Weekly Inspiration

Land Of The Free And Home Of The Brave
April 4th, 2024
Land Of The Free And Home Of The Brave

Francis Scott Key wrote the Star-Spangled Banner from the deck of a British ship in Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812. His poem was put to music and became the U. S. National Anthem, which describes in dramatic terms how the flag still flew over Fort McHenry. Each stanza ends with the words, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” 

Last week the bridge named after Francis Scott Key collapsed after being rammed by a container ship. The bridge had been built over the spot in Chesapeake Bay from which Francis Scott Key had actually witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry. 

How ironic that the spirit which had once inspired the United States to be a country of chessed and righteousness was also collapsing at the same time. During that same week the United States, once a friend of Israel, showed itself to be an enemy at the United Nations. (I gratefully thank one of our readers for pointing out this remarkable confluence of events.)

At the beginning of history, Hashem told Avraham Avinu, “Those who bless you will be blessed and him who curses you I will curse.” (Beraishis 12:3) The blessing of Hashem rests upon those who bless us, and those who curse us are subject to the terrible consequences which are implicit in Hashem’s curse. 

The nations of the world should have learned long ago not to trouble Hashem’s chosen nation. Throughout history, when even the most powerful nations have attacked us, the result has been catastrophic for them. This is nowhere more evident than in the downfall of Mitzraim, which is the focus of Pesach, the Yom Tovwhich is rapidly approaching. 

But not only Mitzraim: Where is Babylonia? Where is Greece? Where is Rome? Where are the Crusaders? Where is the Third Reich? Gone! And … Am Yisroel chai! We are alive!

Granted, we are weaker and smaller than every other nation. But we are Hashem’s Chosen People and He watches over His children. 

Am Yisroel is compared to a dove. (Berachos 53b)

“A dove is a weak creature lacking the strength to face her persecutors. However, by using her wings, she rises above all other creatures and is thus saved. So too, the Jews have no strength to withstand [their enemies] because they are the smallest of all nations, but they lift themselves up through Torah and mitzvos and thus they are saved …. Klal Yisroel’s only means of salvation is through a spiritual ascent via Torah and mitzvos.” (Rabbi Tzi Pesach Frank as quoted in “War and Redemption” by the talmidim of Harav Moshe Sternbuch)

Frankly, I was surprised when President Biden – and much of the Western World -- supported Israel in the first days of the war which began October 7. This support did not fit the scenario, because it is predicted that – in the days before Moshiach – the entire world will surround us and attack us. But now the true character is being revealed. The United States and many of our former “friends” have turned upon us and abandoned us. The result cannot be good for them. 

Is it a coincidence that the very week in which the United States abandoned Israel in the United Nations, the bridge representing “the land of the free and the home of the brave” collapsed?

Over recent years, the ideal of chessed and righteousness which the United States once represented has been weakening. Certain athletes, for example, choose to sit down when the Star-Spangled Banner is played at sporting events. The spirit of unity and kindness which once motivated America is collapsing. 

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman recognized the State of Israel, despite strong opposition from within his own administration. Please listen to his magnificent words: “I believe that, just like in the past, three thousand years ago, you Jews saved humanity, wild mankind, via your Torah. So too, I believe and hope that, even nowadays, you, the Jewish Nation, will be successful again, to enlighten and to heal the beasts of cruelty in our midst and save the world from total destruction.” (Miluai Shlomo by Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz)

These are the words of a non-Jew who recognizes the kedusha of Am Yisroel. And he recognizes that that kedusha is the only power which can save the world! If Hashem withdraws His blessing, everything crumbles, even mighty structures which it seemed would last forever. 

Nothing is forever except Hashem. “Ain od milvado … there is nothing but Hashem.” 

Soon may we see the erection of the mighty structure which will never collapse, the Bais Hamikdosh, whose light will bring blessing to the entire world! Then the evil ones will be powerless in the new world which is just over the horizon! 


Chessed: Kindness
Mitzraim: Biblical Egypt 

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