A lot of my religious friends are talking about miracles. “How can it be?” They say. “Thousands of rockets are raining down on Israel! The number of dead should be much higher! The amount of damage is minimal!”
And they are right. It is miraculous. Rockets miss their targets. They miss populated areas. The wind blows them off course.
My friends argue about the Iron Dome, too. “MIT said Iron Dome doesn’t work. Too many rockets slip through, and yet – a miracle – they miss their targets. Iron Dome’s failures are a sure sign of God’s love.”
They even quote Hamas. “Our rockets are good,” says Hamas. “Obviously their God loves them.”
But you should be confused. Why does God wait until the last minute to make miracles? Is it a game? The greater miracle would be a peaceful or cooperative Hamas. Or no more war. Wouldn’t it? God runs the world. Why can’t He make peace?
And if you think about it, the world is upside down. It defies logic. And in a way, that is a miracle, too. More so than rockets missing targets.
How can it be that Hamas – a terrorist organization, sworn to Israel’s destruction, using human shields, firing rockets at populated areas, squandering their resources on tunnels and bombs and rockets and death, violating international law – are the good guys, and Israel – trying to protect civilians, texting before bombing, dropping leaflets, knocking on the roof, trying to pinpoint terrorists hiding and firing from residential areas – are bad?
How did that happen?
How did Hamas gain the world’s sympathy? Why does the world ignore the thousands of rockets they shoot at Israel? Why does the world ignore the crimes they commit against their own people? How can it be – that in spite of the atrocities in Syria, and in spite of the horrors committed by ISIS, and I can go on – that Israel is the rogue state, despised in the United Nations, and hated on the streets of Europe?
It’s not natural. It is a miracle. It isn’t a pleasant miracle. But it is a miracle none-the-less. You can’t explain it any other way.
And that – understanding miracles – is the traditional way to look at the war in Gaza. In addition to geopolitical realities, John Kerry, media bias, and disengagement, we need to assess the spiritual situation. God is talking to us. He is trying to get our attention. He is better than the Iron Dome. He can stop rockets.
But He didn’t. He unleashed Hamas. He is telling us something.
The Talmud says (I am paraphrasing), “The threat of annihilation is a greater motivator than the writings, warnings, and admonishments of the prophets.” That’s true. It is easy to ignore old books and theory. It isn’t easy to ignore a rocket. Or a bloodthirsty anti-Semite. Or both. Or worse.
The message – the problem – is easy to see. I think it is. Up until recently, the Jewish nation was fractured and disunited. Everywhere you turned there was internal strife and heated arguments. It was nasty. It was never ending. It was ugly.
But no one is talking about those things. Not now. Not after the three boys were kidnapped and killed. Not with our boys in Gaza and tunnels and rockets and the freak show in Europe. Jew-hatred works. It gives us perspective.
It is miraculous like that.
I can’t speak for God, but I think He wants us to get along. I think He is trying to wake us up. I think He wants us to put our differences aside and focus on what we have in common.
Call it the energy of the times. Tisha B’Av, the Ninth of Av, is this week. Tisha B’Av is an opportunity to think about tragedy and loss. The Temple was destroyed because of senseless hatred. Stop hating; be a part of the solution.
We have a lot in common. War makes it easy to see that. If you like miracles, make a real miracle: love your brother. War makes it easy to love him.
Try loving him in the good times, too.