Unsettling parallels between calls for Jihad and the dark history of Kristallnacht. * As fear grips Jewish communities, lessons from history must guide us.
In the wake of a global call for "Jihad" from Hamas' former leader, communities, particularly Jewish ones, find themselves on edge. Schools have beefed up security, some even closing temporarily, and parents face the difficult task of explaining the situation to their children. But why now, and why this urgency? In our dangerous times, with enemies openly advocating for the global annihilation of all Jews, it becomes essential to remember the lessons of history, especially events like Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass."
THE HAUNTING CALLS OF YESTERYEAR AND TODAY
Kristallnacht occurred on November 9-10, 1938, a night when German Nazis torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, and killed nearly 100 Jews. Fast forward to today, where former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal's calls for a day of Jihad echo those grim days. While Meshaal did not explicitly call for violence, the very notion of Jihad has sent ripples of fear across Jewish communities worldwide. Rabbi Hillel Lavery-Yisraëli, a father from Fresh Meadows, expressed his concerns saying that his son’s Jewish day school beefed up security and decided to keep children indoors "as a precaution" due to the threat level.
A COMMUNITY ON EDGE
In New York City, where security threats hit close to home, the NYPD is taking the situation seriously, advising religious centers to limit access to buildings, double-check their security measures, and screen any mail and packages. Yet, despite the heightened alert, Mayor Eric Adams has stated that there are "no credible or specific threats against our city." This duality—the urgency of the precaution versus the unverified nature of the threat—is reminiscent of pre-Kristallnacht warnings that went unheeded.
THE PROPHECIES AND PROMISES OF REDEMPTION
From a Jewish perspective, these unsettling times aren't just a cause for concern; they're a stark reminder that the world has not yet reached its perfected state, where "nation shall not lift up a sword against nation" (Isaiah 2:4). The Chassidic teachings emphasize the urgency of our collective roles in hastening the coming of Moshiach and the ultimate redemption for the entire world. So while the looming threats remind us of our vulnerability, they also jolt us into action, steering us towards acts of kindness and Torah study, hallmarks of a world preparing for Moshiach.
In conclusion, the recent call for a "day of Jihad" by the former leader of Hamas may not directly correspond to the organized pogroms of Kristallnacht, but they do share a disturbing resonance. With this in mind, the Jewish community must remain vigilant, drawing lessons from a dark past to navigate a complex present. Yet, even in these uncertain times, there remains the eternal promise of Moshiach, a future where peace will reign and darkness will be no more.