Is Ben Gurton as great as Moses

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Is Ben Gurton as great as Moses
Series Title:
Rabbi Herbert Baumgard Sermons
Baumgard, Herbert M. (1920-2016)
Baumgard Family
Place of Publication:
Miami, FL
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Jewish sermons
Beth Am
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Temple Beth Am
25.689812 x -80.289114


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Digitized from the private collection of the Baumgard family.

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Florida International University
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Special Collections and University Archives
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Someone once sai "From Moses to Moses Ma1mon1des. there was none unto Moses". It lauthor of that statement were alive today, he might possibly add, "There was nonelike unto Moses until David, David ben Q This man ot unusually small/stature from an unusually small countr.y has somehow physical managed to attract the admiration.of highlY respected throughout the world. CBS Television has devoted a nation-wide program to publicizing this Prime Minister of the world's newest democracy. The of Amerioa have run full .. length articles on his a recent public opinion poll voted him a more consequential person in world affairs than Nehru or Dulles What is the character of this man ,that is able to influence t h e thoughts of millions of thousands of miles'away from the desert that he inhabits: Well. you can tell a man in by the hero he admihso In' Ben Gurion's mind. the greatest man In the world, until his recent ;asssing, was Albert linsteino or Einstein, Ben Gurion said, "he is the only scientist in the world who doesn't need a laboratory. His mind 1s his laborator.yo lins tein carries with him his own tools and wherever he goes". From his admiration of Einstein we know that Ben would like most to be a scientist, and espe!ially a theoretioal scientist. one who delves into abstract theory and creates equations for future generations to olve in a practical wayo Ben Gurion would like to be above the mass of petty details which weigh down those in day to day problems. He would like to free of the responsibility of dealing with thousands of people with differing views each with his own cause to plead. In spite of B.G.'s priVate desires e er. he is a great man precisely because he is not a theoretioal scien or t ra ,st and precisely because no man ever has been more very earthy a people with unparalleCl difficultieso W. begin our of B. 0 by 1st that he is a man whose i .nte J..e.ct. soars above the problems of with the great minds of the past and yet his holds him to the task Bf building a homeland for a people which has found and still finds enemies on every side In spite ot B.G' s to deal with the world's long-range abz.nset problems" he shows a profound sensitivity for needs of a few people searching to find meaning in history for themselves and their descenden.s. To a visiting he once said, is amazing to think that there were only 102 passengers on the Mayfiower yet from that beginning grew up this great phenoTnenon called America. 0 you have given the world a new concept of democracy". To understand the rarity of this ability to associate the importance of small beginnings to great endings, you have to contrast with this, the statement of President Eisenhower who said a few years ago, "We cannot send arms to Israel. After all there are 40 million Arabs and only a million and a half Jews"l Ben-Gurion would Eisenhower, If'the early Americans had reasoned only in terms of numbers, they would never have had tb,-. presumption to attempt. to win America, from the, Indians.tA-,.". n...c.. .. Someone once said, "The present 1s a cross-section of the future". B. Q. uniquely thinks in these terms. To him, a small event in the is immediately enveloped by past associations and future projections. To hime. therefore, and quantity are not important. When a boatload_or arrives in Haifa, he sees merely these new, hopeful but untrained recruits, but the hundreds of thousands of Jews who entered Israel from Egyp under MOses, and the hundreds of thousands of Jews who will enter Israel in the future to live on the that the new recruits will salvage from the deserto To B.Go the Bible is more than a Book of Faith, it is at once an historical lesson and a promise for the future. studies the Bible intently not merely to obtain spiritual guidance, but to gain praotical lessons for the building of modern Israelo There 1s no doubt that he has a conviction of the fulfillment of the promise of the Return and he is convinced that Israel today is writing a new chapter of the Bible, no less holy and no less meaningful than the previous chapters ....-.----


