“Did you hear about what’s happening in Paris?” I asked Andrea last Friday when she came to my house to help me get ready for Shabbos.
“They don’t let you people alone!” she exclaimed with as much frustration as compassion.
Andrea isn’t Jewish but has an extraordinary affinity for Jews, especially the ones in my family.
“Don’t worry about us,” I proclaimed defiantly. “It’s not going to be this way for long.”
The only way I get through these horrors is by knowing how imminent the Redemption actually is, that these are our final tests. Otherwise, we “infidels” have met a formidable opponent; without some serious Divine intervention, it indeed appears that all roads are leading to Mecca.
But Divine intervention is what the Jewish nation is all about. The question is: why aren’t we asking for it?
Could it be that we suffer collectively from… survivor’s guilt?
Every one of us is a descendant of someone who was fortunate enough to survive or leave a place of persecution. We are all aware of the millions of Jews over thousands of years who have not been so lucky.
Even if we don’t think about this phenomenon, we are nonetheless affected by it spiritually.
I could have been in that kosher supermarket.
On that bus, in that school, on that street, in that synagogue.
And that’s just recently.
Andrea is right. They really don’t let us alone. They never have. And it appears that they never will.
All the while, the guilty message plays in our souls, if only subliminally: We don’t deserve to survive.
As Jews, we also know that G-d promised that every single Jew will merit the final Redemption and the Lubavitcher Rebbe assured us that this time is imminent, yet we still don’t demand it– even though G-d is waiting for us to do just that.
We don’t deserve the Redemption.
This is where survivor’s guilt really holds up the works. Because the Jewish soul is eternal, which means that this world is not just about us in this lifetime. We guilty survivors are almost guaranteed to be the reincarnated souls whose bodies do “deserve” to be rewarded for all their suffering as Jews. If not for ourselves, we should demand the Redemption for all the Jewish martyrs whose blood has yet to be avenged!
After witnessing the unbearable suffering of the Jews in Egypt, Moshe asks G-d, “why have You mistreated this people?!” In this week’s parsha, Va’eira, (“and I appeared”), G-d lets Moshe in on a little secret. It’s not going to be this way for long.
We, too, must ask, Ad mosai? (“until when?”), acknowledging both our pain and our unshakable faith in G-d, as we entreat Him to redeem the Jewish nation and indeed the whole world from the stranglehold of darkness and confusion.
No matter how deeply buried this unshakable faith may be, it’s what unites all Jews in our core and is the reason we are still here. It’s G-d Himself, alive within each of our souls, called into action when the going gets rough.
Unfortunately, sometimes anti-Semites believe in the power of the Jew better than we do.
Here’s what a Muslim man, Mohamed, told The Daily Beast after the Paris massacre:
He also called the Paris terrorist attacks “un complot,” or conspiracy, and launched into a lengthy explanation of the “magical Jews” behind it. They were not ordinary Jews, he said, but a “hybrid race of shape shifters” who have extraordinary abilities. “They know how to get in everywhere,” he said. “They are master manipulators.”
He may have the conspiracy part all wrong, but he’s right on the money about the magical Jews.
Can you think of a better time than right now for us to use our hidden power to ask G-d to bring the Redemption?