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Yom Ha’atzmaut 75: A call for Jewish unity

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As we celebrate 75 glorious years of the state of Israel, let us draw some inspiration from Psalm 75. The Psalm commences, “Lamenatseach, al tashcheit.” It’s dedicated to the musician, and the opening message is,

“Al tashcheit,” – “Do not destroy.”

This, according to our commentators, is a plea by the Jewish people to our enemies: Do not seek to annihilate us. We respect the divine soul which exists in every human being. We want to get on well with everybody. We want to live in harmony and peace with our neighbours. Why do you seek to destroy us?

The State of Israel was created only three years after an attempt to annihilate the entire Jewish people, when six million innocent Jewish women, men and children were brutally murdered and throughout the 75 years of Medinat Yisrael, we have continued to cry out,

“Al tashcheit,” – “Do not destroy,” – because we recognise that there are those with malevolent intent who seek the destruction of the state.

Now, fascinatingly, there is another psalm, Psalm 57, which starts with exactly the same words: Lemenatseach, al tashcheit – for the musician, do not destroy. The Alshich explains the context over there to be very different.

David, he explains, was on the run from King Saul, who sought to kill him. David and his warriors were able to corner Saul, and the warriors asked for the green light to go in for the kill. But David called out to them and he said, “Al tashcheit.” – “Don’t destroy.”

Yes, there are deep and bitter divisions between us, but we have a responsibility to guarantee Jewish unity. 

During the past 75 miraculous years, thanks to the daily intervention of Hashem, He has preserved Medinat Yisrael against all odds. And it’s also thanks to Jewish unity  – both within Israel and between Israel and the diaspora – which has empowered Israel to succeed as it has.

As we now celebrate this very special day, we pray to Hashem that he will bless and protect us from our enemies without, and, through our efforts to preserve Jewish unity, may we thereby ensure that we will be blessed to have many many happy returns of this glorious and festive day.

I wish you all chag sameach.