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Bamidbar: The Jubilee of the Six-Day War: What Have We Learned?

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Today is the 50th anniversary – the Jubilee celebration – of the miraculous victory of the Six-Day-War: Iyar 26-Sivan 2 5767/1967.

Let us look at this victory – what exactly did we win, and are we still winning? Was it a conquest of land alone, or was there a deeper significance to the victory? And perhaps the biggest question of all: Why were we unable to convert the great victory a half-century ago into a lasting peace? What went wrong, and what can we do about it today?

With Israel and the Middle East still in turmoil, with no signs of terrorism abating around the world, as tragically demonstrated in this week’s brutal murders of innocent children in Manchester – what have we learned over the past 50 years? What lessons can the miraculous events of 1967 teach us today?

50 years is both a long time and a short time. In 50 years a person could accomplish worlds. For a people who have been around for 4,000 years, 50 years could seem like a drop in the bucket.

50 years is a Jubilee, a time when, as the Torah verse from last week states, You shall proclaim with shofar blasts… And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year, and proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live on it. It shall be a Jubilee for you, and you shall return, each man to his legacy, and you shall return, each man to his family.

In the 50th year we are compelled and obligated to blast and proclaim liberty, to return to our inheritance and legacy, to reunite with our family. What can this Jubilee teach us about proclaiming liberty, returning to our inherent legacy, and reuniting with our family?

A combination of insights, anecdotes, and the prescient vision of the Lubavitcher Rebbe about the events that transpired 50 years ago – “the call of the great shofar” – provide us with tremendous, piercing insight and direction for our present turbulent times.

Note: Due to the importance and relevance of the message to our times, this sermon is longer than usual, to give you more material to use for the coming week. For your convenience it is divided into two parts. (Additionally: .some of the sections are marked optional). You can choose to use all (or part) of it for this Shabbos, or alternatively, use Part I for this Shabbos, and Part II for Shavuot.

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