“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.” — Hosea 11:1
The year 2018 is important for Israel and the Jewish people as we celebrate the modern State of Israel’s 70th Birthday. You can be part of this momentous milestone with Rabbi Eckstein’s 70 devotions offered now through April 19th, Israel’s Independence Day. These devotions are tied to our Keys to Israel – six fundamental principles underlying God’s covenantal relationship with His chosen people and His Holy Land using the acrostic I.S.R.A.E.L.
This devotion is part of ten devotions focusing on the letter “I” — Important to God — and will explore Israel’s importance to God as expressed through His promise to Abraham more than 3,000 years ago.
While the modern State of Israel may still be in its childhood, the nation of Israel is one of the oldest nations in the world. When the prophet Hosea referred to Israel’s childhood, he wasn’t referring to the last 70 years. He was referring to the nation’s true beginning, thousands of years ago, when the children of Israel where taken out of Egypt.
About this stage the prophet says, “When Israel was a child, I loved him.” But the Jewish sages teach us another way to understand the verse: “Israel is a child, therefore I love him.” Even today, say the sages, Israel is like a child. And that is something that God loves.
One of the profound differences between children and the elderly is the ability to recover. If a child falls down and hurts his knee, he gets up pretty quickly. Even if he sheds a few tears, he is off and running again just a few minutes later. But for someone in their older years, a simple fall can result in broken bones and irreversible damage. Older people have weaker bones and need more time to heal. Children are simply more resilient.
No nation on the face of the Earth has experienced the traumas that the nation of Israel has had to deal with, repeatedly, over thousands of years. Expelled from its homeland twice, and subjected to inquisitions, pogroms, holocausts, and all kinds of hostility, the nation of Israel reacts with the resilience of a child.
Though deeply bruised and beaten, Israel cannot be broken. Injuries heal quickly, and she is back on her feet. Israel continues to build and rebuild though her enemies seek to destroy her every single day. This is what the prophet means when he calls Israel a child. The nation may be old, but her spirit is young.
The lessons we can glean from Hosea’s words and from the nation of Israel’s experience are timeless — no matter what life throws our way, we can respond with the wisdom that comes with age, but also with the resiliency of a child as we trust and depend upon the One who loves us like a Father.
Join the celebration and get the entire Keys to I.S.R.A.E.L. curriculum for free — for you, your small group, or even your church.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President