Three Who Got It Right

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In this very troubled week, it is reassuring that some people not only got it right, but they got it very right.

Rami Levy is the controlling owner of one of Israel’s largest supermarket chains. He was one of thousands who came to the Fogel home for nichum aveilim. He came with his arms full of groceries to stock the refrigerator.

“You will have to get used to my face,” Levi told the mourners and friends. I have committed myself that every week I will deliver food and stock your home until the youngest orphan turns 18 years old.”

It’s enough to make you proud to be a Jew.

To the best of my knowledge, the story of the Itamar massacre was buried on inner pages of European papers, and ignored entirely by every liberal church denomination in the US, as well as the World Council of Churches, an umbrella group of liberal churches. Seeing how some groups treated the incident, failing to come to grips with Arab barbarism, and eager to blame the victims, that may be a blessing in disguise. Few hold a candle to the Israeli fifth column on the infamous “alef list,” an email list operating out of University of Haifa. Consider this tidbit from that list:

As Dorothy says, we do not know who carried out the attack in Itamar. But if it turns out that a Palestinian did it, whoever is unsure about how to respond to the attack should ask him/herself how he/she would react if this incident involved not Israel and Palestine, but two other countries. Imagine if – just by way of example – Haiti occupied the Dominican Republic and colonized it with Haitian citizens, and one day 43 years after the Haitian invasion of the Dominican Republic a Dominican entered the home of a Haitian family in a Haitian settlement in the Dominican Republic and killed a family of five – a man and a woman and three of their children, including a baby. How should decent, principled people respond to that? The answer to that question provides us with the correct response to the attack in Itamar.

I do feel some sense of gratitude towards them. I used to have trouble with the berachah of v’lamalshinim. I knew what the berachah was aimed at, but never wanted to identify a living Jew as someone to be included in the imprecation. George Soros changed that for me. Now he has company.

Someone did get it right. I am not always a fan of his positions, but it is impossible to deny his touching humanity, his clarity, and his genuineness on this one. Glen Beck deserves a huge hug from loyal Jews for this one. I haven’t seen anything that comes close:

He has since added a follow-up, and yet another.

So far, the only person who claims to have figured out the reason for the Sendai quake and tsunami is not a Member of the Tribe for a change, but a Japanese governor. Let’s hope it stays that way in regard to Itamar as well. While waiting for the worst foolishness to appear in print, we might be comforted in advance by the clarity of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, shlit”a, Rosh Yeshiva of Har Etzion. In a Hebrew language interview , Rav Lichtenstein responded to questions about the Gaza disengagement in a manner that can be applied to other tragedies, r”l:

To express a position is a fine thing when you have a position, when things are clear, unequivocal, when you have the sense that you understand not just the intricacies of the political moves but also what G-d would want. I didn’t feel I had the tools or ability to express a position. I don’t have G-d’s phone number, the way some others seem to have. I was raised on the words of the Talmud about Balaam: he claimed having knowledge of ‘the will of the Supreme.’ He couldn’t even tell what his own beast wanted, and he claimed to know the will of the Supreme?!

Please, have a little humility. Not the fake kind, but the kind that rises from a person’s understanding of who the Almighty is and who man is – a base, ignominious creature. I understand there were people for whom it was clear where the disengagement was leading and what God wanted. That’s not how I grew up. Humility is not only an expression of religious awe bit also an expression of wisdom…

It’s no secret that there are large, self-confident segments of the public, that have the sense that you can take a chapter of the book of Isaiah or Malachi and find a perfect match between the text and what’s happening before our eyes. I’m not comfortable with that; I’m uncomfortable with that also from a religious perspective. It’s true: those of us within the religious Zionism camp have for years continued to march forward spiritually, economically and socially, with trust in G-d. Without that belief, it is doubtful that the religious Zionist stream would have come into existence to begin with. It began out of belief and hope, out of the feeling that mankind has a role to play in history. But the difference between that and the sense that I can explain exactly why a bus explodes and kills 22 children is enormous. It is religious arrogance. It also smacks of people over-stepping their limitations.

