Today is the greatest day of your life, because today is the only day that exists. All your earlier days are part of your mind's memory bank. All the future days haven't occurred yet. So today just has to be the greatest day of your life.
The way you experience the day will be different if you decide to view it as the greatest day of your life, right now. Today is the only day that you get to choose what you will think, say, and do today.
So think about it: What are some of the greatest thoughts that you could think on this great day in your life?
This post is mostly about the great day we had on Thusday of last week, the 68th birthday of the state of Israel, which is a major step to our redemption.
"What kind of talk is this, 'punishing Israel?' Are we a vassal state of yours? Are we a banana republic? Are we 14-year-olds who, if we misbehave, get our wrists slapped? Let me tell you whom this Cabinet comprises. It is composed of people whose lives were marked by resistance, fighting and suffering."
These were the words of Prime Minister Menachem Begin delivered to the U.S. President Ronald Reagan in December 1981. Begin, one of the greatest leaders and fighters of our times, knew the meaning of true independence.
He knew that it was not about firecrackers, dancing in the streets or lighting flames. It was about standing up for yourself and submitting to no man. Declaring to the world, "this is where we stand."
Israel's independence was bought at a high price in Jewish blood, fighting first against the might of the British Empire and then against five powerful Arab armies which sought its destruction.
For 68 years Israelis have fought again and again to defend their independence against enemies who would subjugate their country. No other nation has struggled so long and so hard, surrounded by such unyielding hostility.
But in making their stand, Israelis have never had to stand alone. From the beginning, Jews from the U.K., the U.S., Europe, Australia, South Africa and around the world rallied to the fight for independence under the glorious banner of the Mahal. Among them were non-Jews, including a Christian soldier from my own regiment.
In the years since, and even today, the courage of their young successors, the "lone soldiers"' of the diaspora, travelling thousands of miles from the safety of their homes to stand and fight here to preserve Israel's independence, inspires awe and humility. As Begin said: "This is the land of their forefathers, and they have a right and a duty to support it."
Israel's independence has a strength that cannot be known by those who have not had to struggle for their freedom. What is the meaning of this independence?
It means that Israel's right to exist is not to be sanctioned by the peoples of the Middle East or by the leaders of the Western world. It is to be determined only by the Jewish people who, down the millennia, have fought, suffered and died for that inalienable right.
It means that Israel is not to have its borders imposed by international bodies or by foreign states, no matter how powerful they might be. It means that Israelis are not to be dictated to about where they can and cannot settle in their land. It means that Israel is not to be told how it may or may not defend the lives of its people under the sovereign independence of the law. It means that Israel is not to be lectured or scolded about human rights by those that have no glimmer of understanding of what human rights truly are.
The civilized world has an obligation to respect this independence just as it respects the independence of other free, democratic nations.
Israel has shown mankind how a besieged nation — against all odds — can survive and flourish, decide its own destiny and unwaveringly retain its honour, its decency, its dignity, its integrity and its compassion. It was not for nothing that British Premier Winston Churchill described the Jewish people as "beyond any question, the most formidable and most remarkable race which has appeared in the world."
Today not just Israel but the whole of civilization should celebrate the independence of the nation that continues to shine a beacon light onto that world.
About the Author:Colonel Richard Kemp, CBE, served in the British Army from 1977-2006. He was commander of British forces in Afghanistan and completed 14 operational tours of duty around the globe. He now runs a private security company in London and advises on defense and security issues.
It's 1945. And a ship called the "Unafraid," full of Buchenwald survivors, has just been informed that they are going to be arrested for trying to get into Israel. The passengers comes out of hiding, raise the Israeli flag, and sing Hatikva, the future national anthem of the Jewish state.
WATCH: ship full of Buchenwald survivors sing Hatikva in 1945. The ship is called the THE UNAFRAID
There are two things that lie at the core of of my relationship with God and Judaism. One is the personal providence that I perceive in my life, as non-rationalist as that may be. The other is the single greatest miracle in post-Biblical history: the return of the Jewish People to their ancestral homeland. An ancient nation, exiled and dispersed and massacred with the most horrific persecution in history, fulfills its ancient prophecies and returns to its homeland, to create an amazingly vibrant country and triumph against overwhelming odds.The more that one learns about the creation of the Israel, the more miraculous it becomes. Historian Paul Johnson, in A History Of The Jews, describes the extraordinary confluence of circumstances that was necessary for it to happen, including the death of Roosevelt (who had turned anti-Zionist), and an amazing brief period in which the Soviet Union was pursuing an active pro-Zionist policy. As Johnson concludes: "Israel slipped into existence through a fortuitous window in history which briefly opened for a few months in 1947-8. That too was luck; or providence."I recommend reading Johnson's book to learn more about all the factors that had to coincide for Israel to come into existence. I still can't quite believe that for much of my life, I did not celebrate Yom Ha-Atzma'ut. God performed one of the greatest miracles in history, to our immense benefit - how can we not celebrate it? "The ingathering of the exiles is as great as the day upon which the heaven and earth were created" (Pesachim 88a). (See Rav Eliezer Melamed's discussion at this link.)Happy Yom Ha-Atzma'ut!
