Wednesday, September 24, 2014

When the nations will be judged

Note: here’s a second look at HaShem judging the nations
We are judged on Rosh Hashannah. Our Heritage talks about that judgment. Our Heritage also talks about how the nations will be judged (Avodah Zarah 2a-b). Our Heritage is very specific about that judgment.
When the nations will be judged, they will come to stand before HaShem (our G-d), one at a time. The first to appear will be the most prominent among them, Rome. Rome is the West. Rome created the exile that dominates our modern Jewish life. Rome still seeks to control Israel.
Rome will stand before HaShem. It will tell HaShem that it deserves reward, not punishment. It will say, ‘we have established many marketplaces. We have constructed many bath houses. We have amassed much silver and gold’ (ibid, 2b).
Rome will then add, ‘we have done all of this for the benefit of the Jews. Because of our actions, Jews were able to involve themselves with Torah study’ (ibid, 2b).
To this claim, G-d will reply, your actions did indeed benefit the Jewish people. Your efforts did help Jews involve themselves with Torah study. But that wasn’t your intention. Whatever you have done was done for yourselves only, for your own interests. Your motivations for your efforts were not altruistic.
G-d will tell Rome, you established markets, but not for Jews. You did that for your own commercial interests—and to create a quarter for prostitutes. Your bath houses were mostly for you, to ‘luxuriate yourselves in them’ (ibid).
G-d will judge Rome. He will tell Rome, your actions do not merit rewards.
The next nation to stand before G-d will be Persia—Iran. G-d will ask, ‘in what did you involve yourselves?’ (ibid,2b).
Persia (Iran) will reply, we constructed many bridges. We have conquered many cities. We have fought many defensive wars. We have done all this for the Jews, so that they should be able to involve themselves with Torah study (ibid).
G-d will reject Persia’s argument. He will tell Persia, whatever you have done, you have done for yourselves only. You constructed bridges to collect tolls from those who used those bridges. You conquered many cities not for Jews, but in order to press their citizens and livestock into serving your kings. The wars you have waged were possible only because I allowed them to be fought.
G-d will judge Persia-Iran. He will say, your actions do not merit rewards.
The Persians, our Heritage tells us (ibid, 2b), will be shocked. They will expect rewards because, they will believe, they weren’t Rome.
Rome had destroyed the Jews’ last Temple (70 CE). The Persians, however, had allowed the Jews to return to their homeland with Ezra (perhaps 510 BCE), to rebuild the first Temple, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians.
Nevertheless, Persia-Iran will not merit rewards.
Other nations will follow. Each will plead its case before G-d. Each will argue that it had worked to benefit the Jews. Each will praise its own secular accomplishments. Each will claim that Jews clearly benefited from those accomplishments. Each will argue that its actions and behaviour merit reward, not punishment (ibid).
They will all focus on Rome. They will all say, ‘we are not Rome. We never destroyed the Holy Temple’. Each will claim that it never subjugated the Jewish people—certainly not like Rome has done.
G-d will reject their claims. We learn from this rejection that the way each of these nations treated the Jews will in fact become evidence against them (see ibid, 2b, the notes in the ArtScroll Avodah Zara Shottenstein Edition). Their behaviour towards the Jews will not bring them merit for reward.
Rosh Hashannah is before us (tonight, Wednesday, September 24, 2014). All of us will be judged. Nations, too, will be judged (Rosh Hashanna, 8b).
Have the nations been righteous with Israel? Have they treated Israel fairly?
That will be for you to decide. That will be for HaShem to judge.
The G-d of Israel is Just. He is Merciful. To those who wish to return to His ways, He is Patient and Loving.
For the nations, there may yet be time to change for the good. But if, as time passes, the nations use the time allotted to them only to harass Israel ever more aggressively, then the G-d of Israel may no longer remain Patient.
On Friday, September 26, 2014—our second day of Rosh Hashannah--the enemy of Israel, Mahmoud Abbas, is scheduled to appear before the United Nations. He has already announced that he will attempt to rally the entire UN General Assembly against HaShem’s Treasure, Israel (“Abbas Will 'Drop a Bomb' on Israel at the UN”, Arutz Sheva, September 24, 2014).
Do you see the irony? On Rosh Hashannah, just as we all stand before HaShem to be judged, Mahmoud Abbas will ask the United Nations to pass a judgment against Israel. As he and they do that, the G-d of Israel will judge Abbas and the United Nations.
How do you think that’s going to work out?
This is Rosh Hashannah. It the time when HaShem judges everyone.
Shannah Tova. Happy New Year.

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