pI 2 r '*-'I' one day a member-of own political party, the out office, obviously upset. Gesturing helplessly, he said. discuss anything I speak or yesterday, and he talka about )000 yrs ago. I speak of tomorrow and he discusses 2000 y'rs from now. It is like trying to talk about todays meat shortage with Moses and 1 s o man who won't be 10m for few thousand Although B.G. would be classified in America as a Reform Jew or perhaps the truth is that even the Ortyodox respect him. To them personality. H not only knows the Bible, he seems to be a t.t@'il t In of B.G., Robert St. John writes, "other men quote history. B.G. gives the impression that who act with him are living and creating history"' o . mne of the great teachers represented in our Talmud declared The work is great the workers are few and the Master or the House is urgent". B. G. does not seem to say that he a ote on God' s orders, but he has almost a sense about his rolehiinhhistory. Heh1mspaTrehs nheitheir hih m iseh 1 h r nlori thosie aroulndl httmh 1!.8dTatneing cause w c consumes e orne n wee ves s SJ!la .,; e Ie. ..... is sparse; the tood is bumble; his wages are $400 a month; he i in a polo shirt; he drives European car. About himself, B. Go is austere and purit.anical. He would be a misrit ihVXmerica. We would call him a failure, beeause he could not accu!alate material as et. In early America, however, he be lea er among the pi.neers, s gat they understocxi, d1g6f y, and destiny. Men like Jefferson and Franklin would sympathize with his religious fiews and share his bent towards philosophy Like them he has a belier in the limitless potential of : T understand B.G. and modern Israel, we to go baok to early American, to problems and to its leaders. Placed against the modern backdrop he would seem to be an overzealous busy-body, too well-informed, overly articulal;;, too idealistic. Eisenhower seeks his relaxation in golfing, but Thomas Jefferson relaxed by reading Philosophy So Ben Gurion. 'He has beoome one of the world's authori ties on the great Greek philosopher Plato,. he reads in the original Greek. A foreign diplomat who vis ts with him is startled to rind the conversation swinging from the problem of Egyptian troop in the Qaza strip to the notion of using the army as a t>raintng ground for. ,'T. r. -" s. Plato conceived of di vidtDg the ideal nation 3 groups, the. workers, the soldeiera, and the philosopher-kin B. G. conceives of be all or these 3 tbings, a worker, a soldier, D and a philosopher. In truth, G. 1s all of these things. B.G. 1s like G Washington in 1 n. he is essentially a man of peace who trained himself to defend his country against those who w6uid deprive it or its right to freedom. He is like in world roblems not only 1n the realm or polities but in matters '98 fi{t;sGa lif'e. He is unlike amost any American president i d his combination or experience and virttes. Perhaps he is most like Lincoln, in bhat he had t humble beginnings, was, sumstantially selr-taught is a plain man, a chamption of soeial justice, and was unwittingly drawn into a war 1n which he had to be the commander in chief. If we ask *8 B.G. as great as some or reat Americans, we must answer that he obviously has similar a n d =again in recurring Is B. G. the leader or the new sta of Israel as great as the Moses of ld? There are some who will insist that he is. Certainly the two men share much ih common. Moses redeemed his people from bondage. He led them out of Egypt. Ben Gurion led his people out of to Israel as a young man when few Jews had the oourage or the vision to come there. Moses came wit h 600mOOO Jews, the Bible tells us. B. G. came with a Moses could gain strength trom the vast lUmber of people who were with him. B.G. had only a vision to cOBsole him. Yet the people were soon to come, not led by B.G. but driven by perseoutors, and they found B.G. waiting for them, with a plan and with a dream. To be sure there were other Jewish leaders during this period. but it is in the comparison or leaders that the stature or B.G. emerges. On the one hand there was Chaim Weitzman who became the 1st


