state of Israel is also experiencing “a month of Iyar”. We have gained our political independence but not yet our spiritual freedom, as we are still far from being the leading nation that Adonai has destined and called upon us to be—Yeshayahu (YHVH Will save us) (Isaiah) 49:6:
He has said, “It is not enough that you are merely my servant to raise up the tribes of Ya`akov and restore the offspring of Isra’el. I will also make you a light to the nations, so my salvation (Yeshua-tiy) can spread to the ends of the earth.”
We have very successfully met the challenges of food and water, turning a deserted and barren wasteland into a verdant and fruitful garden. Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 35:1 says:
The desert and the dry land will be glad; the `Aravah will rejoice and blossom like the lily.
We have also successfully met the challenges of war, turning back our enemies time and time again, all the while liberating and settling our ancient promised homeland. As for returning to the nation that we were when we first entered this land nearly four thousand years ago, we may not be there yet, but in spite of all the setbacks we are most definitely on the road.
And this brings us to one of the qualities that is traditionally ascribed to the month of Iyar. Iyar is known as the month of healing, as each of the four Hebrew letters that form its name are also the first letters of the Torah verse,
“I am YHVH your healer,”
In Sh’mot (which means “Names”), or Exodus 15:26, Adonai spoke to Israel after they had traversed the Sea of Reeds. “
All the sicknesses that I have visited upon Egypt I will not visit upon you.”
The nation of Israel today has two thousand years of landless, rootless exile that it needs to be healed from. The sickness of Egypt, that is, the sickness of exile and oppression and powerlessness are all deadly diseases that have eaten away at the spiritual well being of the children of Israel no less that it has taken its toll upon Israel physically. Can all this be purged and overcome instantly simply because we have returned to our land? Four hundred years of Egyptian exile required a forty year sojourn in the wilderness to heal and ready Israel for entering and taking possession of the land. Surely the sixty four years of Israel’s rebirth are hardly enough for her people to have fully recovered from exile and reassumed their place before Adonai and among the nations.
Slowly, slowly the dry bones of Yechezk’el’s (the strength of God), Ezekiel’s vision grew new flesh and sinews, a new heart and a new spirit (Chapter 37).
So it is today, as the people of Israel rediscover the Tanakh in the light of the land of Israel and rediscover the land of Israel in the light of the Tanakh, and in the process rediscover their own Adonai commanded role on this earth. How else can we explain the Jews’ tenacious hold on the land and the sprouting of communities full of those that desire to live by the guidance of the Tanakh throughout Israel? How else can we understand the reapplication of precepts outlined in the Tanakh to the land of Israel and the re-grasping of the reigns of Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel? How else can we absorb the revolutionary significance of the return of the Jewish presence to the Temple Mount and the return of the Temple Mount’s presence to the heart of every Jew?
Just as surely as dawn follows the dark of night, the redemption of Israel follows the dark night of exile. Iyar, which means brightness, from the word ohr which is “light”, heralds the birth of modern Israel, a sacred milestone, a shining light on the road to redemption.
Mishlei (Proverbs) 30:4 asks:
“Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has cupped the wind in the palms of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!”
We KNOW His Son and His Name is YESHUA,
The Promised Messiah of Israel…
He is our Hope and He is THE HOPE!
HaTikvah (The Hope)
Israel’s National Anthem
|Kol od balevav p’nimah
Nefesh Yehudi homiyah
Ulfa’atey mizrach kadimah
Ayin l’tzion tzofiyah
Od lo avdah tikvatenu
Hatikvah bat shnot alpayim
L’hiyot am chofshi b’artzenu
Eretz Tzion v’Yerushalayim
|As long as deep in the heart,
The soul of a Jew yearns,
And forward to the East
To Zion, an eye looks
Our hope will not be lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free nation in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.