Blast from the Past: Judaism for the Gentiles
Rabbi Moshe Avigdor Amiel zt”l
Though rarely discussed today, the San Remo Conference of April 1920 was a critically important milestone in the creation of the modern State of Israel. World leaders and dignitaries from Europe and America gathered in the Italian Riviera where, after intense deliberation, they adopted the San Remo Resolution, which shaped the future political landscape of the Middle East.
The international council affirmed the 1917 Balfour Declaration, recognizing the “historical connection of the Jewish people to Palestine and the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” The de jure sovereignty of Palestine was vested in the Jewish people, though it would only come into practical effect with the expiration of the British Mandate in 1948.
World Jewry immediately recognized the awesome significance of the San Remo Resolution. Spontaneous celebrations broke out in cities all over the world, as the Zionist dream appeared to be on the cusp of fulfillment. The breakthrough dominated the pages of HaMizrachi, where the era’s leading Religious Zionists highlighted and interpreted San Remo’s religious significance. Rabbi Moshe Avigdor Amiel, one of Mizrachi’s most penetrating thinkers, published a series of articles titled “San Remo and Jerusalem” in the months following the conference. The following excerpt is from the July 19, 1920 edition of HaMizrachi.
The crucial element of our true redemption is this: It is not only the “Jewish question” that is important for the gentiles, but also the “Judaism question”. Meaning, it is not only the Jewish people who need Judaism – the entire world needs Judaism! The nations of the world need the spirit of Judaism. These are the “final days” spoken of by the prophets.
It is axiomatic that “the world needs bread and freedom”. But in truth, this need will never be filled so long as the world is lacking holiness and purity, so long as the world is immersed in the fiftieth level of impurity.
It’s true that this prophetic hope for the “end of days” seems far off in the distance, but the day will surely come, even if it tarries.
The voice of the prophets was always like a voice calling out in the wilderness. But the voice of one who calls out in the wilderness will surely echo, and one who does not hear the original call itself may still hear the echo…