68 facts you probably didn't know about Israel...in six minutes
ISRAEL INDEPENDENCE DAY "MIRACLES OF GALUT
The Writings of Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane HY"D YOM HA'ATZMAUT- ISRAEL INDEPENDENCE DAY "MIRACLES OF GALUT (THE DIASPORA-LANDS OTHER THAN ISRAEL)" AND "MIRACLES OF GEULA (REDEMPTION)" (At first glance the following article criticizes what is termed as the "Haredi" camp. But such an observation is a superficial one. Ideological distinctions between "religious," "haredi", etc. have been blurred long ago, for good and for bad. More than a few Jews who see themselves as "Zionists" will find themselves included in this criticism, while on the other hand, deep changes are taking place in sections of the "haredi" camp. In this context, we point to what Rabbi Meir Porush from the City Hall in Jerusalem said in an interview with "Kol Yisrael," when questioned about Agudat Yisrael's opposition to the evacuation from Hevron. The interviewer asked: "So you, too, are for the concept of a "greater Israel?" And he answered without any of the usual evasions: "Is there a Jew who is against a "greater Israel?" Does this not point to a change?) A few months ago, a flyer was distributed in the synagogues which commemorated five full years since the "miracles of the Gulf War," describing how this day is worthy for the saying of "Hallel" and praise to G-d. This reminds us of how at the end of the same Gulf War, several communities said "Hallel." All this comes to mind as "Independence Day" approaches. For in so many of the circles who emphasized the miracles of the Gulf War, it was the first time in this generation that they praised G-d for saving us in a war situation. Is this not strange? Miracles indeed occurred in that war, but why is it easier for them to see the miracles of the Gulf War as something worthy of "Hallel" and gratitude to G-d, and not the miracles of the wars in 1948 or 1967, when the danger was so much more imminent, and all the experts predicted total annihilation. Even military predictions that had us winning were forecasting casualties of 50,000 in the Six-Day War, and all "realistic" forecasts for the war in 1948 predicted a total wipe-out. And in the end, we scored awesome victories, conquering huge parts of Eretz Yisrael in both wars. YEARNING FOR THE "FAMILIAR" KIND OF MIRACLES The answer lies in the difficulty of so many to comprehend the new type of miracles which G-d has granted us in this era. They are "miracles of redemption." The miracles of the Gulf War were of the classic "galut" style, and thus easy to comprehend. They were the miracles of the "familiar sort," where the gentile tyrant decrees evil against the Jews, and the Jews sit passively praying to G-d, who cancels the decree, and the story finishes less bad than expected. This approach is probably what created the opposition to a pre-emptive strike against Iraq, for such a deed would "mess up" the usual script of the "galut miracle", where the Jew cries and waits for the miracle, in this case scurrying into a sealed room like a roach with a gas mask. The great miracles that took place during the first half of the State of Israel's existence, belong to a new and different category of miracles; a category which we had not yet known since the days of the Hashmonim. They are "miracles of redemption," or they can also be termed as "miracles of Kiddush Hashem." Not only does the bad decree get cancelled, but as a result of the goy trying to wipe Israel off the map, the Jewish Nation performs G-d's will, returning fire to the enemy, the enemy of Hashem - and we forge ahead. We attain sovereignty over our land, conquering huge parts of the Land of Israel, and sanctify the Name of G-d before the astonished eyes of the gentiles. If we look at the Jewish holidays which have been set down as days for giving praise and thanks to G-d, we will notice that all these holidays can be classified as "miracles of redemption." True, according to "halacha", one must give praise for any salvation from death. In any case, not every salvation was set down as a day of praise and gratitude like Chanukah, Purim, and even Pesach were. Purim, at first glance, belongs to the "miracles of galut" category, and even took place in the galut. But no. If the story of Purim had ended with the cancelling of Haman's decree, the story would have been defined as one of "miracles of the galut", and probably would not have been celebrated for all generations. But actually on Purim, the decree was never cancelled! Achashverosh simply allowed the Jews to strike back. And the salvation arose due to the acts of the Jews who took revenge against those who wanted to wipe them out, until "fear of the Jews fell upon them"! It was not just some passive salvation, but rather a very active vengeance against the enemy: For this we celebrate the holiday. The proof is that on the 15th of Adar, Shushan Purim, the holiday is celebrated only because of the second day in which Esther requested to continue taking vengeance against the enemy (after the salvation had already been achieved!) And so, we see on Purim a rare situation in which "miracles of redemption" occur in the exile, while in contrast to this, we saw during the Gulf War how "miracles of galut" can occur in the Land of Israel. And so we celebrate Independence Day and Yom Yerushalayim, saying "Hallel." Not only for the quantitative aspect of the miracles of 1948 and 1967 which were greater than the miracles that occurred in the time of the Hashmonim, but we also thank G-d for the qualitative aspect of the miracles, which were a sanctification of G-d's Name, a redemption of the People and its land - that is, a forging ahead. Whose heart cannot grow warm from the memory of the Israeli soldiers marching forward in the Sinai Desert, the Golan Heights, Yehuda, Shomron; when the names Shchem, Hevron, Jericho, the Temple Mount became real again! The Messiah was knocking on the door, and a spirit of purity passed through the entire nation.... ENOUGH SPITTING ON THE MIRACLES!!! Yes, we know that those last three dots we wrote above are not something to be happy about, for everything started going downhill from there. Since then, the grand spirit that had been injected into the people has been forcibly smothered out by the evil Jewish governments. In a short period of time, we saw the obscene spitting on the miracle, and an abandonment of the lands we captured. But G-d is not at fault for this, and so we cannot quit giving Him praise for the miracles He granted us. Quite the contrary, we must recall these great miracles, gather strength, and vomit out of power those betrayers (בוגדים) of G-d's miracles, thereby taking the reins and going in the direction of those gates which Hashem opened for us, in order that we may bring the complete redemption! Bli neder, you will shortly be receiving the website to free Meir David Ettinger who has been incarcerated under Administration Detention without a reason and without a trial. This is an old British Law that Israel uses especially on Jews who they want to keep out of circulation. The first Jew to receive Administrative Detention was Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D and that was under Menachem Begins reign as Prime Minister. And they are using this undemocratic British law on his grandson Meir David Ettinger. We will be asking our help in this campaign to free him from this unjust detention