Do you know where the modern Hebrew term Tachles comes from? Tachles actually comes from the Hebrew word Tachlit (תכלית) and evolved into the Yiddish language. Tachlit means goal or purpose. Parallel terms to Tachles are “bottom line,” “get to the point” or “in short.”
The word Tachlit occurs in Psalm 139: “I hate them with a perfect hatred; they have become my enemies.” Now you’re probably wondering where the Hebrew word Tachles is meant here or how it was translated. The psalm describes how close God was to man from the beginning. David wants to completely turn away from all ungodliness and fully trust in God alone. And so David says at the end: “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Test me and know what I mean and see if I am in a wicked way and guide me in the eternal way!” In other words, David challenging God to get to the point.
And Tachles, when I get a bird’s-eye view of our politics in the country, I can understand why King David was fed up with all things ungodly. That’s why he gets to the point of following God, Tachles. We, too, are fed up with our leaders, especially in the last few weeks. Instead of solving problems, they add more fuel to the fire. Neither the national right-wing government nor the left-wing opposition is a true example for the people. Both preach to us political concepts that sound nice, but don’t work in practice, and unity among the people falls by the wayside.
Often do I hear from people that they are disappointed in Israel’s politicians in general. Before the elections everyone promises heaven on earth and after the elections they stand on earth and look for heaven. This applies to right and left. Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing governments are behaving like the previous left-wing government under Yair Lapid.
And Israel’s leftists, they certainly know how to freak out. I see that in the protests against the controversial legal reform. I see leftists cursing Netanyahu and his right-wing constituents. I see left-wing Israelis threatening violence and an assassination attempt on social networks, just as right-wing Israelis are often accused of doing. The left in the country often sounds just as brutal as the right, although it is always said that leftists are more polite people because they market themselves as “guardians of human rights.” Man is man no matter which side he chooses. We just imagine that those who fit into our circle of beliefs are always among the better people.
In order to understand current political events, I often withdraw and study the Bible. I like to sit down with friends and colleagues and discuss events in the context of Scripture. Last week I spoke several times with historian Prof. Ze’ev Safrai to understand the parallels between modern Israel and Second Temple Israel. (More about that in an upcoming article for our Members).
Tachles is understood from the biblical text and God’s word much more than one would think. Not only my personal life, but also political processes around me, I understand through the lens of the Bible. Israel’s founder, David Ben-Gurion, also loved to compare the political processes to biblical history and politics. The Bible was a source of inspiration for Ben-Gurion, not only to shape the vocation of the State of Israel and its image, but also to rediscover before his eyes the biblical spirit in the people of Israel. He often spoke about it in his speeches to Israeli soldiers. He drew comparisons between biblical politics, security and society with the born-again state.
Believe me, the Bible is a treasure for our lives. For many Christian believers in Messiah, I have found that the Bible is all about salvation history. Often the only thing you can talk to these people about is the history of salvation. For religious Jews, everything often revolves around the biblical commandments and prohibitions, without which their salvation history makes no sense. Many of the Orthodox Jews do not know the Bible because they focus only on the interpretive books such as the Talmud, Mishnah and Gemara.
Like King David, we have to get to the point and not beat around the bush. And at Israel Today we do that openly, directly and with pleasure.
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