For several years now, the leading news story has been the war in the Middle East, with much of the world community, and a growing segment of the American population, opposed to the "unjust" invasion and "occupation" of Iraq.

While I will refrain from offering an uneducated opinion on the issue, I am amazed and encouraged by the reaction this war has generated – on both sides of the political spectrum. To me, the debate revolving around this war emphasizes how much our world has changed in a positive direction. It represents a mind-boggling worldwide movement towards ideals of peace and human rights.

In previous generations, a monarch or leader who led his nation to war was heralded as a hero. The bards sang tributes to the patriotic conqueror who annexed territories and increased the prestige of the homeland. No one asked Alexander the Great or Napoleon why they were leading their countries in battle! Today, however, the world has progressed to the point where it is globally recognized that war is in essence evil and undesirable—even in those instances when it is unfortunately necessary. Invading a sovereign state merely to expand borders or for financial considerations is ethically unthinkable. On this subject there is no debate.

The ironic side of the “Iraq Debate” is that it actually demonstrates how much we do agree on basic principles So what is the debate? Whether this particular war is justified for the sake of defending our borders, the maintenance of world peace, and/or liberating the Iraqi people from the cruel reign of a tyrannical dictator. Is this war advancing all these above-mentioned noble causes, or it is perhaps a red herring which is backfiring and will not bring us closer to any of these objectives?

The ironic side of the "Iraq Debate" is that it actually demonstrates how much we do agree on the principles involved; how basic morals have finally become a mainstay of society. The way I see it, the debate is only a healthy expression of the natural human tendency to have different views regarding the implementation of an agreed-upon goal.

It is this phenomenal shift in how we view war and violence that has brought freedom to hundreds of millions of people—people who less than twenty years ago lived in constant fear under repressive regimes, and now possess freedoms of speech, religion and determination.

And G‑d led the sea with a strong easterly wind all night and He made the Sea into dry land and the waters split – Exodus 14:21.

Did G‑d really need a wind to split the sea? Was it, in fact, the wind that split the sea for the length of time necessary for millions of men, women and children and all their possessions to pass through?! Even if one can envision a wind powerful enough to part a sea, can it also dry the muddy seabed, and transform it into firm ground? Furthermore, according to rabbinic tradition – based on the words of the Psalm "Who split the Sea of Reeds into sections" – the Sea actually divided into twelve corridors, one for each Tribe. Somehow, it is difficult to conceive of a wind intelligent enough to accomplish such a feat!

The wind was a diversion, dispatched by its Creator to lure the Egyptians into the watersThe venerable sage Nachmanides (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, 1194-1270) explains that the miraculous parting of the waters had little to do with the easterly wind. The wind was a diversion, dispatched by its Creator to lure the Egyptians into the waters where they would be subjected to the punishment they justly deserved. "You feel that strong wind?" the Egyptian pursuers exclaimed. "The splitting of the sea is not a divine act; it's a freak of nature. After 'em!"

In hindsight, such foolishness is absurd. But on second thought, perhaps we too are guilty of similar misjudgment.

Every year on the last days of Passover, we focus on a dream whose realization we have been awaiting for close to two thousand years. The anticipation has reached a fevered pitch in recent years, following the announcement by the Lubavitcher Rebbe that the Era of Redemption is upon us, and we must only increase in acts of goodness and kindness in order to be worthy to greet our redeemer. The Rebbe pointed to various global phenomena which are clear indicators that the process of redemption has indeed started.

The world's embracing of morals and ethics of peace is astounding and nothing short of miraculous. The question is only how we choose to account for this phenomenon. Is it the orchestrated precursor of the promised era of world peace, or is it simply the result of a strong wind...?