[Thanks to Caren May (Brooklyn), Elliot Lasson (Baltimore), and Harvey Tannenbaum (Efrat) for their contributions]

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6 Responses

  1. Raymond says:

    As political as I am, as strongly pro-Israel as I am, I just cannot see this attack in Itamar through political eyes. To me, it was simply an act of pure, unadulterated savagery committed by some disgusting, vile creatures who certainly do not deserve to call themselves human beings. I find it ironic that a culture that claims to so value shame, at the same time advocates such completely shameful, cowardly, murderous acts of evil. And now we have more of our fellow innocent Jews dead, all for nothing. Never mind where was G-d; how can anybody possibly believe in our fellow man? It makes me horrified to even be a member of the cruel human race.

  2. chareidi leumi says:

    >.Please, have a little humility. Not the fake kind, but the kind that rises from a person’s understanding of who the Almighty is and who man is – a base, ignominious creature. I understand there were people for whom it was clear where the disengagement was leading and what God wanted. That’s not how I grew up. Humility is not only an expression of religious awe bit also an expression of wisdom…

    מסכת גיטין דף נו, א

    אמר רבי יוחנן ענוותנותו של רבי זכריה בן אבקולס החריבה את ביתנו ושרפה את היכלנו והגליתנו מארצנו

    רב שאול ישראלי – הקדמה לספר ארץ חמדה

    ‘אקמצא ובר קמצא חרבה ירושלים’. הנוסח הארצישראלי של אותו סיפור מעשה כפי שהוא נמסר במדרש שונה במקצת מהנוסח בבבלי. הקובלנא על ר’ זכריה בן אבקולס היא לא על זה שמנע מלהקריב את קרבן המלך, אלא על זה שנתן לדברים להגיע לכך, מבלי שינסה להשפיע עליהם: — א”ל: אנא יהיב דמי כל הדין סעדותא. ע”ל: קום לך. והיה שם ר’ זכריה בן אבקולס, והיתה סיפק בידו למחות ולא מיחה. מיד נפיק ליה, אמר בנפשיה: אילין מסביין יתבין בשלוותהון, אנא איכול קרציהון וכו’. אמר ר’ יוסי: ענוותנותו של ר’ זכריה בן אבקולס שרפה את ההיכל, עכ”ל. ענוותו של ר’ זכריה ודאי שהיא חיובית ביסודה. הרי מקורה בדאגה התדירית לשלימות, באי-הסיפוק במה שהושג, במבט המופנה תמיד כלפי פנים, בביקורת העצמית המתמדת, שאינה נותנת מקום ולא מפנה את הדעת להדרכת אחרים, להשמיע מחאה בעת הצורך ולטפל בתיקון הדברים, ושמא מתערבת כאן גם מדה מסוימת של ביטול כלפי צבור אשר מחשבתו בהבלי עולם הזה, המון העם העוסק בחיי שעה ומניח חיי עולם: מה לנו ולהם? הן גדולות אין לקוות מהם, הראוי איפוא להקדיש להם תשומת לב? האין כאן משום ביטול תורה? ויושב ר’ זכריה ויושבים אתו עוד מרבנן ומתפלפלים ודאי בדברי תורה והדברים שמחים ומאירים, ואינם חלים ואינם מרגישים שהם הם המביאים לחורבן בית המקדש…

  3. aron feldman says:

    How any Jew can react to the brutal, senseless murders of his fellow Jews with anything less than shock,sorrow and tears is beyond comprehension
    and downright despicable!
    This Alef list is so desperate to ingratiate themselves to the Arabs and the rest of the so called moral peoples of the world that they will make such hurtful statements.They will be bitterly disappointed when the rest of the world rejects them

    History has a habit of repeating itself

  4. Ahron says:

    E. Fink:
    >“….the reality is that most Palestinians (and many other Arabs as well) probably agree with that sentiment. You can choose to mock it / ignore it, or deal with it. But it’s there…”

    Indeed, it’s there in Arab and Muslim (and leftist) communities worldwide. Which seems to testify to the moral primitiveness of those societies.

  5. aron feldman says:

    The Alef List must be from the Eruv Rav!

  6. E. Fink says:

    While your disdain for the opinion of the “aleph list” sentiment is warranted, the reality is that most Palestinians (and many other Arabs as well) probably agree with that sentiment. You can choose to mock it / ignore it, or deal with it. But it’s there…