Beyond the Cusp

June 16, 2015

Response From European Jews Very Telling

 

As commented upon yesterday, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks received some, should we say, oh so informative responses from both sides of the pond, Europe and America, quoting his saying during his speech at the Herzliya Conference, “Jews have been faced with a choice: live in Europe and criticize Israel or be silent – or leave Europe.” As expected, the responses from the United States were more subdued and respectful while the responses from Europeans rang especially true to form as they were near the exact responses Ze’ev Jabotinsky received from Eastern Europe in the 1930s when he warned, “vacate Europe before Europe vacates you.” Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks will prove to be as forward thinking and prescient as the prophets of ancient Israel who claimed their visions and warning to originate from on high. A definition of a prophet as being one who knows what time it is, and would apply aptly to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks as he appears to see the writings on the walls of too many synagogues and the desecrations of so many Jewish cemeteries and now Jews being refused entrance to particular colleges and even the Louvre museum in Paris is just too similar to the banning of Jewish professors and students from teaching or attending the colleges and universities as Germany ramped up their rejection of the Jews which culminated in the Holocaust, yet it is beginning to appear that Europe has forgotten this ugliness in her past and being hell bent on returning for another round of complete insanity.

 

The responses out of our European cousins, the European Jews, and especially their Rabbis, have been just as blinded by the seemingly empty promises of protection and affection for the Jewish population in Europe as were the protestations by German Jews when they were assured by their neighbors that their rejection and singling out for special laws and treatments was simply a temporary inconvenience, nothing more. During that fateful time it began with the very same BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Movement where the Jewish owned establishments were shunned by the Germans and later forbidden to frequent Jewish owned shops which eventually were destroyed during the riots known now as Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass after which the fate of German and eventually almost all of Europe’s Jews were fated and it was too late to leave, to flee to Eretz Yisroel just as Ze’ev Jabotinsky had begged and pleaded that they do just a few years earlier. The responses out of Europe and the United States complained that Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks delivered his “Doom and Gloom Speech” when actually the erudite and prescient man of learning delivered a message of hope, of truth and of and from his deep understanding of history being in a replay of one of its all-time favorite tunes, the tune calling to be rid of the Jewish menace, a tune played on their way to join the Crusades, played when the plague struck the cities of Europe particularly hard, played at the Spanish and other institutes of the inquisition, played before every pogrom, played as an accompaniment to the wars between Catholics and Protestants, played at the onset of the Shoah and being replayed again today as the lead for what is uncertain but the portends are evil, so very evil. Still the response was the same as each time before, the response of the intention to ignore the lessons of history and emphasize the slight and insignificant differences as proof that it cannot happen here as we are an integral and vital segment of the society and the government is behind protecting them. What will their story be when, for their protection, they are relocated to within a walled community with guards and lights around the perimeter? Will the next relocation also be accepted as the government being committed to their protection and just making arrangements to make keeping them safe, or will they finally awaken and realize the time has come to go where the government is honestly interested in keeping them and all Jews safe, Israel. What is even more important is this time; unlike in the 1930s when Ze’ev Jabotinsky pleaded his case always making sure his route back to Israel remained immediately accessible. Still, the cry was their protestation that, “It can’t happen here!” The excuses tagged on behind that phrase sounded more like reassurances made for their own mind’s serenity than a truthful estimation of their precarious lives.

 

The history of the Jews is often related looking at the calamities of both the Biblical years and those that followed managing to overlook the accomplishments of a small segment of the world’s populations which is an unfair telling. Perhaps that is the price paid for allowing ourselves to remain in the Diaspora instead of returning to our homeland sooner. We can only theorize how our lives might have proven to have progressed had we returned from the Roman dispersions immediately after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Might life have been so different living under the Eastern Roman Empire, a.k.a. the Byzantine Empire, followed by Ottoman Rule and enduring the turmoil during the centuries of the Crusades? The Jews who lived in Spain and the whole of the Arabic Muslim lands of North Africa and the Middle East fared no better and no worse than we did under the European Christian lands north of the Mediterranean Sea. Who knows how our lives might have been different and what twists and turns could have gotten us to this state where one would think we might have learned to see the signs, read the tea leaves if you will. Time after time we told ourselves that it can’t happen here and time after time it happened to that here wherever it happened to be. The Czars in Russia, the Inquisitors in Spain, the Catholics and Protestants in England, the Sultans of Algiers, the Commissars of the Soviet Union, the Imams of Iraq, the self-proclaimed or anointed ones, it made no difference, the leaders were different, the governances were different, their religions were all different but the cry was familiar, the Jew brought this pestilence, famine, disease, crop failure, economic hardship, threats from our neighboring country, millions of excuses, the same results, millions of dead or displaced Jews. There was a reason historically why our forefathers used to keep two suitcases packed with our barest of essentials and the items of our faith ready to relocate anywhere at any time and be able to set up anew.

