Beyond the Cusp

November 1, 2015

The Family that is Israel

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Friday was a special day as we had family come and visit us making the long trek from southern Israel almost to the northern border where the train tracks end and go no further. We had a slow lunch enjoying good company and pleasant conversation enabled by somewhat relaxed service as the place was crowded and the kitchen was probably a place of ordered confusion. But the leisurely service mostly passed notice as we were lost in conversation with my cousin playing the role of translator since she is fluent in a number of languages, or at least in Hebrew and English, which was all that was required. We also took a strolling paced walk to the shuk and they got some fruits and such for their Shabbat and then had to make the trip home so as to arrive before sunset. This visit made me all the more aware of family and the warmth and closeness one can feel when in their company. There is a serenity mixed with enthusiasm and excitement making for a cacophony of emotions which blend making even diametric opposite coexist in a smooth and yielding blend satisfying the soul. This completeness felt from the all too short, as such pleasantries are always too short, time we were enjoying being together also leaves a lingering warmth and joy that makes one aware of other such relations some of which opens one’s eyes to things which otherwise are missed or simply taken for granted.

 

The next Morning, Shabbat morning, I started my trip, a short walk for most but a strenuous traversal which requires a few rest stops at spots now memorized as suitable, to attend services at the synagogue where my Torah Shiur Rabbi presides and leads the Shabbat service after the initial prayers have been chanted and leading to and performing the reading of the Torah and Haftorah. As my wanderings take me past a few other synagogues and there are other worshippers whose paths cross, we often wish one another a polite, and oft friendly, “Shabbat Shalom” and almost always dotted with a warm smile and a brightened countenance from the exchange. But this was but my initial realization that my view may have changed and become brighter, more optimistic and hopeful. The realization and recognition of this transition came upon my arrival slightly before services were to start as I require that I leave some extra time just in case my strolling pace is less efficient than normal, not to imply my walking speed approaches normal. This cemented the realization that in Israel we really are a family just as Torah teaches.

 

The Synagogue I attend may be graced with a Rabbi who speaks both Hebrew and English but for the large part the congregation speaks only Hebrew. Still, despite our language differences the other congregants treat me with warmth and friendship which came home more today as I was sensitized to see and realize the acceptance which has greeted me honestly from the first service I did partake of a Shabbat morning services there. This got me to thinking and realizing the many people who have become like friends at the various stores where we shop. In every store there are those who have taken the initiative to befriend us and make our lives so much easier and, better yet, warmer. Without these friends our lives would be more difficult, not impossible, but more difficult and far more cold. The difficulty would be overcome with technology, cellphone translation software and the fact that money honestly makes people desire to understand you and for more so in a town with mostly smaller family run stores. But even technology has its limits and life would be far less enjoyable without these wonderful people. Yes, there have been exceptions but even some, if not most, of these more difficult people have come around with time and their realization that we have made Aliyah and truly are here to stay. These people have become our extended family. These people we meet in our weekly ritual of shopping are but one family but there are others.

 

There have been developed groups within the Anglo communities which provide social, religious and study groups which add much to enrich the lives of us from the Anglosphere who have made Aliyah to our little corner of Israel. There are Torah study groups, social events around the Jewish holidays, expeditions to the near countless historic and religious sites which exist throughout Israel and other events which are simply for entertainment such as game nights. Much of this is possible as there are a fair number of Anglos who are retired or work via telecommuting thus giving them the time to shift work around events. But the reality is that despite many of us coming from many completely different backgrounds, completely disparate locations both within the separate nations as well as around the globe as the tentacles of the British Empire reaches into the farthest corners of the planet. The camaraderie is unlike anything I have ever experienced even in other Jewish communities. Probably the closest to the trust, cooperation, acceptance and mutual respect I have found in Israel was the camaraderie in my infantry platoon in the military and even there it was not as universal nor was it as close as the feelings and friendships I have found here. The mutual relations amongst our Anglo community are, as one might expect, made all the more obvious by the brightening of each other’s faces when we run into one another in unexpected meetings during our daily travels. The same bright eyed and extra bounce in their step is evident with those who have befriended my wife and I in the locations where we stop and despite the claim that most Israelis do not know how to treat people, customers, the many people we have met have gone to great extents to provide any and all assistance we have ever needed. But it goes further as even when we run into a problem in a store while shopping and there is no one we know to assist, often out of the blue a customer steps up, often a stranger and other times somebody we barely know, such as somebody we have interacted with during other completely unconnected matters, will step forward and take as long as required to make sure that every and anything required has been done to take care of whatever the problem or requirement you needed. Sometimes this even has the effect of the store or wherever you are, going the extra step and finding what it is you requested even after initially believing they had none in stock, a very surprising but not actually all that unusual case, just was not the reputation of the particular instance we recently experienced.

