This week’s Haftorah relays a prophetic dream from Ezekiel in which G-d tells him to take two sticks—one representing Judah and the children of Israel, and the other representing Joseph and Ephraim, and G-d fuses them into one stick before Ezekiel’s eyes.
The merger represents the promise of a unified Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom of Josephs decedents and the Tribe of Ephraim and the Southern Kingdom under David’s lineage were often warring. The prophetic union was supposed to occur during the messianic era under a descendent of King David.
In a promise reminiscent of the Diaspora: “So says the L-rd G-d: ‘Behold I will take the children of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side, and I will bring them to their land. And I will make them into one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be to them all as a king…’”
As Jews, indeed we have traversed to and settled in many nations–sometimes fleeing devastation, war, and pogroms for generations upon generations. This situation was not new to even our distant predecessors.
What a comfort it must have been to have been promised that one day, we’d all be gathered and brought back to one homeland; a unified people brought together with a purpose. An acquaintance of mine once described her decision to make aliyah (immigrate to Israel) from her comfy life in California as soul-quenching. When I asked her if she was scared of the barrage of rocket fire, terrorism, and general Middle Eastern conditions, she said she knew her first visit to Israel that she wanted to be there. She suggested that even when we find supportive Jewish communities that the feeling of “otherness” still remains—and that feeling was completely abolished by being “home.”
While I’m absolutely proud to be American, I can’t help but sympathize with that perpetual sense of “otherness.” We are all sort of wandering souls of sorts. Even though I don’t really plan to leave this country–uprooting my family, my career, etc., I somehow feel better just knowing that Israel exists. And that’s worth protecting.
Casey (Kefira) McCarty is a published author living in Ohio. She is the Assistant Director of the Columbus Idea Foundry, a community workshop space, and is an artisan who crafts jewelry, Judaica and fine art available online and in Central Ohio galleries and boutiques. You can find her online shop at www.sinemetudesigns.etsy.com