Happy Independence Day.
How fortunate we are to have a place in the world where we can flourish and prosper.
Millions of Jews call America home and have for hundreds of years.
What makes America different?
People ask, Is it possible for something like the Holocaust to happen here?
Now, with God running the world anything is possible. However I’d like to analyze it from a Derech Hateva (natural) approach.
We know the well know Midrash that it’s inevitable that Esav will hate Yakov. However there’s a big leap between disliking someone and acting on it. Lyndon Johnson once said “Everyone hates the Jews, the anti-semite hates them more than is necessary”.
There are a few factors that make America unique.
A. The constitution and system of checks and balances. R’ Chaim of Volozin was shown the Constitution when it was written and he commented that the authors had Ruach Hakodesh while writing it.
(He also said that America will be the last stop before Moshiach comes.)
B. The fact that America is a melting pot. Jews are used to living in countries dominated by one nationality. Germany, Poland..etc. Anti-semitism is often times an outcome of fierce Nationalism which simply doesn’t exist here. Whites, Blacks, Latinos and Asians are all looking out for themselves while defining their joint Nationalistic experience as Americans. Certainly not the ideal situation for Anti-semitism to flourish.
C. My Grandfather, who lived through many of the horrors of the last century would always tell me Americans as a rule are good people. Americans by nature and nurture are just better hearted people. They’re more compassionate and quicker to help with charity.
D. There is no deep rooted history of violent persecution here. In Europe, even in the “good” years you were never more than 20 years removed from a despotic autocrat, a Dreyfus Affair, a pogrom and a coup. There simply was no precedent for treating Jews kindly.
In the past few months the news has been full of the corrupt dealings of an Orthodox Jew Jack Abramoff. Here is one Jew, pretty much controlling half of Congress with his dirty money. America watches as a parade of disgraced gentile congressman are humiliated by these bribery allegations. It reads right out of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Could you imagine this happening in 1920s Poland? Or even in modern day Europe. Yet, one can scour the (mainstream) press and listen to conversations of the common folk without hearing and reading one word from that angle.
Sometimes I look around at a baseball stadium and see Kosher hotdog stands, Minyanim in the mezzanine and as a student of History I cant help but let my imagination roam to a Soccer stadium Berlin 1920, Warsaw 1930, Vienna 1910, Moscow 1990. Do you think for a moment that if a Chossid would walk into any of the above mentioned venues with his garb he’d come out in one piece?
I’m not saying it’s necessarily a good thing I’m just mentioning it as an indicator.
A few months ago there were much talked about riots in Boro Park. When and where in our history of exile have we felt comfortable enough to riot?
I’ve been to many European cities and have often times been laughed at spit at while wearing my kippa in public. You’re different and you feel different and the locals have a very low tolerance for anyone different.
Now, from a spiritual standpoint it might be better that we do not get too comfortable, but this piece is strictly from a physical outlook.
So, while my eyes look longingly toward Zion, I appreciate this Great Land for everything it’s stood for and given us.
For the comfort and peace of mind to be able to grow and raise a family with Freedom from Fear.
Happy 230th America!