By YISRAEL ROSENBERG, JPOST—
This coming March 3, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu will deliver an address to the combined Houses of the American Congress in Washington, DC. This is not his first speech to Congress, but it is arguably his most important.
He and his audience think that his task is to warn US lawmakers about the dangers of making an agreement that will allow Iran the capability of producing nuclear weapons. But his speech may have an additional purpose. With his talk, Mr. Netanyahu will effectively be blowing a shofar, a ram’s horn, before the world. The message of this clarion blast is nothing less than the beginning of the end of the nearly 400-year old Exile of the Jewish Nation in America.
I know that this will come as a surprise to many people, and may seem far-fetched at the very least. After all, America is the largest and most powerful Diaspora Jewish Community in the world. Furthermore, there has been no state-sponsored anti-Semitism throughout the 239 years of the life of the American Republic.
But all we need do is look towards Europe to understand that such a thing could happen. Europe is in the throes of an anti-Semitic storm at the grassroots level, fueled by Islamic extremism and what is commonly called “Anti-Zionism”. Jews all over Europe are closing their shops and moving to Israel.
The choice of March 3rd for Prime Minister of Israel’s speech to a joint session of the US Congress has deep historic significance. Speaker of the House John Boehner originally invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to address the Congress in mid-February. Netanyahu requested a later date, citing March 3rd.
It happens to be that this year, March 3rd after sundown falls on the 13th of Adar according to the Hebrew calendar. This date is known as the Fast of Esther. As recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther, it is the exact date 2,470 years ago that Haman, a royal viceroy in the court of the Persian King Xerxes, picked by lottery for the annihilation of every Jew throughout the Persian Empire.
Yet the plot of the Book of Esther takes an amazing twist. In the end, Haman and his sons were hanged on that 13th of Adar. As a result, the Jews throughout the kingdom defended themselves against their attackers, and successfully vanquished them on the very day that was set for the mass murder of the Jews.
Netanyahu must unconsciously be feeling the weight of the story of Esther, who, when hesitating to go before the king to protest the planned slaughter, is told: “Because if you keep silent at this time, betterment and salvation will arise for the Jews from another source, but you and your father’s household will be destroyed. And who knows if for a time like this you came to the monarchy?” (The Book of Esther, Chapter 4, Verse 14)
This is the REAL reason, whether he knows it or not, that Binyamin Netanyahu chose the 3rd of March to speak before the US Congress about the threat of the modern Persia to world peace and the nation of Israel.
But there is a deeper significance to his speech.
In the past 250 years, Jews from all over the world have left their homes, some at great peril, to live in the Land of Israel, as predicted in the Torah:
Then, God your Lord will bring back your exiles, and He will have mercy upon you. He will once again gather you from all the nations, where God your Lord had dispersed you. Even if your exiles are at the end of the heavens, God your Lord will gather you from there, and He will take you from there. And God your Lord will bring you to the land which your forefathers possessed, and you will take possession of it. And He will do good to you, and He will make you more numerous than your forefathers. (The Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 30, Verses 3-5)
Hundreds of years later, the Prophet Isaiah envisioned the following:
“And it will be, on that day
That God will once again, a second time
Redeem the rest of his people
That remain …
And he will lift up a banner to the nations
And will gather the dispersed of Israel
And He will bring back the Diasporas of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.
“And it will be, on that day
He will blast a great shofar
And all the lost souls from the land of Ashur will return,
And the exiles in the land of Egypt.
And they will bow down to God
On the Holy Mountain, in Jerusalem. (The Book of Isaiah 11:11, 13; 27: 13)
Jews from all over the world have already left the long Exile that commenced with the fall of Jerusalem and the Temple 1,945 years ago. The migration of the remaining Jews in Europe is well underway. What remains is the last major Exilic community – in the United States, which has survived almost completely intact.
According to the prophetic visions mentioned above, American Jews are not exempt from the unfolding of Jewish history. Mr. Netanyahu’s speech will be delivered while Jews all over the world are fasting in remembrance of Esther’s efforts to save the nation. Perhaps the speech will serve as a watershed that will open a new chapter in the long and convoluted history of the Jewish Nation.