Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Tables Have Turned

At the end of Ma'ariv on Friday evening, our Rav stood at the Bimah and noted the tense situation in a kosher store in Paris, asking the shul to recite two chapters of Tehillim on behalf of the Jews of France. He proceeded to open the ark and lead the congregation in heartfelt prayer; at that time we had no idea of the tragic outcome.
During the Tehillim, I found myself struck by a fascinating, albeit strange feeling. From the time that I was born, I was raised as a "galut" Jew to pray for the people of Israel. I have vivid memories of reciting Tehillim in grade school during the first Lebanon War. Some shuls in the United States have simply added a permanent chapter of Tehillim to the end of every davening for "the situation" - whatever's going on in the world, there's some situation in Israel.
But on this Friday night, the tables were turned. We were praying for the welfare and well-being of Jews in the Diaspora. And we, the people of Israel, are offering them safe haven from danger.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately called for the Jews of France to come home to Israel, where they will be welcomed with open arms. Truth be told, can one truly argue that these immigrants will be safer here in Israel than in France? We've got our share of terrorism, and Muslim extremism isn't a French or European issue by any means. 
Still, while people are murdered for being Jews both in Paris in Jerusalem, the Jews in Israel murdered by terrorists not only died for being Jewish: they fully lived their lives as Jews as well.