 

The ultimate test of a society is how they react when a person appears distressed, especially somebody they do not know and likely may not have even ever crossed paths. Suffering, as I do from a disability which often limits my ability to walk distances which are embarrassingly short on my worst days that I often end up sitting on low walls or the benches at bus stops and around town, of which there are numerous as this is a resort location, and I am usually breathing rather hard and sweat rather profusely partially from physical exertion and additionally likely due to the cocktail mix of medications physicians assure us are required for our betterment as they will place our blood tests and other medical tests within their preferred ranges. Needless to say, I make quite a site at times when I am out and around and more often than I may be completely comfortable though I am very appreciative and would probably be more ill at ease if things were the opposite and everybody just passed a person in distress by without any concerns sufficient to stop and offer to help. These good citizens will even seek the assist from another to work as a translator just to make sure you are not in need of medical or other assistance. This would have been a real rarity before I made Aliyah as my limitations are far from something new and I had sufficient opportunities to test the situation before reaching Israel.

 

Many of you are probably wondering if I have lost my mind or is there something towards which I am working and you would be correct. As many of us have been reading here there has been a steadily increasing levels of violence with stabbings, vehicular assaults, rock attacks, Temple Mount rioting replete with assaults on the police and some shootings as well. Further, there have been calls from Hamas for Arabs to start using poison on their knives as well as to start utilizing homicidal suicide bombings. The idea behind the terror assaults, the rocket attacks and every other form of attacks against Israeli citizens and the IDF are intended to accomplish two things, first to chase the Jews out and destroy Israel or second to murder every Jews thus destroying Israel. There is absolutely no desire to actually form an Arab nation called Palestine unless it replaces Israel after which Fatah and Hamas allied with Islamic Jihad will fight to see who gets to rule on their state founded on the corpses of the six-million plus Jews living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Interestingly enough it often appears that the Europeans and the United States State Department and others from all over the globe, as indicated when the General Assembly voted to accord an Arab state of Palestine non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations with one-hundred-thirty-eight in favor and nine against which were Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Panama, Palau, United States and with forty-one nations abstaining. One-hundred-thirty-eight nations decided to recognize an Arab state which has refused to accept any offer for a state from the initial offer in 1948 to have the lands divided evenly between Israel and an Arab state, and again including a series of times during the last weeks of the Clinton Administration while President Willian Jefferson Clinton worked with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert offering over ninety percent of Judea and Samaria with the remainder covered through land swaps as well as all of Eastern Jerusalem including all of the Old City and the Temple Mount even to include the Western Wall and the plaza before it where Jews currently pray as close as possible to the location of the Holy First and Second Temples on the Temple Mount. Then there was the nineteen years when the lands were occupied by Jordan in Judea and Samaria and Egypt in Gaza when there was no desires, claims, votes at the United Nations or calls about occupation over the presence of Jordan and Egypt in the lands now being recognized by the United Nations as an independent nation with overwhelming accordance.