 

It made no difference how crucial we were to their economic health, their physical wellbeing, their armies where our sons fought beside their sons and saved the realm, all of that was meaningless when the disease took hold once somebody decided to cry out those same words in a million tongues, it was the Jews, get them!. They are crying that same cry right now, it just sounds slightly different. This time it is the Zionist, the Israeli government; but these are simply strawmen set up to defuse the feelings of threat felt by the Jews despite their knowing deep inside that they are still screaming that it’s the Jews, just these Jews are all part of a foreign land allowing a feeling of comfort. But was the museum in Brussels in Europe or Israel? How about the Hyper Cacher market, Israel or Europe? We could go down the calamities and the demonstrations filled with hate which have plagued Europe and many targeting the Jews of Europe and it’s only getting worse by the day. It can and is happening here for all too many Jews. But when their Rabbis calm them and speak those soothing words you need to hear, that it is all a phase, it was young teenagers performing a rite of passage, that was because of Israel and not directed at us, the excuses are never ending but that last one is the most dangerous as it reverses the threat levels making Israel the one threatened, not the European Jew. Here is a little secret, Israel is viewed as the eight-hundred-pound gorilla who just reached her highly advanced capabilities for warfare to keep us safe while you are the tempting low hanging fruit as in Europe you are defenseless. They may say Zionist, say Israel, they mean Jews collectively and individually and they would much rather face the Jews individually in Europe than collectively and organized in Israel.

 

The threats are real and they are escalating which the reports by the police and authorities prove. Do not come and tell me about the report compiled for the community of religious leaders from your town, borough, county, city or whatever religious Kumbaya committee presented because we all know deep inside that that report was compiled in just such a way and the data massaged such that it allowed your Rabbi to deliver the sermon of his life depicting the struggle ahead as you repaired the world, you did Tikkun Olam. This, you were told was the challenge in front of you, not making Aliyah as there was so much you could do right there in your little community which would make the world a better and safer place where everyone was equal and people would break out in song and choreographed dance every so often in the center of town just like in an old Disney movie, say like The Music Man. It is not going to happen and the time is late with the situation approaching dire rapidly. Anyways, Tikkun Olam is not about perfecting the world through outside work and feel-good projects which make you believe you are making a difference when in reality you are just spinning your wheels for your own gratification, not to actually help these people who are not looking welcoming as much as they are wondering why you are doing whatever you are doing and what are you thinking. Tikkun Olam is about improving the world by perfecting yourself and making yourself the paragon of virtue and practicing the commandments because you have chosen to actually change the world for the better. Tikkun Olam is about looking deep within oneself and once we have gotten our souls and bodies to work in synchronization, both dedicated to Hashem, then we can worry about the person next and then the next after that, but first repair yourself and be the person you are proud for others to see. Be the person that when you arrive people know that wisdom and pure spirit has arrived and that alone can save the day. Tikkun Olam is what that young Muslim did during the attack taking place in the Hyper Cacher Kosher Market when Lassana Bathily who risked his life to save the market’s customers by concealing them within the freezer, and he did also turn the temperature to a point which balanced human survival and not destroying the contents of the freezer, and then remained outside the freezer and called the police outside and performed a reconnoiter of the situation which assisted and allowed for the Police to target their attack of the market and only shoot the perpetrator and save the remaining customers. This man took his actions above and beyond what might be expected of any normal person and took actions which mattered and saved lives because he believed that these people were worth saving as that is the message Lassana Bathily learned from his Imam and his study of Islam. His Imam teaching the enlightening and hopeful passages of the Quran, such as if you save one person, it says man, then you have saved a world. Lassana Bathily saved many worlds that day; the numbers vary but appear to center around a nice easy number, a dozen. How many worlds have any of us saved, perhaps that might be a better angle and the Jews in Europe could do little better than to speak the truth and by example lead your own Exodus to the Promised Land. Nobody expects anyone to be the next Moses as that would be a hard act to follow, but we can at least strive to be at least as good and promising an individual as Caleb who deserved a little more mention as he took the position of the opposition to the other ten spies who reported the impossibility of the Hebrews even with the help of Hashem and even after all they had witnessed, the ten plagues which broke Pharaoh, the splitting of the Red Sea and subsequent drowning of the Egyptian army, the handing down of the Ten Commandments and yet they doubted that Hashem would not be sufficient to win the day for them. Caleb was thought to be of similar mind while they knew Joshua was Moses’s protégé and thus would report that all would be a cake walk, but Caleb was expected to put the cherry atop the ice cream. Caleb told them that the lands were trembling and fearing their approach and with Hashem all things are possible, he took the righteous high road and then we hear almost nothing more after his one shining moment, but what a moment which I am sure we all wish we too could be such a shining example. Every Jew in the Diaspora if they get one person to also start to consider making Aliya then you have made the supreme effort of overcoming the highest hurdle, getting their attention and having them reason, especially as they will now reason with themselves and that allows. Hashem to add his voice, his quiet almost still voice and not the booming scare the entire valley voice. Lead by example, that is Tikkun Olam.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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    Comment by Alexis X — June 17, 2015 @ 2:23 AM | Reply


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