Guest post by R. Aharon Ziegler (bio)
For most of us the sixty-fourth birthday usually indicates the beginning of our retirement years. Our bodies no longer function with the vigor and efficiency that they did a few decades ago. But in terms of historic longevity of nations and states, sixty-four years is not a long time at all. So even though those of us who were then alive and remember the day of the founding of the State of Israel are now certainly older and weaker than were then, the state itself is in its youth and exuberant stage of development.
There are now over six million Jews living in our homeland and to me it is most refreshing to hear that figure of six million Jews used in a much happier context than its usual association with the tragedy of the Holocaust. The achievements of the state over its little more than six decades of existence are truly astounding. The Yeshivot, for both boys and girls are overflowing, the shuls are packed with men and women attending morning Torah lectures.
Traffic jams are taken in stride and tolerated during rush hours and even in between. Restaurants are fully occupied at all hours of the day and the beauty of colorful, massive display of fruits and vegetables at Machaneh Yehudah are a breathtaking sight for tourists taking pictures to bring back to their respective countries. The Israel Defense Forces are B”H strong and the Guardian of Israel is watching over us.
The United Nation is aware that the Unites States and Israel are the only two world powers that have the capability of striking down Iran’s nuclear facilities. Imagine that, we are placed together, side by side, and recognized as an equal partner with the awesome power of the United States. Kol HaKavod to Medinat Yisrael.
On Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel prizes are distributed to people accomplished in the arts, sciences, public welfare, and communal leadership. However, the true Israel Prize is to be given to the ones who experience Israel in one’s heart and spirit all the days of the year.
In Gematriya the number 64 spells out יבוא הגואל, Let the Redeemer come. Kein Yehi Ratzon.