 

The reason which will stop the aims of Fatah, PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PLO plus additionally Iran and the Islamic State who have also expressed their desire to destroy the Jewish State of Israel, or the Zionist Entity if one listens to their propaganda, is this family feelings between the majority of Israelis and particularly within the religious Zionist community which has been and continues to gain new adherents every day. Even in Israel there are those in the political classes who are attempting to take whatever they can to prevent the eventual surge in the religious Zionist camp from coming to the forefront and take control of the Knesset and the office of Prime Minister. What has been holding these groups back have been efforts to subvert their rising power in the right wing parties, a conflict here in Israel which might come close to the same resurgence in the United States of religious right in the Republican Party. It is just with the political zoo of parties in Israel such subversion is sometimes accomplished by some being driven by the old party power structures while others are lost through the foolish rivalries within this community which in too many cases are due to differences too insignificant for many to even understand. But politics are the same across the world and often make little sense to the average person but apparently are humongous in the political realms. Politics aside, in the real world within Israel, as best as I have been able to discern, there is an attitude which bodes well for the future and the taking on the challenges no matter what the world might try to throw our way. It took close to two-thousand years for the Jewish People to return to our ancient homeland making Israel the first nation to return into existence from exile twice (thrice if the four-hundred years of slavery in Egypt) and one of the few peoples to keep their original language and genetic integrity while in such an extended existence spread over as many differing nations as was the case of the Jewish People. This was extremely well worded in a recent article we read where it was simply stated,

 

“Israel, rooted in the Jewish people as an Abrahamic people, is a prototypical First Nation or aboriginal people, just as the Jewish religion is a prototypical aboriginal religion, the first of the Abrahamic religions. In a word, the Jewish people is the only people that still inhabits the same land, embraces the same religion, studies the same Torah, hearkens to the same prophets, speaks the same aboriginal language – Hebrew – and bears the same aboriginal name, Israel, as it did 3,500 years ago.”

 

The central congealing, central, and treasured truth which held these numerous communities was Torah. Torah cemented our history. Torah preserved our language (even if many of us have yet to remaster our ancient language, the language from where the first two letters, Aleph and Bet gave the English language the word ‘alphabet’). Torah retained our laws. Torah safeguarded our covenant with Hashem reminding us of our special responsibility to work the lands of Eretz Yisroel. Torah gave us hope during the darkest hours. Torah also challenged us through the ages to be better people despite the events which were often collapsing around us. Torah taught us the importance of reading and study. And Torah steeled us to remember our roots in Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Exodus with Moses and the entirety of our history and some of the wisest and most sagely rules and advice on life, relations and virtually any situation we might encounter in life. It was the Ten Commandments and the rules establishing moral codes establishing the basis for Judeo-Christian society and the teachings of Psalms and Proverbs which filled out the basis for conscience and morality when most of the world still worshipped idols sacrificing children and others before great stone edifices.

 

 

Ten Commandments Arranged in Hebrew Reading from Right to Left with English Translations Underneath the Hebrew

Ten Commandments
Arranged in Hebrew
Reading from Right to Left
with English Translations
Underneath the Hebrew

 

Much of the basis for a just society was everything opposed by the Nazis as evidenced in this song sung by the Hitler Youth;

“We are the joyous Hitler youth
We do not need any Christian virtue
Our leader is our savior
The Pope and Rabbi shall be gone
We want to be pagans once again.”

That about says it all and many in the Arab Palestinian leadership and the leaders in Iran and other Arab and Muslim nations, terror groups, Islamic religious organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the anti-Semites, anti-Israel and anti-Zionists such as the leaders and members of the Islamic State all share an admiration for Hitler’s and the Nazis’ stand on exterminating the Jews with a special note for perhaps one of the main influences to inculcate these thoughts and concepts into Islamic and especially Arab Palestinian thought was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Hussein, the man who mentored Yasser Arafat and had a great deal of influence on Mahmoud Abbas who all dream of causing another Shoah, another Holocaust while a number which includes some of the Iranian leaders, other Arab and Muslim leaders both political and religious, as well as some like Mahmoud Abbas whose doctoral thesis revolved around a version of Holocaust denial. A few final thoughts which need telling, the Arab Palestinians are being fed lies about their state being denied them by the Jews in Israel as it is their leadership which will only accept replacing a destroyed Israel and placing their nation on the corpses of six-million plus Jews and the people, especially those being forced to remain in refugee camps are all being denied basic human rights by the Arabs who refuse to assist their brethren as they would hurt and impose hardship on generation after generation in the hope these refugees descendants will be permitted to flood Israel and vote their subjugation of all the Israeli Jews when they elect the leader who will surrender the lands to the Arab Palestinian state ending any two state solution making all the land between the Jordan River and the Sea one Arab nation and the Jews in Israel stand ready to enforce their idea which is summed up in a single concept, “Never Again!” As we actually are a family whose tree dates back to Abraham and Sarah over four thousand years ago, and yes such things matter and they matter to our family greatly.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

