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- REJOICE, 0 ISRAEL
- 5tdem., p. 16. o Isaiah, 2:4. ‘Genesis, 13:14—16; 17:1—9.
- THE BAHA’T WORLD
et de femmes détachés d’eux-mémes, et qui, par le renoncement, ne cherchent pas seulement
assurer leur propre
salut dans Ia vie future, mais Ic saint de leurs frères ici-bas.
Kayserling, le philosophe balte allemand, voit le monde actuel en proie aux convulsions de l’enfantement, et donne ce
titre p1cm d’espoir
l’un de ses livres: “Le Monde Qui Nait.” Lui non plus ne propose pas d’autre reméde au mal dont
nous souffrons, que l’amélioration de l’individu.
Enfin, cette Société des Nations dont la faillite est une telle dCsillusion, une telle blessure pour les coeurs optimistes,
nous pourrions considerer son effondrement de plus haut, et nous y trouverions peut-être quelque consolation.
Lorsque les hommes veulent sortir de l’orniere sanglante oü us se débattent, ils ne réussissent pas toujours la premiere,
ni Ia deuxieme, ni méme la troisième fois. Napoleon avait déjà en l’idée d’une Fédération des Etats d’Europe.—”Et
pourquoi pas?” disonsnous maintenant, “puisqu’en Amérique c’est chose réalisée.” Après l’essai de Napoleon, la
tentative actuelle a encore échoue. Mais plus tard, si les commandements de Dieu sont appliqués avec le Plan de
Bahá’u’lláh aux questions de politique et d’économie politique, plus tard, si les nations se dépouillent de leur Cgoisme
national et font passer les intéréts de l’humanité avant leurs intéréts économiques particuliers, plus tard se formera une
Société des Nations du Monde qui pourra vivre et durer.
Seulement nous ne la verrons pas! Et c’est cela qui est dur! Nous qui sommes
dans le cyclone, nous ne verrons pas l’apaisement! Notre seule consolation est de croire
cette future Paix Supreme,
et d’y travailler sans défaillance, chacun dans le domaine qui nous est propre.
Chaque année, et maintenant presque de mois en mois et de semaine en semaine, nous voyons l’Humanité s’enfoncer
plus profondément dans un tunnel dont la sortie est invisible. Nous ne discernons pas la Lumière qui est an bout du
tunnel, et nous avons peur des tCnébres qui s’épaississent.
Mais cette Lumière, nous savons qu’elle existe, ne l’oublions jamais, pensons-y toujours, nous qui probablement ne
verrons pas Ia sortie du tunnel! Cette Lurnière, c’est la Venue du Royaume de Dieu, pour laquelle les hommes
n’ontjamais cessé de prier, et que tons les Prophétes de Dieu ont annoncée.
Nous ne sommes jamais humbles pour évaluer l’importance infime du moment oü nous vivons. Si nous placions ce
moment dans le temps et dans l’espace, et dans l’Univers de Dieu, nous arriverions probablement
de l’astronome, et Ia force d’Cme de saint.
Pour conclure, j’évoquerai la voix mCme d’ ‘Abdu’l-Baha.
deux ans avant la guerre mondiale, quelqu’un se lamentait devant Lui de Ia détresse du monde, détresse qui
n’a cessé d’augmenter depuis lors, d’une manière effarante.
Voici Sa réponse: “Ne soyez pas troubles:
quels que soient les événements
venir, rien n’arrivera jamais qui ne hate l’avCnement du Royaume de Dieu. Sa
volonte est supreme.”
The members of the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’Is of Karachi, India, bidding farewell to Miss Martha Root on the
occasion of her
departure for Australia and New Zealand.
REJOICE, 0 ISRAEL
THERE is one ideal of human behavior which is destined to be of common interest and special appeal to many people of all races,
classes and creeds in our present era. Even now, from the ranks of capitalist and laborer, Oriental and Occidental, Protestant and
Catholic, Jew and Gentile are arising men and women aflame with new intent to establish upon earth a civilization conceived in the
spirit of universal love and dedicated to the ideal that all men are created to live as brothers.
