Instruments of Salvation
Did you notice how at every point of time we are given a choice: turn right or left, continue or abort, pay attention or ignore. Our progress in life is just the sum total of numerous small decisions, most seemingly inconsequential. But they all are, shaping our path and defining who we are. Also, this is how we can be grouped into clusters.
There are many reasons for doing what we do, some rational, others mysterious. At times we think, hesitate and hardly reach a conclusive decision. Other times we do not spend a glancing thought but proceed, either oblivious or with such determination that we are already at the next juncture. Life is too short, we cannot stop to ponder; we must move on, there is no time to waste.
I must admit that I am often guilty of being the latter, as I walk in the early morning hours and see dozens of homeless. Some cuddled near a heat-emitting source, like a supermarket’s air conditioning system that spews hot air into the alley or an office building external generator.
Others seated on a bench at a bus stop or sleeping in the street, in the cold or the heat, with constant noise of passing cars and stares of passersby.
Others in a sleeping bag or mishmash of black-dirty blankets on hard cement or asphalt, often at store entrances slightly protected from wind or rain.
I walk by. Without remorse or even a second thought, I continue and walk away, thus ignoring these beings, people exactly like me. I do not mean anything, as I ignore and walk on.
How could they ignore the ashes of the crematoriums, the smell of burning flesh or the hunger in the eyes and bodies they witnessed staring at them from the ghettos or in the daily marches of slave labor? They did not have to collaborate, justify or celebrate, just be oblivious, continue walking without a second thought or even turning their head.
It is comforting to think we would have done differently, behaved like the few Righteous Gentiles or other unrecognized heroes. But I tend to think it is unlikely, for me at least.
Likewise, I often ask myself why some Christians support Israel so fervently. Why, when Israel does not do the very basics required to support and protect her very existence. Is their aim to convert us or to usher in the Messiah? Many object to their hand extended in earnest and reject the offer of friendship and assistance on these grounds.
Israelis refuse to see what is so clear and evident to others. Israel is on the brink of destruction, and her enemies are clever, cunning and manipulating. They deceive and operate on a different time frame than Western society. They have patience, they attack and wait, witnessing the poison spreading, knowing that when the patient will finally realize what is happening, it would be too late, their victim will be too weak to take action or react.
The poison drips while Israelis do nothing. Perhaps worse they enable the spread of venom and hasten its effects as the world gladly participates, onlookers cheering at the progress.
The few with courage to stand and say, “it is wrong” are hushed up. Attempts are made to confuse them into believing this is a wonderful, helpful treatment with no side effects, no negative implications. Or they hear claims the person is so evil, he deserves to die, and the treatment is the most humane, owing to how merciful the world really is. And if these attempts to fool the innocent into ignoring what they see fail, they too are attacked.
Except, attacking Israel is evil, and these forces will not stop with Israel. Their intentions go far beyond and include all those naive others who will fall like lambs at the slaughterhouse, be gathered like fish into a net or attracted like flies into a spider’s web. Prey directly into the kill zone.
It is people like Glenn Beck or Evangelical Christians or a country like Canada or Australia that act in a way others would not, as we all walk past homeless lying on the street or a Jew beaten almost to death left to bleed near the Strasse where apple strudel with tea is served in cafes.
Why fight for Israel when Israel so miserably fails to act for itself, one asks. Is it not obvious? One does it not because it is said that the Almighty blesses those who bless Israel (that would be too simple: to do something because an imminent reward is promised). On the contrary, the “blessing” is not obvious, neither is the return immediately given.
They do so like a loving parent or sibling who sees a son or a daughter, a sister or a brother suffering greatly. So greatly in fact, the person tries to commit suicide (or eventually will undoubtedly reach that junction). And so they try, again and again and again, with all the love and support they can fathom, and then more: It is a true, unconditional love.
They need no explanation or reason for doing what they know is right. Whatever the expense, whatever the requirement, they will go the extra mile at a great cost to themselves. They will not stop to ask or ponder. Maybe they dare not stop, for they know that Satan will attempt to confuse them, that the inner Whisper of Comfort will say “leave it all, just let go, you will be so much more comfortable, so much better off; you will have time for yourself.”
They continue to fight, to hope, to pray and to do everything possible and beyond, even when the fight looks impossible and the success dim to impossible. As long as there is a sliver of hope, the tiniest of chances, they stand firm. They must not give up.
As long as the person breathes and you can extend your hand and touch, they will not relent. This is all the comfort that is needed, this touch, and the knowledge that maybe, just maybe, the person can still feel or hear even if unable to see or respond.
So one continues.
So do all these extraordinary individuals, groups and even a country like Canada or Australia.
They do the right thing, the hard thing to follow, for it requires courage, dedication and unwavering conviction. They do it for others, or for themselves, it matters not. They do not get discouraged along the way, although it is so easy along the alternate path, that of least resistance (giving in and giving up).
They fight where Israel fails to fight. They fight for Israel, but they also fight for humanity and thus for themselves. They may not even realize it, and thus it is exactly the reward the Bible speaks about when an observation is made in Genesis that those who bless Israel will be blessed. They leave an everlasting imprint and change the course of humanity.
Those who are generous and courageous, those who do not think of themselves first and most importantly those who in face of adversity will support Israel (not the mightiest or most numerous, rather the most despised and hated), the homeless, the oppressed or the beaten, they are the instruments of salvation of all human kind.
One needs not be religious to understand how a kind deed leaves a mark on this earth, and the collection of such kind deeds saves humanity, like the Righteous Gentiles who saved Jews during the Holocaust. Do not dismiss their memories or belittle their deeds as a mere avenue in Yad VaShem in Jerusalem, two parallel rows of trees with plaques of engraved names. They saved humanity from falling completely to the hands of Satan. They were the small lights that continued to burn, like candles in the wind, when all else was dark.
Some were executed, some died, others lived decades still and died unknown or in complete poverty. Sugihara San in Japan, for instance, or Raul Wallenberg in Soviet captivity, or the members of the White Rose Society in Nazi Germany or members of the NILI underground movement in Palestine under Ottoman Empire rule. Their “rewards” were not in this world, and yet they acted as they did.
Some are remembered, their heroic actions taught to this day, others died nameless, their actions unknown although they definitely changed the course of history. Many little baby steps together, seemingly unrelated, like drops of water they gather to a waterfall, an amazing creation of God.