A few months ago, a flyer was distributed in the synagogues which commemorated five full years since the “miracles of the Gulf War”, describing how this day is worthy for the saying of “Hallel” and praise to G-d. This reminds us of how at the end of the same Gulf War, several communities said “Hallel”.
All this comes to mind as “Independence Day” approaches. For in so many of the circles who emphasized the miracles of the Gulf War, it was the first time in this generation that they praised G-d for saving us in a war situation. Is this not strange? Miracles indeed occurred in that war, but why is it easier for them to see the miracles of the Gulf War as something worthy of “Hallel” and gratitude to G-d, and not the miracles of the wars in 1948 or 1967, when the danger was so much more eminent, and all the experts predicted total annihilation. Even military predictions that had us winning were forecasting casualties of 50,000 in the Six-Day War, and all “realistic” forecasts for the war in 1948 predicted a total wipe-out. And in the end we scored awesome victories, conquering huge parts of Eretz Yisrael in both wars.
Yearning for the “Familiar” Kind of Miracles
The answer lies in the difficulty of so many to comprehend the new type of miracles which G-d has granted us in this era. They are “miracles of redemption”. The miracles of the Gulf War were of the classic “galut” style, and thus easy to comprehend. They were the miracles of the “familiar sort”, where the gentile tyrant decrees evil against the Jews, and the Jews sit passively praying to G-d, who cancels the decree, and the story finishes less bad than expected. This approach is probably what created the opposition to a preemptive strike against Iraq, for such a deed would “mess up” the usual script of the “galut miracle”, where the Jew cries and waits for the miracle, in this case scurrying into a sealed room like a roach with a gas mask.
The great miracles that took place during the first half of the State of Israel’s existence, belong to a new and different category of miracles; a category which we had not yet known since the days of the Hashmonim. They are “miracles of redemption”, or they can also be termed “miracles of Kiddush Hashem”. Not only does the bad decree get canceled, but as a result of the goy trying to wipe Israel off the map, the Jewish Nation performs G-d’s will, returning fire to the enemy, the enemy of Hashem – and we forge ahead! We attain sovereignty over our land, conquering huge parts of the Land of Israel, and sanctify the Name of G-d before the astonished eyes of the gentiles.
If we look at the Jewish holidays which have been set down as days forgiving praise and thanks to G-d , we will notice that all these holidays can be classified as “miracles of redemption”. True, according to “halacha”, one must give praise for any salvation from death. In any case, not every salvation was set down as a day of praise and gratitude like Chanukah, Purim, and even Pesach were. Purim, at first glance, belongs to the “miracles of galut” category, and even took place in the galut. But no. If the story of Purim had ended with the canceling of Haman’s decree, the story would have been defined as one of “miracles of the galut”, and probably would not have been celebrated for all generations. But actually on Purim, the decree was never canceled! Achashverosh simply allowed the Jews to strike back. And the salvation arose due to the acts of the Jews who took revenge against those who wanted to wipe them out, until “fear of the Jews fell upon them”! It was not just some passive salvation, but rather a very active vengeance against the enemy. For this we celebrate the holiday. The proof is that on the 15th of Adar, Shushan Purim, the holiday is celebrated only because of the second day in which Esther requested to continue takingvengeance against the enemy (after the salvation had already been achieved!) And so, we see on Purim a rare situation in which “miracles of redemption” occur in the exile, while in contrast to this, we saw during the Gulf War how “miracles of galut” can occur in the Land of Israel.
And so we celebrate Independence Day and Yom Yerushalayim, saying “Hallel”. Not only for the quantitative aspect of the miracles of 1948 and 1967 which were greater than the miracles that occurred in the time of the Hashmonim, but we also thank G-d for the qualitative aspect of the miracles, which were a sanctification of G-d’s Name, a redemption of the People and it’s land – that is, a forging ahead. Whose heart cannot grow warm from the memory of the Israeli soldiers marching forward in the Sinai Desert, the Golan Heights, Yehuda, Shomron; when the names Shchem, Hebron, Jericho, the Temple Mount became real again! The Messiah was knocking on the door, and a spirit of purity passed through the entire nation…
Enough Spitting on the Miracles!
Yes, we know that those last three dots we wrote above are not something to be happy about, for everything started going downhill from there. Since then, the grand spirit that had been injected into the people has been forcibly smothered out by the evil Jewish governments. In a short period of time, we saw the obscene spitting on the miracle, and an abandonment of the lands we captured. But G-d is not at fault for this, and so we can not quit giving Him praise for the miracles He granted. On the contrary, we must recall these great miracles, gather strength, and vomit out of power those betrayers of G-d’s miracles, thereby taking the reigns and going in the direction of those gates which Hashem opened for us, in order that we may bring the complete redemption!