Jewish history is one of the strongest proofs that the Jewish people are eternal. They could have vanished at any point during each of their torturous exiles. The most modern example is the Holocaust. The Jews could have disappeared, but God had and always has other plans.
(WARNING: Some graphic photos)
Mordechai Shapiro sings this beautiful tune to “Ani Ma’amin” – “I believe.” Throughout the song, images from Jewish history take you through an emotional journey. It is a long and painful journey, but also a miraculous and hopeful one. And that is the message of the Jewish people: despite the struggle, the torture, and the sadness, they will continue to thrive and survive. They will move forward with strength and dignity. A perfect example of this was in 2016. Holocaust survivor Bill Glied gave a powerful and moving speech at Majdanek death camp, titled “I’m a Jew.” In it he said, “Through all the trials and tribulations, we have kept our dignity, our humanity, our hope.”
What is the secret?
Mark Twain even understood that there is something unique about the Jewish People. He looked to Jewish History and concluded something that many people miss. In his famous essay called “Concerning the Jews” he said, “The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”
Singing for the Messiah
Despite the long and painful exile, the Jewish people never stop yearning for the Messiah. They sing, “Ani ma’amin b’emunah shleimah, b’viat ha’mashiach, v’af al pi she’yitmah’meah, im kol zeh, a’chakeh lo b’chol yom she’yavo.” Those simple, but beautiful words mean, “I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah. And though he is delayed, despite that, I will wait for him with every coming day.”
The Jewish People never look back and despair. Jewish history is not just a thing of the past; rather, it is a springboard to move forward with hope. They hold on to that hope and look to God for everything. And maybe that is one of the secrets of the Jewish people’s immortality.