Does your life follow a pattern? Do you move every ten years? Do you take a new job every five years?
Sometime we surprise ourselves when we look closely. Patterns emerge we never imagined.
It happens with nations and communities well. A recent article alerted me to a startling pattern in recent Jewish history. It centers around the number seven.
Seven has always been a crucial number for Jews. We have seven days of creation in the Bible, the seven fat cows and seven thin cows in ancient Egypt, and the seven-wicked Menorah that stood in the Jerusalem Temple.
But it seems seven has reappeared in the modern world, especially in connection to the miraculous birth and emergence of the state of Israel.
The first Zionist congress was held in 1897. That meeting launched the political movement that would ultimately establish the modern state of Israel. The man who led and convened the meeting—Theodor Herzl—was 37 years old.
In 1917, the British government made the next giant step in building the Jewish state by issuing the Balfour Declaration, which said, “His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
Then, in 1947, 50 years after the beginning of the Zionist movement, the United Nations approved the partition plan creating a Jewish and Arab state. This was the first international recognition of a sovereign Jewish state in 2700 years.
20 years later, in 1967, that state was attacked and then emerged victorious with a miraculous victory. Its people returned to the Western Wall and reunited the holy city of Jerusalem.
In 1977 Israel welcomed Anwar Sadat, the president of Egypt and the first Arab head of state to visit the country, beginning the historic peace process with Egypt that has been one of the few political successes in the modern Middle East.
On September 6, 2007, a clandestine event whose significance we now appreciate took place. Israeli planes destroyed a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria. Some of the technology had come from North Korea. Imagine Syria today had the nuclear reaction not been destroyed.
What does 2017 hold in store? Well, Mark Twain said history doesn't always repeat, but it does rhyme. Something big will happen in 2017. Let us pray it advances the cause of hope, peace and the strength and survival of Israel.
I can think of at least 7 reasons you should pre-order my upcoming book The Happiness Prayer.