). ., .. . .. M ""i had 00 real power Weitzman had obtai71ed President 9fthe new a position whioh a promise from Britain after the fst world war that a Jewish state would be in Israel but long atter had become a major enemy to the struggling Palestenian Jewish community, Weitzman insisted that the only hope for the was thru the benevelent mercy of Britain. The tragic failure of this hope came when Britain refused to permit Jews stru.ggling to flee Hitler to enter PalestinEi lest the Arabs be disturbed Brish 011 rights be threatened. Weitzman was the gifted chemist &Ad dtpIimat who was convinced that the only hope lay in the diplomatic approach through the great western powers. Another potential Israeli leader was Vladimir Jabatinsky, magnificent orator, who headed a group of ext.remists. view was that the Jews whould attempt to carve out a in the Middle-east without regard to the rights opinions of any nation large or small. Heir to his views was the Irgun and Stem gang which wanted to terrorize the Arabs and take an eye for an eye s life for a Den Gurion had the seemingly task of conYincing the well-meaning absu.'lo111st followers of Weitman and the fanatic followers of Jabatinsky d and the Irgun that hiLJlay was the of building a strong new He offered an empirical solution, to build not by getting the great nations to present us with a gift; nQr by sweeping aside the Arabs, but from the ,he must .become workers on the land. r eoeem the soldiers. They must be prepared to land they redeem. Israel, he taught, BUst be developed by Jews and defended by Jews of the aid of foreign powers, but Israelis must never become terrori. Ithe arabs too, he said, have legitiamate problems we must help them to solveo History .as proven B.Ge to be dramatioally correct. 'Weitzman's infiuenoe #.1 watned as the big powers one by one betrayed Israel, most of hope. The Irgun was crushed by B. Go ...c-t:::r" '}-<" )v-. d VkJl.--' .. l?VP, __ 'J 0v--Cl / I rT\4?-<..:2.-/ II/ e, &-' tv...1 VI (]Av-aA If the Irgl)n }YHi not b Jen crushed with such a bu t dan g :!rcu s action by B .G., tbe govt. of tOd8Y might well .be th is ext r .:wis t f'"c t ion, p fac t tha t would be eL1braSs 1 rg to Jews. iIbr,uQ)( W 0 r ld. Had Is r p, 1 '\Ii a i t d with vI e i tme.. n f () r a s ho VI of nero s: ty from Bri t8 in and the West, Isrr:lel VI ould not toda.y be a free natl on IsrqeI exists today not merely because of the historic drive of thls neo-ple, but because the right man was t here to Ie ad them in hour of opportunity. /' f This warl3 a man who sought to develop IsrR 1 t hru 3 cbannels ttl at 0 Vlorker () n the 41and, the sold i er defend in po n i!4 1C':Jnd, and ph110-ewho Vif S 8nd dtsT'ensor ("l-P P;O'lrl. 1{e lS seekll t o t to "huiid himself in this image, but to build every in this irlP port of his motivation is his b J th a l}eople of unusual He them a "m1l'eOJ RIrOngla the nationstt He haR said, n we are sons of H ceri:aln fan1lly. It is not only a Hebrew fRrlily. Pronerly s peaking, it as e unversal family. Its Age is eternity ; its home is the ts ,I is faith; jts is lib Jrty; Rnd its name 18 res1stance By reistRnce he meant not only .to s orlJresor' s but res istence to all forms of tyranny and lnJUtlt1ce.


-... 1<, JJ .. B. G. tba.t the of Isreel is eternity. w rrofound clue to his understClnding of m is e cting ndlt in the but in et .... in a living past, and to a living to all Israel, his own highly developed sense of historic and purposeful awareness. When the UN comMission visited IsrFlel, he s aid to the delegFlt'3s, "More than ;)00 yrs ago a. ship by the name 0 f:ruT ayfl O'v er 1 eft Plymouth for the Hew Vlorld. It 'iN as a event in Amerucan And 1TInglish history. I wonder hovr many Engl ishLlen ['.nd how many know expctly the date when thRt ship left Plymouth pnd row many peap] e were on that ship, a.nd what was t he kind of br'B"" those peopJ. e ate when they left Plymoutb'? Some of the SMiled, some shook their heRd.s. II) ell, B .G. co nt inued, more than 3300 ago, the JeVlts left Egyp.t It was 3000 Y1"S before the rayflower. But every Jew in the world knoes the exact date. It Was the 15th c Nisan. The they was matxah. It In this way did BG attempt to e:jJpJa in to non-Jews the attachment of the Jews to t he so i1 of Israel a.nd to the historic continuity of the Jews. Wnen BG resigned his position at the helm of th6 nation a few yrs ago be Was asked by his friends why he was going to leave tl'l! coYnforts of hi s home in establ ished Isre el tcb bec one. wo rki rg member of a. 'P ioneer kibbutz in the desert. He rep 1 ied 4'uot. t te prophet HAbpkkuk, ItThe righteous man by nis faith. He will not 'Dr e a c h too t be r s 'VI ill not a. c t the s a i nt by c ell in g 0 n 0 til e r s to live ,iustly,' n0t look for in butJ!r 3e e his f th in hi s ly J i f"tfa, He .. 1 ive i .t.,;". vfhen he en I c ar which VIas to tClke him av/ay, Pi'i' Around with teArs in their eyes, B. G. waved his the desert and s,qid, "Do not weep. Follo\A] melt, --. t