Israel Forever

For the week ending 30 December 2006 / 9 Tevet 5767

Is My Father Still Alive?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
The Jewish State bears the name with which our patriarchal father Yaakov was crowned — Yisrael. When we look around at how much most of Israeli society is trying to imitate the lifestyle of all the nations, we wonder whether these secularists are living up to the name of their country.

In this week's Torah portion we learn of the dramatic revelation of Yosef to his brothers that the Egyptian potentate giving them such a hard time is none other than the brother they sold into slavery 22 years earlier. The first words he utters upon telling them that he is the disguised Yosef were "Is my father still alive?"

This seems a strange question to ask of people who have just spoken to him about their father. It may well be then that what he was asking was "Is the spirit of my father still alive within you?"

The name Yisrael, the Torah explains, refers to the successful battles waged by Yaakov against both man and angel. The State of Israel is also waging a battle against the forces threatening its very survival. It is to be hoped that by returning to the sacred spirit of the original Yisrael we can secure Israel forever.

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