THE POTTER'S TEST REVEALS THE TRUTH

by Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
Arutz Sheva Israel National Radio
Broadcast on November 11, 1998 / Cheshvan 22, 5759

In This Article:

1. Abraham's Tests Set the Pace
2. The "False Label" Test
3. Revealing the National Truth

1. ABRAHAM'S TESTS SET THE PACE

"Ten tests were placed before Abraham, and he passed all of them," our tradition teaches us. "Ma'aseh avot - siman la'banim" - that which transpired to our forefathers is a sign of what will befall us.

We are also being tested by Hashem, and the tests are not simple. G-d tested Abraham's loyalty to the Land of Israel, the land He had just promised him. First a famine, then the war of the kings - and more followed. We too are being tested in the same way. We are being called upon to demonstrate the strength of our bonds to Eretz Yisrael, the Holy Land, the Land of G-d.

The verse tells us, "G-d will test the righteous." The explanation, according to our Rabbis, is that G-d tries only those who can pass the trial. Just as the potter wishes to show the strength of his earthenware by striking only the strongest vessels, those that will not break under the power of his blows - so too Hashem chooses only those who will not bend or cave in. It is these who will be able to show the world the power of spiritual strength.

2. THE "FALSE LABEL" TEST

Lately, Hashem has placed us in one difficult situation after another, testing our devotion to the commandment of Settling the Land of Israel - a mitzvah that encompasses the entire Torah. The intifada test, then the Oslo test of a minority government, and now the hardest one of all: the withdrawal test of the Netanyahu government. This test is so difficult because we, the Eretz Yisrael-faithful residents of Yesha, are being given the stereotype of an uncompromising, violent, extremist, unethical minority. Even many of those who participated with us in the struggle against the Oslo agreements are leaving us, separating themselves, so as not to be tainted with the so-called "right-wing extremist" tag.

This is a very difficult trial for us. For we love our nation, and we are united with it, with all our souls. The terrible irony is that we are considered to be the exact opposite of what we actually are. Our love for the Land does not minimize our love for our People - on the contrary, it only augments it.

But this great difficulty will not break us. We will stand up to it, we will continue to love all the sectors of our nation, and we will continue to love all the parts of our land. We will not budge from our position, from our opposition to the transfer of any part of Eretz Yisrael to foreign rule. We are willing to suffer all the name-calling and all the condemnations, and we will continue to intensify our relationship with the Land of Hashem. We will do this with pure faith that this is His will. The Heavenly happiness at seeing His children holding on tight and not giving in knows no bounds.

3. REVEALING THE NATIONAL TRUTH

These few who are standing up to the test reflect upon the entire nation. They reveal the hidden characteristics that are engraved within the hearts of all Israel. It is simply that for the majority of people, these traits are still hidden deep within their hearts by layer upon layer of various camouflages. But the special minority serves to reveal the unique virtue of all Israel - its eternal unyielding bonds with our Holy Land of Israel. These few, by meeting this test, represent the entire nation, and help near the national Redemption that is fast approaching.

Be strong and of good courage, children of Abraham and those who continue in his path, "for My salvation is near and My righteousness will soon be revealed."

Rabbi Melamed is Chief Rabbi of Beit El, Dean of Beit El Yeshiva Center Institutions, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Arutz Sheva.

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