Tag Archives: Remember

The Six-Day War, Nes Gadol Hayah Sham!

UntitledYom Yerushalayim was last month on May 23 in Israel.  Otherwise known as “Jerusalem Day,” it is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem, which happened following the Six-Day war.  Because of the differences between the Jewish calendar and the Gregorian calendar,  we mark the observance of Jerusalem Day in May (this year), but June 5-10 marks the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day war.  I can’t believe that it has been that long, and I remember it like it was yesterday. We, the American Jewish community, were sure that this was the end of Israel, and yet, much like our dreidel proclaims at Chanukkah, “a great miracle happened there!”

Many people debate about whether Israel has any historical right to the land that they are in.  Some make a biblical argument based on God’s promises to Abraham, others refute that and base their refutation on theological arguments and spiritualize Israel as only the Church and the promised land as “heaven.”  (Certainly Paul, uses Israel to refer to the Church, but also to the land and to the ethnic people…see Romans 9-11.)  Still others refute such a right because they see Israel as an oppressive government that has displaced an indigenous people, the “Palestinians.”  No matter what, Israel is a lightening rod that draws a lot of opinion, anger and attention.

While this is not an excursus on Israel, I just have to say that regardless of all the opinion out there,  there is a modern, historic foundation to Israel’s right to the land that is hard to refute.  It started on November 29, 1947 when the United Nations adopted a partition plan for Palestine following the British withdrawal from the region in 1948.  Effectively, the United Nations gave the area a “two-state solution” that we hear so much about today.  Israel and Palestine were created and the Jewish Agency for Palestine accepted the plan, despite the fact that the newly created Israel would have “indefensible” borders.  But the nations that surrounded Israel, Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq and Syria, along with the newly created “Palestinians,” rejected the plan and attacked Israel.  Anyone who believes a two-state solution would bring peace to the Middle East just needs to study history!

A dear friend of mine was an American military observer in Israel during the Six-Day war.  I remember him saying that the Israeli victory was nothing short of miraculous, that with God there is no such thing as “indefensible” borders, and clearly God is not done with His Jewish people.  These observations are also hard to refute.  Thank you for helping us share the Gospel here and in Israel!





imagesLast month there were four holidays on the Jewish calendar, beginning of course with Passover.  Passover is all about remembering, and it is unfortunate that most of our Jewish friends who celebrate Passover are merely remembering the tradition.  Very often, I am told that it is important to have a Seder for the sake of community, but faith in the actual events of Scripture is often faint.  Many Jews, perhaps most, really don’t believe that God separated the waters of the Red Sea and brought our people through it to freedom from bondage.  If they don’t believe that, then what hope is there in teaching the Sacrament of Baptism, that it doesn’t becomes a mere tradition without the power of salvation and the freedom from bondage to sin!

The other three holidays of the Jewish calendar are all modern holidays celebrated in Israel, and in the diaspora (the Jews living outside of Israel).  April 22 and 23 were Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut respectively.  Yom HaZikaron is Israel’s Veterans Day, remembering the Israelis who have fallen in service to their country, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut is Israel’s Independence Day, remembering the 1948 War of Independence that birthed the Jewish nation.  Both of these holidays were opportunities to remember people and events in the lives of the Jewish nation.  But the fourth of the four is a little different.  While two are about remembering, one is about never forgetting.  And there is a distinction.

April 16 was Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Yom HaShoah is perhaps the most misunderstood of the bunch, although the political implications of the other two can be contentious.  But it seems most just don’t understand Yom HaShoah.  A couple of days ago, a visitor to our ministry got into a heated argument about the Holocaust, and said that he doesn’t understand why Jews had to be so focused on the Holocaust.  It is a common query.  As time goes by, and fewer survivors of the Holocaust are sharing their stories, the Jewish community is less afraid of the Holocaust deniers in the world, and more afraid that the Jewish community will have a short memory and allow something like that to happen all over again.  Remembering, for them, is self-preservation.  So, we have museums, and days on the calendar.  In many ways, while the other two question Israel’s survival, Yom HaShoah is about the survival of the Jewish people as a whole.

A quick search of the ESV version of the Holy Scriptures reveals 162 times that “remember” is found.  Sometimes we are told to remember our sins, and sometimes we are told to remember God’s grace.  Needless to say, it is important to remember our sins.  And more importantly, once repentant, we must always remember God’s grace, the He would become incarnate as a man, Jesus, and take our sins to the cross, and the resurrection.  God remembers His children.  May we never forget.

http://www.BurningBushLCMS.org http://www.ChaivShalom.com