The 100 million Moslems surrounding Israel often escalate their oft-stated desire to destroy six million Jews into action. They dispatch murderers into Jewish neighborhoods, they launch sudden street attacks, and they shoot thousands of missiles into Israel’s population centers. However, life in Israel continues. Behold the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. (Psalms 121:4)
Whenever one of these periodic crises escalates, some Thought Tool readers ask me why I don’t devote a Thought Tool issue to the Israel situation. The reason is because though it would be cathartic for me, it would do nothing for you, my loyal readers. Yes, I have children living in Jerusalem, and yes, I would like to express my feelings about primitive barbarians imperiling their lives. But that is not my mission.
There are many excellent writers who regularly illuminate Israel’s existential struggle. My purpose each week is to provide you with a Bible-based nugget of ancient Jewish wisdom that you can deploy to enhance your quality of life. I want it to be as relevant and as helpful to you today as it will be when you return to reread it ten or twenty years hence. In other words, I don’t tie Thought Tools to current events.
Nonetheless, it is clear that spiritual strengths rather than physical forces shape Israel’s struggle to survive. Her enemies could overnight transform their physical existence by laying down arms. Many nations of the world would happily hand over billions of dollars and limitless economic, technical and medical aid to help build a new United Middle East. With a real peace, average per capita income would skyrocket for the inhabitants of Egypt, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Their average life expectancy would climb meteorically. Yet none of this matters. Obliterating Jewish lives is more important than improving Moslem lives.
Why do Jews stay in Israel despite being surrounded by enemies? Their material circumstances would dramatically improve if they emigrated to America, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, or Sweden that would reluctantly admit them as the price for an end to Middle East turbulence. Yet, to them, the spiritual significance of living on the land that God gave to Abraham as an eternal inheritance means far more than the physical goody-bags of a diaspora. Both sides are driven, not by physical and material considerations but by spiritual imperatives.
Secular fundamentalists like to think of themselves as supremely rational. They argue that only the physically and scientifically quantifiable is important—only materialism matters. Yet, two Yale psychologists, Drs. George Newman and Paul Bloom, proved that people do believe in the spiritual by analyzing estate auctions of the rich and famous. They realized that otherwise rational people willingly paid large sums of money for possessions previously owned by a celebrity.
The only way to explain this is that the buyers believe that some non-material quality of the former owner has been transferred to the item making it far more valuable than the identical item purchased new from a store.
Explaining the spiritual urge to murder Jews is outside the scope of this Thought Tool (though I do explain it in our audio CD program, Clash of Destiny: Decoding the Secrets of Israel and Islam).
However, I do want to explore the unbreakable spiritual connection between Jews and the Land that God gave them. It is also far more powerful than the connection between Marilyn Monroe and the purchaser of an ashtray she once owned.
And Moses took Joseph’s bones with him because he’d made the Israelites swear saying, ‘God will remember you and you must bring up my bones from here with you.’
Wait! Did Joseph really use the words that Moses reported? Let’s see…
And Joseph made the Israelites swear saying, ‘God will remember you and you must bring up my bones from here.’
Joseph didn’t actually say those last words, “…with you.” Why did Moses insert them?
Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that Joseph’s love for the Land of Israel was such that, no matter how long it took, he deeply desired ultimately to be buried there. However, Moses understood that Joseph’s bones carried spiritual qualities. Rather than doing Joseph a kindness by taking his bones to Israel, the bones would impart spiritual strength to the Israelites as they entered the land. Those bones were not going to leave Moses’ possession until, forbidden from entering the land, he passed on to Joshua the sacred mission of burying them in Israel. Thus Moses remembered the instruction as including the words, ‘with you.’
And the Israelites buried the bones of Joseph which they had brought
up out of Egypt, in Shechem.
In the year 2000, Moslem mobs razed and burnt Joseph’s tomb in the city of Shechem, known in Arabic as Nablus.
Did this inflict military damage? Of course not. This was not about material damage. The destruction of Joseph’s tomb was meant to attack Israel’s soul, not her body.
Bones are not just dried calcium, they are spiritually linked to the person they once carried. Yes, it is true—and not only bones. We impart something of our spiritual reality to all the objects we own. We even spiritually mark items we touch. That is why we feel violated when we discover that some stranger has been rifling through our belongings. Though the hooligan may have inflicted no physical damage upon our keepsakes, his handling of them spiritually tarnished them.
The forces shaping the Middle East are spiritual, not physical, a fact not understood by the State Department or the U.N. The battle affects not only the Middle East but the rest of the world as well. Why do they fight? Will it ignite broader conflagration? How will this all play out? The more we understand God’s plan the more we can prepare ourselves for the end game. We hope that our audio CD program and study guide Clash of Destiny: Decoding the Secrets of Israel and Islam will illuminate this mystical conflict for you.