Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Rebbe Meets with Yitzchak Rabin, 11th of Nissan 5732 [1972]

 “Shalom, honored Rabbi,” said Yitzchak Rabin, Israel Ambassador to Washington.

“Blessings to all,” answered the Rebbe to Rabin’s greeting.

Rabin told the Rebbe that he is the Israel Ambassador to Washington and is bringing greetings of the State of Israel to the Rebbe in honor of his seventieth birthday. 

The Rebbe: “Do you not feel alone as the representative of the land of Israel among 120 countries and peoples that are represented in Washington?” 

Rabin: “It is a great honor for me to represent the State of Israel in Washington, and even if I do feel lonely at times; first: more than half of the countries, represented in Washington do not recognize Israel, therefore it removes the burden of contact with them. With the others Israel has friendly relationships. Israel is important to me and not what others will say regarding Israel.” 

The Rebbe: “However, the United States takes into consideration what other nations say?” 

Rabin: “Not necessarily and if yes, not too much. The Russian ambassador once told me, ‘you are a small country, but you are a proud country’. Most countries are jealous of Israel.” 

The Rebbe: “We have to realize the uniqueness of the Jewish nation” and began explaining the verse “A nation [Israel] will live in isolation”. “Is it by choice or by force that Israel is the people that dwell alone among other nations? 

It is both. Firstly by the Jewish people’s own choice, which is the source of this, is to abide by the Torah, to the faith and tradition of the Jewish people which has kept them under very unique circumstances for over two thousand years. This, without a country, without a place where they all settle, bearing the imprint of a Wandering Jew who had to move from place to place because of the Spanish Inquisition, expulsion, pogroms and no doubt the Holocaust. 

“Pressures from the outside strengthened the core of our belief, and the faithfulness to our religion, to our tradition. Therefore it is a combination of both. First and foremost the Jewish faith, the religion and the adherence of the Jewish People even ready to die for the sanctifying of G-d’s name. This is the main force.

“When a Jew tries to be what he is not, being embarrassed of his Jewish identity, then forces from the outside compel him. This prevented assimilation; negative forces helped us not assimilate. “The combination of the positive and negative.”

“Regardless of all this, the Jewish People remain faithful to the Jewish faith, Jewish tradition, and succeed in their survival as no people anywhere in the world have done. They have never lost their belief, their hope to return to Jerusalem, to the land of Israel. True, the nations do not understand why Israel is of concern to the American Jew, it is because we are a “nation who live [together] in isolation [from other Nations]” and therefore have concern for one another.” 

Rabin: “Nevertheless we should not remain complacent with our portion”. 

The Rebbe: “The land of Israel has great influence. The Jewish nation is different from all other nations, and the American Jew also posses this feeling. A person has to know that even though he is an individual, every individual is also part of a community – the Jewish community worldwide.” 

[Then the Rebbe began to explain the phrase], “Blessed is the one who is happy with his portion”. 

“What does it mean? If somebody is happy with what he has there is no force to drive him to achieve more and to advance. Isn’t there a contradiction between the saying: “blessed is the one who is happy with his portion” on the one hand, and the nature of the human being to improve every aspect of his life? 

One has to be happy with what he has in physical wealth. However, for the purpose to be and do better, one should not be happy with what he has; be happy at every stage with what you have, but this should not prevent you to become a better human being, a better Jew and to do better in right and positive directions. We pray every day to return to Israel. And at the end the goal will be reached.”

With these words the audience ended.