As this dream of spiritual world conquest calls to its banner an increasing number of heroes, the lines of the opposition accordingly
tighten, to concentrate forces in desperate struggle to check the advance of human solidarity. Cries of the conflict go up from all parts
of the globe—a civil insurrection or augmented race persecution being signs in one area, an international feud or discontent with
political or religious tyranny bearing testimony in another. It is a time of universal fermentation, and of reconsideration of
fundamental values. “A titanic, a spiritual struggle, unparalleled in its magnitude yet unspeakably glorious in its ultimate
consequences, is being waged,” states Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Bahá’i Faith. “‘We stand on the threshold of an age whose
convulsions proclaim alike the death pangs of an old order and the birth-pangs of the new.”1 “The long ages of infancy and childhood,
through which the human race had to pass, have receded into the background.
. . .
Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark
of the stage which society is now approaching.” 2
This Bahi’i vision is a magnificent one. So strangely reminiscent is it of the words of poets and prophets spoken long ago that the
human mind might naturally pause to wonder if once again men are following a will-o’-the-wisp of imagination and desire. Embracing
as it does the assurance of uni vers
1 peace, the reconciliation of science and religion, a just distribution of this world’s material goods, a common auxiliary language,
higher education for both men and women in things of mind and spirit, a more nearly perfect expression of the inherent capacities of
every human soul and international cooperation in world affairs according to divine plan, it seems in this hour an unattainable goal.
Yet the message of Bahã’u’lláh to the people of this age is intrinsically this: that the day of which Isaiah sang and St. John dreamed on
the Isle of Patmos, the day of the coming of the spirit of holiness to the earth, is at hand.
To the people of Israel Bahá’u’lláh, the new Prophet of world order, has given a special benediction and announced the reason for
great rejoicing. Their long tribulations are nearing an end. The movement for the establishment of a national home in Palestine is an
early sign of their return to that happy station of a chosen people, when by the manifestation of illumined lives, reflecting the Will, the
Knowledge and the Love of the Supreme Creator, they will proclaim to all the world: “Behold your God!” Before long the children of
Abraham shall be exalted, their dispersion changed into “blissful gathering together” and “those who are hated shall become the
beloved of the world.”3
“The time fore-ordained unto the peoples and kindreds of the earth is now come. The promises of God, as recorded in the Holy
Scriptures, have all been fulfilled,” Bahã’u’lláh testifies.4 Alike, for those modernists who have cast away faith in ancient prophecies
of all kind, even to the central belief in a Messiah and restoration of Palestine, and for the orthodox hearts who, in the face of
frustration, still cling to the scriptural
Unfoldment of World Civilization, p. 170.
2ldem., p. 202.
‘From a Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
Gleanings, p. 12.
THE BAHA’I WORLD
word, He gives the glad message: “Call out to Zion, 0 Carmel, and announce the joyful tidings: He that was hidden from mortal eyes
is come! His All-conquering sovereignty is manifest; His All-encompassing splendor is revealed. Beware lest ye hesitate or halt.
Hasten forth and circumambulate the City of God.”5
In order that we may see the picture in its proper perspective with historic background and modern setting, let us recall that vision of
Isaiah, which in similar tone was revealed to other prophets: “He (the Lord) shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many
people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against
nation, neither shall they learn war any more
Long did Israel preserve this life-giving vision in its heart, finding therein not only comfort, but a conviction of purpose and of
destiny. The sons and daughters of later Talmud years were taught also to turn to the same vitalizing ideal phrased in the challenging
words: “In God’s eyes the man stands high who makes peace between men; between husband and wife, between father and children,
between masters and servants, between neighbor and neighbor. But he stands highest who establishes peace among the nations.”
Our picture is not a complete one unless We push back further into the centuries, even to the days of Abraham, that We may view the
magnificent sweep of the spiritual drama of Israel as it unfolded through forty centuries. According to the Biblical narrative, now so
pregnant with meaning when seen in the light of Bahâ’u’llih’s Revelation, God spoke to Abraham, His Prophet: “Lift up Thine eyes,
and look from the place where Thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward and westward: For all the land which Thou seest, to
Thee will I give it, and to Thy seed forever. And I will make Thy seed as the dust of the earth; so that if a man can number the dust of
the earth, then shall Thy seed also be numbered.
. . .
I am the Almighty God: walk before me, and
be Thou perfect.
And I will make a
between Me and Thee, and will multiply Thee exceedingly.
. . .
As for Me, behold My covenant is with Thee, and Thou shalt be a father
of many nations.
. . .
And I will make Thee exceedingly fruitful, and kings shall come out of Thee. And I will establish My covenant
between Me and Thee, and Thy seed after Thee, in Their generations, for an
to be a God unto Thee, and to
Thy seed after Thee.
. . .
