Who can stop history?
Well, one of the reasons for Cornelius’ happiness today is that he took his better half to dinner (at a Lebanese restaurant) exactly 41 years ago. It was her name’s day, just as it is today and she is part of what Sweden means to me.
The last nine verses of this week’s Torah portion (Exodus 30:11 to Exodus 34:35) reads :
“27. The Lord said to Moses: “Inscribe these words for yourself, for according to these words I have formed a covenant with you and with Israel.”
28. He was there with the Lord for forty days and forty nights; he ate no bread and drank no water, and He inscribed upon the tablets the words of the Covenant, the Ten Commandments.
29. And it came to pass when Moses descended from Mount Sinai, and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand when he descended from the mountain and Moses did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while He had spoken with him
30. that Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses and behold! the skin of his face had become radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.
31. But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the princes of the community returned to him, and Moses would speak to them.
32. Afterwards all the children of Israel would draw near, and he would command them everything that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.
33. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he placed a covering over his face.
34. When Moses would come before the Lord to speak with Him, he would remove the covering until he left; then he would leave and speak to the children of Israel what he would be commanded.
35. Then the children of Israel would see Moses’ face, that the skin of Moses’ face had become radiant, and [then] Moses would replace the covering over his face until he would come [again] to speak with Him.”
One of the gladdening moments towards the end of a synagogue service on the Sabbath, before the prayer for the welfare of the State of Israel, to Our Father Who is in heaven, Rock of Israel and its Redeemer) is the prayer for the welfare of Sweden (and the Hebrew prayer translates into English):
“He who grants salvation to kings and dominion to rulers,
Whose kingdom is a kingdom spanning all eternities; Who releases David His servant, from the evil sword;
Who places a road in the sea and a path in the mighty waters –
May he bless the Royal Family – and all the constituted officers of government of this country.
The King Who reigns over Kings,
In His mercy may He sustain them and protect them;
from every trouble, woe and injury, may He rescue them;
and put into the hearts of all their counselors (compassion)
to do good with us and with all Israel, our brethren.
In their days and in ours may Judah be saved
And may Israel dwell securely, and may the Redeemer come to Zion.
So may it be His will.
Now let us all respond: Amen”
Thinking of the many refugees from Iraq currently living in Sweden, inevitably, and of course, it is not only human but also righteous and humane to wish the people of Iraq who are now going to the polls (despite certain flaws and irregularities) that the 18 polling districts that Iraq has been carved up into, will jointly deliver a government of the people, by the people, and for the people to the long suffering people of Iraq where history is being made as another ongoing Chimes of freedom flashing even as we live this day in world history.
As the bard sings, God don’t make no promises that He don’t keep and reading the last thirteen verses of the haphtarah for this week gives hope of the ever approaching Redemption and hope for peace on earth and goodwill to all men – to all mankind , in all the world – and the fulfillment of Bob Marley’s prayer ” Let righteousness cover the earth like the water covers the sea ” or in the words of the Prophet Amos, “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
(Ezekiel 36: 24 – 37):
“24. For I will take you from among the nations and gather you from all the countries, and I will bring you to your land.
25. And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you will be clean; from all your impurities and from all your abominations will I cleanse you.
26. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
27. And I will put My spirit within you and bring it about that you will walk in My statutes and you will keep My ordinances and do [them].
28. Then will you dwell in the land that I gave your fathers, and you will be a people to Me, and I will be to you as a God.
29. And I will save you from all your uncleannesses, and I will call to the corn and will multiply it, and I will not decree famine again over you.
30. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you shall no more have to accept the shame of famine among the nations.
31. And you shall remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own eyes on account of your sins and on account of your abominations. 32. Not for your sake do I do it, says the Lord God, may it be known to you; be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.
33. So says the Lord God: On the day that I will have cleansed you from all your iniquities, and I will resettle the cities, and the ruins shall be built up.
34. And the desolate land shall be worked, instead of its lying desolate in the sight of all that pass by. 35. And they shall say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the Garden of Eden, and the cities that were destroyed and desolate and pulled down have become settled as fortified [cities].’ 36. And the nations that are left round about you shall know that I, the Lord, have built up the ruined places and have planted the desolate ones; I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will perform [it].
37. Thus says my Lord HASHEM/ ELOHIM: Furthermore I will make Myself accessible to the House of Israel to act for them. I shall increase them – the men – - like sheep. Like the sheep for Divine service, like the sheep of Jerusalem on her festivals, so shall the destroyed cities be filled by sheep-men – and they shall know that I am HASHEM”
This week’s maftir ( Numbers Chapter 19 ) introduces the quintessential mystery - about the Red Heifer – which I heard Rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov expound one Thursday evening in the summer of 1999 – at the Chabad House in Wimbledon ( England) – and that exposition has still not been surpassed by any other expositions that this ignoramus ever heard or read before or after that in either Torah, Tanakh or any other type of Literature…
Today in history – the 6th of March (1957) also witnessed the birth of the Black Star Nation, Ghana.
Of that there is no doubt.
May we all draw closer to Him…