Rabbi Oury Cherki
Independence Day for the World
Letter to Noachides. Translated from French. Published at the Noahide World Center website.
The Independence Day of Israel is different from all the national holidays of the other nations. All the other nations are happy when they achieve independence or when some important national event takes place. And this really is a joyous occasion for the entire community or for the nation. However, Independence Day of the Jews can also automatically be considered a day that has an effect on the entire world.
If we look at the Torah, we can ask what role the Holy One, Blessed be He, assigned to our Patriarch Abraham. His mission was, "Go for your own good from your land to the land I will show you, and I will make you into a great nation" [Genesis 12:1]. That is, the Almighty commanded Abraham to go to another land and to establish a new nation there.
Today we call a single nation that exists in a specific land a "country." Thus, the goal of the Holy One, Blessed be He, for the Jews was to make a national plan.
What was the plan for this country? "And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you" [12:2]. We would not have been told to establish a national entity if not for the universal role that the Holy One, Blessed be He, assigned to Abraham. What specifically is this role? It is to spread holiness and the knowledge of G-d throughout the world, through the mechanism of the diverse nations.
It might have theoretically been possible to establish a religion that engages every single individual in the world and says to him or her: Do you want to live a life of holiness, a life of purity, a moral life? Then you must believe in G-d, you must serve G-d, pray to Him, and follow His ways. Then you, as an individual, will live a happy life in the world to come, and so on.
But if that were the case, the country would have remained outside the scope of holiness. The innovation of Judaism is that a real country, with all of its institutions and its politics, and even with its cloudy aspects – all this is related to being holy.
We are expected to establish a model of an ideal country, and then we will export it to the entire world. As the prophet Zachariah said, "Many nations will join together with G-d on that day, and they will be a nation for me" [2:15]. What is meant by "many nations"? Entire nations will emulate the nation of G-d. Just as Israel had the privilege of being the nation of G-d during the history of the world, so there will be other nations, other peoples, other countries, which will be nations of G-d.
This is the main plan for Judaism, and the only way to accomplish it is by having our own country. Thus, we can say that ever since the State of Israel was established we have finally brought to an end the long parenthetical period of almost two thousand years when we were not able to fulfill our role and our obligation to the rest of humanity.
Now that the State of Israel exists, the initiative of Bnei Noach (and our organization Brit Olam) has taken on new meaning and importance for the world. We might think that we here at Brit Olam should have turned to the world leaders in order to teach them how to transform their countries into lands of holiness, purity, and morality. However, we have not yet reached the stage where Israel itself recognizes its appointed role, and the leaders of the other nations have not yet turned to Israel to ask for guidance. But we can thank G-d that you, the Noahides in each and every community around the world, are able to draw on some part of the holiness that is beginning to be built up by the return of the Shechina to Zion, and that the Holy One, Blessed be He, has begun once again to dwell within us and through us within the world. In this way, you are the first symptoms of a trend that will eventually lead to universal recognition of the holy word of G-d that comes out of Jerusalem, to be disseminated to the whole world.
None of this would have been possible if not for the establishment of the State of Israel. This means that Yom Haatzmaut – our celebration of Israel Independence Day – is really a day of independence for you, the inhabitants of the entire world, who were created in the image of G-d and who want to hear His word.
I want to wish everybody a happy holiday.