Faith & Hope
"For I am the Lord: I change not; therefore ye Sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Mal. III, b).
My dear Congregants: There is a beautiful legend related in the Talmud which runs as follows: On the day of their creation the trees rejoiced and each exultingly praised its own good qualities. ( The Lord has planted me exclaimed the lofty cedar. Firmness & fragrance, durability & strength are united in me." The mercy of the Lord has planted me as a blessing cries the shady palm tree." Beauty & utility are combined in me." The apple tree shouted "I stand glorious among the trees, like the Sun admidst the celestial hosts." And said the myrtle "Like the rose among thorns I stand distinguished among my kindred, the underwood. ) All of them boasted; the fig tree of its fruit, the olive of its richness, the pine of its stateliness & even the fir tree found reason for which to rejoice. The vine alone remained drooping and silent. To me, it mournfully said, everything seems denied; of stem nor branches, of blossom, nor fruit can I boast. Yet such as I am I shall wait in silent hope." It sank down and its tendrils wept in sorrow and solitude. Not long did it wait & weep. For behold, the
newly-created Lord of the earth, kind-hearted man approached. He saw a feeble plant, a play-thing to the winds, sunk low as if imploring his aid. In pity he raised it and wound the tender tree round his arbour. Joyfully the air saluted the glowing vine, the heat of the sun penetrated its hard grains, and prepared that sweet moisture, the most precious beverage of man. Decked out in the fulness of its rich grapes, the vine bent down to its preserver; he tasted its refreshing juice and called the vine his friend. The proud trees envied the feeble plant, for its fruit was more valued than theirs; but it rejoiced in its slender stem and the accomplishment of its hope. Therein in the words that breathe the very freshness & poetry of God's creation lies the inspiring lesson of hope and patience. As often as Israel has been compared to a bride, so often has our nation been likened to the tender vine. How often has Israel been rendered the central figure of the world, round whom all the nations have exulted and in whose Sorrow they have maliciously rejoiced. History records the time when in the dark ages of ignorance & fanaticism, Israel was denied
the liberty, the happiness, the joy that was extended to their neighbours, aye the very air of the bright morn. Pent up and herded together in stifling slums, bound in the iron fetters of cruel & barbarous laws, they languished in sorrow and solitude, they rent their garments in the bitterness of their hearts, until the Devine Ruler looked down with compassion upon his suffering children & illumined the darkness of their life with the rays of eternal hope. Throughout Israel's chequered career, the one solitary source of consolation that shone with ever brightening lustre was the occasional gleams of God's light that, like the still small voice, seemed to whisper into their attent ears good tidings of peace. "Fear ye not, for I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Like the tender & feeble vine, Israel has been forever & anon made the butt of ridicule & contempt, of scorn & contumely. Yet though small in number, they grew to be a mighty power in the history of mankind, a moral & intellectual power that brought upon them the envy & jealousy of the nations. Many Pharaohs have arisen in various quarters of the globe with the evil
intent to strike the fatal blow upon Israel, with the impious notive of trying to blot them off the face of the Earth. But like the very Empires
of over which they tyranically ruled, they have crumbled into the dust of their Mother Earth. Israel's faith and hope have proved through the test of harsh & bitter experience to be as strong & as lasting as the very religion of their birth. The light of the pure monotheistic faith burns within the recesses of the Jewish heart, even now, with as bright a lustre as it did in times of yore. We display it more conspicuously than ever at this season of the year by the rallying of our forces. Armed with this undying faith in the truth and the eternity of Judaism, Israel has demonstrated to the world his strength & stability. Now, if ever, on this last day of Penitence, the solemnity of the occasion must have exterted some influence over us.| If the truth and the viatlity of our religion will have settled in our hearts & souls as an abiding vision, if on this day, we become convinced of the purity of its doctrines and of the sympathetic love for mankind that runs through them; if we, moreover, this day, leave this sacred place of worship
with the feeling and conviction that the link which binds us to our God and to our religion has been strengthened; if we realise the true relation that does & should exist between God & Man, between Man & his fellow-creatures, between parents and children, then we may indeed rest assured that our prayers have risen to God's own throne of Majesty like a sweet savour. We may then rest our heads upon our pillows at peace with our God as with our conscience. What we need in these days of materialism is the conviction that religion is not made only for women, children and weaklings but that it exists also for men & men of the most manly characteristics; that it is a truth of such moral nay vital importance as to necessitate its use in everyday life. What we in our superior wisdom have yet to learn is to abandon the idea that it is manly and a proof of superior education to sneer at any religious topic that may possibly be introduced and thus propagate false ideas in the minds of children, the rising generation upon whom indeed the progress of Judaism aye, of the world, moral & spiritual depends. We have yet to learn