Thou shalt keep
therefore, Thou, and Thy seed after Thee, in their generations.”7
The Hebrew people are trying today to keep that Covenant. There is of this perhaps no greater evidence than the hope of resurrecting
once more the spirit of an illustrious heritage, which at the zenith attracted to Jerusalem even the sages of Greece, but which after the
division of the united kingdom and through centuries of separation on foreign soils found its pristine splendor dimmed. Whatever may
have been the spiritual backslidings of this unusual and chosen people, in whatever way their faith may have felt the taint of that
misinterpretation which in due time corrupts the pure message revealed to any people by a Prophet of God, however discouraged
Jewry may have been at times, it has persistently refused on the whole to be entirely separated from the belief in special destiny and
the age-long dream of righteousness, brotherly association and peace, the dawn of which Abraham foretold. So long as this ideal, born
in their souls through the spirit of Abraham and brought into expression within narrow confines of the Holy Land by Moses and a
succession of lesser prophets, so long as it remains short of complete realization—will there be Jews who continue to look f or- ward
with undaunted faith to their final deliverance as a people?
For that one hundred years prior to about 1875 enlightened Jews, those who had come in contact with western learning, believed that
they had found their Messianic age in the great measure of emancipation accorded to them by nations of the Christian World.
5tdem., p. 16.
o Isaiah, 2:4.
‘Genesis, 13:14—16; 17:1—9.
REJOICE, 0 ISRAEL
Tragic was their disappointment when experience revealed to them that they had not won freedom. Hatred and
prejudice smouldered still. Assimilation and reformation both were but partially successful. The liberal Jew who had
sacrificed nearly every vestige of his rich traditional culture and faith, found himself at the door of brotherhood with the
door closed in his face. The way back home could not be found, for faith in what his forefathers cherished he had little
by little denied, that he might sooner end his exile.
No man sees with more intelligent criticism the situation of Israel today than the thinking Jew himself. Perhaps this is,
together with the hope of renaissance in Palestine, a sign of approaching victory. The wise men of the ages have
counseled always, “Man, know thyself.” If out of humility, and by search, a deeply energizing vision may be born, the
descendants of Abraham can find joy once more. It was with the vision of a future Messiah and a future national state
at peace with the world that Israel survived, whether in the brilliance of liberal Muhammadan Spain or in the darkness
of the Ghetto. Persecution could not dim her hope as long as a flame gave any life to ancient forms. But when
corruption from a world losing faith in God and forgetful of His Plan for all men touched this point of the Torah, when
assimilation and baptism and reform desecrated the historic Holy of Holies in the recent century, Israel joined some
other nations in the march of quick disintegration. Not that baptism or longing for economic and social security, or
even the influence of western thought should have corrupted the Hebrew soul had Christianity been able to give the full
spirit of the Christ in return for priority of loyalty to traditional understanding of the Law and the Prophets, but the
nations of the west have themselves too long forfeited a profound love for God to be able to offer true fellowship, not
to say true spiritual compensation. The spirit that had moved upon the waters of human life in every renaissance of
progress from the time of Abraham to that of Jesus, that voice which later spoke through Muhammad and inspired a
civilization of great brilliance, has been
stilled by waywardness in the majority of men. And so it was that many Israelites trying at last at the desperate hour to become one
with other men through sacrifice of name and pride and traditional wealth found little reward for the soul.
If the remarkable efforts now centered in the rebuilding of Palestine meet a failure due to hostility of neighbor peoples, lack of
international justice, or failure within the heart of Israel itself, students of the Hebrew fold fear that Israel faces a strange form of
living death. They do not yet know Bahá’u’lláh’s message of gladness in rebirth, whereby they could be certain of success. They have
not yet heard that even now in Persia where Bahá’u’lláh first spoke there are communities of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and
Muhammadans living together in understanding, love and peace. They do not yet know that in the future without sacrifice of the
eternal values of their rich past
their literature, their language or their inspiration—they may be one with a world community of
nations, where unity rules the essentials of common intercourse and diversity gives beauty to the whole.
“The Jews are faced with something much worse than mere assimilation or race death,” believes one of their most erudite leaders,
Maurice Samuel. “They are moving, precisely at a time when their lot threatens to become ‘harder than ever before, toward the mass
imbecility which characterizes the world spirit of our time.”8
At that precise time when a multitude of diverse opinions and little unity marked the mind of Israel and a passionate desire for a better
life took hundreds of Jews into the Gentile world, where neither by faith or religious form, manner or wish, they could be definitely
known from the Christian, persecution broke out anew and with special vehemence where assimilation had been most complete. It is
this persecution which is awakening Jews everywhere to the hope that may lie in returning to the folk ethos of their own people.
