A Chanukah Miracle in the Making - An Open Letter to Noar L'man Pollard
Special to IMRA - December 17, 2003
by Jonathan Pollard - FCI Butner, NC, USA.
If anyone had told me years ago that I would go into prison and emerge one day, after many years, with thousands of children who bear my name, I would have thought them mad!
But indeed that is the miracle which has taken place! Noar L'man Pollard, the thousands of youngsters who belong to the Pollard Youth Movement in Israel are all my children! Each and every one of you is precious to me, and I could not be prouder or happier that you carry my name. You are a credit to our People and bring honor to G-d and Torah. And each one of you is as dear to Esther and me as if you were blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh - because in fact you are!
Beloved Youth, you are G-d's secret weapon. You are the seeds of redemption which He planted at the start of my incarceration so many years ago. You are the hope for Israel and you are the future of the Jewish People.
In our darkest moments, when Esther and I become discouraged, worn out, disappointed, and so exhausted that we feel we just can't go on, we remind each other of our beautiful children who are fighting for us in Zion, and we are immediately comforted and cheered.
Today, in Israel, our People live under the weight of enormous illusions. Illusions about who our friends are; and illusions about who our enemies are. We have a Government in our homeland that rushes about in a mad frenzy to free murderers and terrorists, and that declares its determination to uproot Jews and give away the Jewish homeland to our sworn enemies. This Government, a continuation of all its G-dless predecessors for the last 50 years, keeps inventing logical-sounding lies to convince us why committing national suicide is good for us as a People!
And the Jewish People in the Land of Zion, what are they to believe when they are told incessantly that we are a "beggar people" utterly dependent on the American Overlord for our survival financially and militarily? That in order to survive we must make "painful concessions"? That we must free those who wantonly murder our wives and children and slaughter our sons in blatant terrorist warfare? That we must hand over our homes and our land - our very lifeblood - to the enemy, for this is the only way to appease our American benefactor?
There are times in the life of our Nation, such as the era of the Purim story, where all of the Jewish Nation unites, repents as one, prays together with pure undivided attention, and cries out to Heaven as one. Heaven responds to our unity and we are saved and redeemed as a Nation, through miraculous divine intervention.
There are other times in the life of our Nation, such as the era of Chanukah, when dark forces from within and without divide our People. These destructive influences labor assiduously under numerous guises, such as liberalism, humanism, Hellenism, Americanism and Oslo-ism, to cut us off from G-d and Torah, from our Jewish roots, from our traditions and from our Land. But most of all, to cut us off from each other.
At such times, try as we might, we are simply incapable of uniting as one People; incapable of harnessing the miraculous redemptive power of Jewish unity, and we appear doomed to destruction because we are simply too fragmented to save ourselves.
When the best that we can do as a People is to produce a small core of heroic Jews, united and willing to act on behalf of the Nation, Heaven lowers the bar for us, and accepts our repentance through this united core. Their unity stands in our merit and their actions are credited to all. Heaven responds in the merit of the few, and the many are saved - miraculously redeemed and restored - in spite of all odds. So it was at the time of the original Chanukah story, and so it will be again in our day.
Just as in the time of Chanukah and the Maccabees, we are today so assimilated, so browbeaten, so tired and worn out by oppression from within, that protesting the lies and the betrayal by our leaders is simply more than we seem able to bear. As a People we desperately want to believe our elected leaders. We want to believe that they know best. We want to believe that if we bare our throats to the enemy, they will not slit them but will, instead, declare a lasting peace with us for generations to come. But we know, deep in our hearts, that peace with those sworn to our destruction will never come about through weakness and capitulation.
So why do we keep caving in? Why don't we fight? Why do we not stand united as a People and cry out to HaShem for help, and tell our leaders: Enough! You MAY NOT free murderers and terrorists. You MAY NOT uproot Jewish homes and families from Jewish Land! You MAY NOT give weapons, training and funds to our sworn enemies! You MAY NOT betray our national heritage by handing over our homeland to the enemy. And you MAY NOT make a false G-d out of America! Not for us! Not for one minute more will we tolerate any of this!
The problem lies in the bottom line: Either the People of Israel puts its faith in G-d, or puts its faith in America. Sadly, for now it is America that has the Jewish People's vote of confidence, not G-d, and we seem to be barreling forward to our own destruction.
