ear friends and family, shalom,
Every time I visit Massada I need to remind myself and others that although Massada fell, with the terrible suicide there, the Jewish People survived.
In the face of such horrors where did the Jewish People find the strength of will to survive?
The search for an answer to this question is definitely a worthwhile activity, in my opinion.
Every time I go there I think how many times this nation has turned back from the brink of destruction. Where did they find the energy to look down into the abyss of despair and not fall in?
One answer is that each time we've turned back from the brink our resolve to survive has become stronger. God forbid that in the future we'll again stand on the edge of that abyss, but we can be reasonably sure that, in such an event once again the Jewish People will survive.
The secret of success of efforts to survive the perils of the abyss lies in two activities:
1) Remembering the previous times we've turned back from there and
2) Having a task which only the Jewish Religion can fulfill
Survival and the reason for survival go hand in hand. One cannot remember the one without reminding ourselves of the other. Remembering and reminding are equal to past and future. The event and its reason, the effect comes before the cause. First we survive then we ask ourselves why we survived. In this way the past event becomes meaningful in terms of the future task.
The archetype of the event of survival and its reason is the Exodus from Egypt. This is why the Jewish Religion orders every Jew to repeat twice a day, during the morning and evening prayer: "I am the Lord your God who took you out of the Land of Egypt".
The event of survival is the Exodus. Its reason is to create a moral society.
The Jews will struggle to survive until the whole world behaves according to the moral standards laid down in the Torah. In such a moral world the Jews will thrive and struggle to survive won't be necessary.