Ever since emerging victorious from the Six Day War, there is a certain bravado that characterizes the way in which we conduct ourselves. We believe we cannot be vanquished and dismiss any suggestion that we face an existential threat to our survival.
If ever our bravado falters, it is quickly held up by our sense of arrogance. Too often too many of us dismiss the importance of public diplomacy, of making friends, of taking into consideration what others think. Since “we’re right and they’re wrong, and as they hate us anyway,” we feel justified in forging ahead with whatever we believe is our (Godgiven?) right to do, pursuing our own self-interest.
The Haftarah reading for Shabbat Hanukka includes the verse that the rebuilding of our homeland will be achieved “not by might and not by power but by My spirit.”
Our might and our power now having been exposed for what they are, it is a phrase we had best take to heart. As we continue to kindle the Hannuka lights, we can pay our respects to the victims of the current conflagration, as well as to the heroes of our history, by surrendering the false sense of potency afforded by these myths, assuming instead the genuine strength of a spirit nourished by humility, modesty, and responsibility.
The writer is vice chairman of the World Zionist Orgnization and a member of The Jewish Agency Executive.