20 April 2018 / 5 Iyar 5778
This Thursday, Iyar 5 – April 19 will mark Israel’s Independence Day, and the Jewish State will become 70. During those seven decades, Israel’s population has grown from 806,000 to 8.68 million, and its main export has shifted from Jaffa oranges to hi-tech start-ups.
A country that was started by destitute people, with no experience in farming made the desert bloom, and beleaguered Holocaust survivors built the IDF into one of the most advanced and powerful armies in the World today.
On a spiritual level, despite the decimation of Europe’s great Torah Leadership in the Holocaust, there are now more people studying Torah in the land of Israel than any time in our History. Furthermore in the coming years, if demographic trends continue, for the first time in 2000 years, the majority of Jews will live in Israel!
In Jewish tradition, the number 70 holds a very prominent, even mystical position. The Rabbis write in the Midrash “G- d, who has 70 Names, gave the Torah, which has 70 names, to Israel which originated from the 70 people who went down to Egypt with Jacob” (listed in Genesis 46:8-27).
Israel was chosen from among 70 nations (Genesis 10), to celebrate 70 holy days in the year (52 Sabbaths and 18 festival days). The Torah was transmitted to 70 elders and safeguarded by the Sanhedrin of 70 Sages (Numbers 11:16).
There are 70 facets to the Torah (Zohar, Gen. 36), which was translated into 70 languages to make it understandable to the 70 nations (Seta 32). When the Jewish people crossed the Jordan (Deut. 27:8) on their way to the Holy Land and they engraved the whole Torah on 70 stones.
In the Holy City of Jerusalem, they built the Temple, which has 70 pillars. There, on Sukkot, 70 sacrifices were offered (Numbers 29:13-34) for the sake of the 70 nations of the world, who have 70 representatives among the heavenly angels.”
We have seen in our lifetime the fulfilment of the words of our prophets who foretold the return of the Jewish people from their exiles to the Land of Israel. There was a further prophecy that the 70 nations from around the world will come to Zion to give homage to the creator of Heaven and Earth. That miracle has not yet transpired, we await the time when the Messiah will come and bring about an age of peace, harmony and knowledge of G-d for all humanity.
I look forward to seeing you in Shule on Shabbat Evening Friday April 20th, 6.00pm as we will join together with our brethren worldwide in Prayer, Celebration and Song of this great miracle, Israel.
Rabbi & Sheyna Riesenberg