Therein they desire to win at last, in brave loyalty to Judaism, the admiration, if not the love, of liberal nations and what is even more
important, hope to renew within themselves, through asso8 Lewisolin, Ludwig, Rebirth, p. 318.
THE BAHA’T WORLD
ciation with historic sources of land and literature, the spirit that made Israel of old a chosen people of God.
“The appearance of Zionism on the modern scene is half a miracle,” writes Milton Steinberg, seeming to sense in some measure the
hand of Providence in the late-hour activity. “So far,” he continues, “it has worked surprisingly well. Should it fail in the end, the odds
are that Israel is lost, its culture doomed, the personality of the individual Jew fated to protracted, if not permanent, maladjustment.
. . .
It infuses the drabness of Jewish existence with a spirit of adventure. It affords a dramatic purpose analogous to older dreams of a
. . .
It has opened new vistas of hope.”9 To the assiduous research and the illumined thinking of future historians
must be left the last word concerning the detailed factors of causation in the continued existence of Israel as a people and the even
more phenomenal rebirth which began at the close of the nineteenth century under the leadership of such heralds of change as Moses
Hess, Leon Pinsker, Theodor Herzl, Aaron David Gordon and Aachad Ha’am. It is clear now, however, that if faithfulness to tradition
and to ritualistic forms and to an indomitable conviction of a brilliant future kept Israel homogenous and lent some elements to the
prolonged survival, so also, and perhaps with greater urgency, all anti-Semitic oppression influenced Jewry to remain one body.
Recent persecution in middle Europe, on the basis of nationality and race rather than of religion, has served to renew Jewish solidarity
when it was approaching final collapse. “It is not impossible that we might be wholly absorbed by the surrounding population if we
were ever permitted to live in peace for the full space of two generations,” wrote Herzl. “We never are.”10
“To what kind of a community do we bear witness when we call ourselves Jews? What means this journey of ours through abyss?”
questioned the eloquent pen of Martin Buber. “Shall we fall into oblivion through the mist of the millennium or does some primal
force bear us onward to a fulfillment? What does it mean that we will to persist, not only as human beings, human spirit and human
seed, but in defiance of
the ages, in defiance of time itself
Bahá’u’lláh’s interpretation of past and present and His forecast of the future can perhaps be understood by consideration of the
following four topics, which taken together reveal the cause of Jewish rebirth to be under the direction of God:
1) The return of the Jews to Palestine was actually foreseen by Biblical prophets.
It is of this, testifies Bahi’u’llih, that Jeremiah wrote: “And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have
driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
. . .
Behold I will bring them from the north
country and gather them from the coasts of the earth.
Therefore they shall come and sing in the heart of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine,
and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden.
. . .
And there is hope in thine end,
saith the Lord, for thy children shall come again to their own border.”
In view of the present knowledge of historic events, the truth of the prophecies begins to clear, even to the conception of Israel being
saved from complete spiritual dispersion by a new purification through God’s Will—a Will that ruled sanctification be a factor in the
coming to birth of a spiritual order of maturity for mankind. In this light the sufferings of Jewish existence appear not too high a price
to pay for ultimate spiritual attainment.
2) The remarkable restoration of the Holy Land is not motivated to any extent by desire to fulfill prophecies, or even by belief that
prophecies would soon be fulfilled, but is propelled largely by forces beyond Jewish control. This suggests that the Unseen power of
God may be working out an ancient plan.
Although the first attempts for colonization of Palestine by Jews began before the opening of the twentieth century they were
The Making of the Modern Jew, p. 294.
o. cit., p. 28.
not notably successful nor were they supported by the approval of the majority of enlightened Jews in the West. Furthermore,
numerous Jewish colonies were established in other regions than Palestine. This is highly significant for
indicates that the motivation
was chiefly the hope of bettering social and cultural and even economic conditions of living.
With the new tides set in motion by the World War three other forces appeared to hasten colonization and to concentrate Jewish
capacities in the promising Holy Land venture, which is now literally making the desert to rejoice and blossom as the rose and the
wilderness and solitary place to be glad. One is the Balfour Declaration favoring “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for
the Jewish people
being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing
non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”2 From this hour,
said, a new spirit came to animate the Jewish people. In
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