Friday, October 27, 2006

Shame and Honor

I Translated the following paragraph from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David. Rubin Mass Ltd. published it in 1987 in English in Jerusalem. The translation is courtesy of Oren Mass.
But ultimately, the sign which the enemies of the Jews intended as a sign of shame was adopted in 1948 by the reborn Jewish State as a sign of honor, and made part of its official flag.
As Professor Gershom Scholem said: 
The sign which in our days has been sanctified by suffering and dread has become worthy of illuminating the path of life and reconstruction. Before ascending, the path led down into the abyss; there the symbol received its ultimate humiliation, and there it won its greatness.

In this context, it should be mentioned that the same desire to convert intended shame into honor led to the adoption of the name "Israel" for the reborn state. Nazi Germany added the name Israel to the passports and identity cards of all Jews (Sarah in case of females) to brand them. The Jewish state, on the other hand, honored this ancient Biblical term and adopted it as its name.
There is a striking parallel in the Biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the angel of his hostile brother Esau, and of being named Israel just before his return to his homeland, where he adopted this name as his own.
Thus, since 1948, Judaism, Israel and the Star of David have been linked. Moreover, the Star is not only the flag symbol of the state of Israel, it has become the sign with which Jewish communities can identify, whether orthodox or liberal, in Israel or abroad, in the free world or in countries where Jews, and often other minorities, cannot express their identity openly.
But it took the blood of six million victims of the Shoah crying to heaven before most nations were willing to concede independence to Israel, and honor this symbol.