Monday, June 20, 2011

Better off with the Yellow Star Sometimes

I mentioned the Louis IX story to one of my friends, and explained that the Yellow Star, the Yellow Badge, the Patch of the Ten Commandments, the Blue Circle have all been around for more than 1000 years, all the way back to the Jews' lives in Moslem communities.
I read that Jews always had to be identified as Jews.
Even when they were bathing, since they couldn't wear clothing, they had to wear medallions to signify that they were Jews.
She was very surprised.
Then I thought about it. Throughout the centuries the Jews have been wearing yellow badges or other identification symbols. We survived them, B"H.
What we have had more difficulty surviving are those decades when we didn't have to show we were Jewish, when we could melt into any society easily (and we did), when we were "one of the boys" somewhere.
The Jewish people were never created to be "one of the boys." We were created to be a nation that stands alone. Even our ancestor Abraham was the one from the "other side".
When we are on the "other side" of the world, we do fine. We've got Hashem with us, and we will survive and thrive. But when we try to melt into other societies, the result is that our people melt away.
So, if you're Jewish, remember you're Jewish. It may be easier (even if it's unpleasant) to wear a yellow star or a medallion, but do your best to remember every day that you are Jew. You were born and you exist to be a light unto the nation, an example of loving-kindness and an advertisement for G-d, the Creator of Everything.

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