G-D BLESS THE USA
Rabbi Shmuel Weiss
A year ago, who would’ve thought that the leadership of the entire free world, that the presidency of the United States, that the fate of hundreds of millions of people, would ultimately be decided by the voters in one state?
Amazing, but predictable. In this week’s Torah portion, Hashem tells Abraham, "I will bless you, and grant you the power to bless others. I shall make your name famous. Those who bless you shall be blessed; those who curse you shall be cursed" (Genesis 12:2-3).
This prophecy is universal. Says the Midrash: Rain and dew fall upon the earth due to the merits of the Jewish people, who cause the nations to recognize that there is a G-d, and thus bring Hashem’s blessing on the world. This was largely Abraham’s mission of spreading monotheism.
But it is also true on a case-by-case basis. Think about the nations who treat the Jews well, and you will find that they are, by and large, the most respected and powerful of countries. Think about those nations who have persecuted Jews (Russia and Poland come to mind) and invariably they suffer from poverty and internal disorder.
When Germany launched it’s war against the Jews, it guaranteed that its own populace would suffer: Millions of Germans would die, the nation would be defeated and divided; and Germany would forever be stained with the legacy of hate and the stigma of anti-Semitism.
The Jews, it has been said, are like the canary. Miners carry the birds into the mines, for when the air supply begins to run out, the canaries will react first, giving the miners a chance to get out alive. So, too, we will know if a regime is benevolent and peace-loving — or despotic and dangerous — by how its Jewish citizens are treated.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe was once presented with a special award for education by President Reagan. The Rebbe quoted the verse from this week’s Torah portion and told President Reagan that America’s greatness and its attitude towards Jews are inextricably linked. As long as the United States "blessed" its Jewish population, it, too, would be a blessed nation.
Good advice for Presidents, then — and now.
Rabbi Shmuel Weiss, a close friend of the Torah from Dixie family, is the director of the Jewish Outreach Center in Rana’ana, Israel.