I was visiting a patient in a healthcare facility last night and was asked by a non-Jewish nurse about the various spellings (in English) and pronunciations (in English and Hebrew) of a certain Hebrew word she had heard on television and seen in print. I explained the differences were due to Ashkenazic and Sefardic pronunciations. We spoke for a moment about Jewish history and then she said, “But soon you’ll all go back there, won’t you?” She then went on to say that the more Jews in Israel, the easier it will be for us to control the land.
But her reference was to the messianic era, and we returned to that. I briefly explained the Jewish point of view regarding Geula, going back to Israel, et cetera, including the hope that illness and death will be no more.
That spun into a deeper conversation in which I noted that, after the Holocaust, it’s difficult to believe much of this. So much suffering, so much death …
She responded that we all need more faith. I indicated my less than perfect faith. And then she said, “You move away and then come back, move away and come back again. You always come back. You always will come back. You come from good stock and you’ll always return to your source.”
The essence of Israel’s situation and of Breslover Hasidut explained in a few brief moments by a kindly non-Jewish nurse. Amazing.