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    Not my people, not my wife – B’midbar

    The haftarah is from Hosea and makes an analogy between the prophet’s wife and the Israelite people.

    Hosea’s wife became involved with questionable activities and the question was whether she could be called Lo-Ishti – “Not my wife”. The people of Israel were not always loyal to God and the equivalent question was whether they should be called Lo-Ammi – “Not My people”.

    Without going into too much detail about Hosea’s wife, the prophet had to make up his mind as to whether she could return to the fold. Likewise, God had to decide whether He would become reconciled to the people with whom He had entered a covenant.

    Transpose the scene to the 21st century. What would God say about the Jewish people of today – Ammi or Lo-Ammi?

    In straightforward mathematical terms, He could ascertain how many Jews pray regularly, eat kosher, keep Shabbat, study the holy books and follow the commandments. As a result, He might well feel very let down and be tempted to say, Lo-Ammi.

    He might take a more dynamic approach and look not only at the cold statistics but at the trends. The growing numbers of committed Jews would then presumably be something of a comfort, a chatzi n’chamah, to Him.

    However, over and above the statistical situation, He must recognise that we are an ever-challenged people who have gone through fire and water to remain Jewish and who at this very moment are constantly barraged by traducers and detractors whose dearest wish is for us to abandon our identity and our State.

    Whether or not we identify being Jewish with calling upon the Name of the Lord, we have no intention to resign from His service. We may tease Him but we would be shocked if He abandoned us.

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