For 18 years the Pollard case has been the miner's canary for the Jewish People. When G-d entrusted me to the American Justice System, it was their choice how to live up to this trust. For 18 years the Americans have used me as a weapon to punish and humiliate Israel and the American Jewish community. For nearly 2 decades the Americans have chosen to lie about me, to keep me buried alive in prison, to afflict me, to falsely accuse me of things I did not do, to cheat on their promises, and to undermine truth and justice at every turn. This lack of faithfulness by the US is not just about my freedom. This is about Israel. About Israel's right to survive. About Israel's right to be treated with the same dignity and respect as any other nation.
America's treatment of me has always been a test for Israel and the Jewish People to stand up for truth and justice. Israel has failed the test over and over and over again for 18 years because its leaders fear the Americans more than they fear G-d.
Equally damning has been Israel's complicity in my mistreatment and in the prolongation of my incarceration. For 18 years Israeli leaders have cooperated with my American tormentors and jailers with the same zeal and enthusiasm that they now bring to freeing murderers and terrorists, to dividing our holy capital of Jerusalem, to uprooting Jewish homes and settlements and to handing over our national homeland to our sworn enemies. Only a blind man would fail to see that my abandonment is in microcosm the abandonment of the Jewish People at large by Hellenized, power-hungry, craven and cowardly leaders.
But just as in the time of Chanukah when a small but mighty band of everyday heroes arose, today another heroic band of brave Jews has arisen to go forward to do battle on behalf of the Jewish People. That group of everyday heroes calls itself Noar L'man Pollard (the Pollard Youth Movement.)
As the ranks of Noar L'Man Pollard continue to swell, the Voice of Judea Magazine has coined a popular expression: "It is uncertain if today's youth can save Pollard, but it is certain that Pollard has saved the youth of today."
When I first heard this expression, it troubled me greatly, for it sounded as if I aspired to some kind of leadership role, and it seemed to ascribe to me an image that makes me very uncomfortable - one that I have never sought nor desired. But then recently, one of our best young activists, Adi Ginzburg, explained this popular saying to Esther and me in a way that not only made sense, but also made us rejoice. Here is what this very special teenager said:
"Thanks to the efforts of people like Nissan GanOr, Asher Mivtzari and others in the Pollard movement, today's youth - most of us were not even born when Jonathan was arrested - are becoming aware of Jonathan's actions on behalf of Am Yisrael and of the years of punishment and affliction he has endured for his efforts on our behalf.
"The Pollard story is a shock to us. It forces us to think. It forces us to examine our own values and morals and makes us dig deep to find answers to the most existential questions: Who are we? What are we? What do we stand for? What is the meaning of Nationhood? Where do I stand vis a vis my People? and so on.
"The more we young people confront the Pollard case, the more we are forced to ask questions that bring us face to face with the most basic Jewish values. The more we stand up for Pollard, the more we understand the interconnectedness of the Jewish People and our responsibility to each other, to our Land and to our G-d, as a nation. And that is how, inadvertently, Jonathan is slowly, slowly bringing youth to awareness of our great tradition and of our national heritage. That is how he is teaching us to value our homeland and our solidarity with it and with each other."
What a breath of fresh air Adi's words were to us! And how true! My case is a vessel through which G-d is calling his Holy People back to Him and back in line with Torah-true values and Torah-true lives. Standing up for truth and justice for me, is part and parcel of the same struggle that we face today in standing up for national and territorial integrity and in standing up for our right to national security without an enemy population lodged in our very midst. Forcing Jewish leaders to take responsibility, to stop cowering before the goyim, and to do what is good and true in G-d's eyes, applies not only to the individual and the mitzvah of pidyan shvuyim, but to the redemption of the whole House of Israel in the Land of Israel!
Beloved Youth, we see in you G-d's promise that there is a future not only for us, but more importantly for Am Yisrael. May G-d bless you and take you from strength to strength. May He fulfill in you the blessings of Chanukah to
"... deliver the Mighty into the hands of the Weak, and the Many into the hands of the Few, and the Impure into the hands of the Pure, and the Wicked ones into the hands of the Righteous, and the Evil ones into the hands of the Torah-true, and in so doing to establish for Himself a Great Name throughout His world, and for Am Yisrael redemption and relief!"
May Esther and I soon be home to light the Chanukah candles with you, this year in Jerusalem, and to celebrate the miracles that HaShem does for us today, as He did for our forefathers in days of old.
My Cherished and Beloved Children, may you be worthy of G-d's miracles and may you be the vessel through which redemption comes to me and to the Land and People of Israel, speedily in the wink of an eye! Amain! Ken yihi ratzon!