From Sovereigns to Sojourners

Rabbi Aviva Richman

Yom HaZikaron-Yom Ha'Atzmaut

Nowadays, it is common to hear biblical forefathers invoked with respect to Israel to make a stronger claim on the land—this is the land promised to Avraham, Yitzhak, and Ya’akov. But, for King David, it is the opposite: He invokes our forefathers to bring us into the posture of temporary sojourners on the land. The irony of attributing a status that strips us of our sense of full entitlement to the land is exactly David’s point. In the moments where we might be drawn into our own power, we remind ourselves that, ultimately, we have none. Only God has any real entitlement to the land. As we mark Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut this week, let us think of the mix of intense gratitude for the dedication, resources, and hard work that have gone into creating and sustaining the historic opportunity and gift of the modern State of Israel, alongside the complexities, disappointments, and failures of dreams turned reality. (5781)