July 26, 2015

The Ninth of Av is our Tribute and Remembrance of the Temples and their Destructions

Filed under: Aliyah,Anti-Semitism,Ariel Sharon,Babylon,Bible,Bible Study,Carthage,Chief Rabbinate,Children of G0d,Chosen People,Civilization,Commandments,Covenant,Crusades,Defend Israel,Equal Responsibility,Equal Rights,Equality,Equality of Mankind,European Historic Anti Semitism,Fast Day,First Temple,Government,Halacha,Holocaust,Holy Temple,Inquisition,Intifada,Israel,Israeli Capital City,Israeli Interests,Jerusalem,Jewish,Jewish Heritage,Jewish Home,Jewish Leadership,Jewish State,Jewish Temple,Jews,Judaism,Judea,Judean Hills,King David,King Solomon,Lamentations,Light unto the Nations,Meaning of Peace,Middle East,Nationalist Pressures,Nebuchadnezzar II,Old City,One State Solution,Oppression,Pogroms,Politics,Promised Land,Promised Land,Protect Citizenry,Public Service,Rabbinical Court,Rabbis,Recognize Israel,Religion,Religious Jews,Religious Pressures,Resolution,Roman Empire,Rome,San Remo Conference,Second Temple,Shoah,Song of Babylon,Support Israel,Temple,Temple Mount,Temple Mount,The Twelve Spies,Tisha B'Av,Torah,Torah Study,Tradition,Traditionalists,Two Millennia of Exile,World Opinion,World Pressures,Yeshiva,Zionism,Zionist — qwertster @ 2:31 AM
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Please forgive me if I get preachy or seem overly sentimental but that is what even the name Jerusalem means to me. Additionally to the destruction of both Temples, the First Temple by the Babylonians and the Second Temple by the vindictive Romans who did all in their power to render unto the Jews the same dispersions that ended Carthage, and the sin of the spies and all the other calamities tied to the Ninth of Av (Tisha b’Av), I add my sister’s passing exactly a week after the ninth. This year the Ninth of Av is observed has been pushed one day to the Tenth as such sorrows must not be expressed on the Sabbath conditions permitting. The Ninth of Av has become the collection date where some liberties are suspected such that every ill and evil edict or calamity of every sort is claimed to have some reference to the Ninth of Av. Some of the horrors which fell on this fateful day include the expulsions from England on July 18, 1290 CE, expelled from France on July 22, 1306 CE, and from Spain the edict of expulsion was signed on March 31, 1492 CE, and the Jews were given exactly four months to put their affairs in order and leave the country which fell on July 31, 1492 CE, all the Ninth of Av. Then there was the sin of the Golden Calf, August 15, 1096 the start of the Crusades and the killings Jews often suffered succumbing to the blades of the Crusader knights who had not previously killed in order to desensitize them to killing such that they would not hesitate in battle and thus be killed before they served the charge of the Church. Start of World War I was August 1–2, 1914; SS commander Heinrich Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for “The Final Solution” on August 2, 1941; on July 23, 1942 (Av 9, AM 5702), began the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka, all dates coincide with the Ninth of Av. Modern events which land close to the Ninth of Av were AMIA bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 and injuring 300 on July 18, 1994 and Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, also known as the “Disengagement plan”, “Gaza expulsion plan”, or Hitnatkut, August 15, 2005 both fell on Tenth of Av. Needless to add that numerous other calamities were rumored or simply had memories re-date events to bring them into line with the Ninth of Av but even without fudging dates there are probably numerous other events throughout Jewish history where lesser horrors fell on the Ninth of Av and as such individual services of these groups would include their individual commiserations.

 

The observance of the Ninth of Av itself is a fast day spent in remembrance of historic calamities, some self-imposed but most disasters thrust upon the Jewish people, some times to all or the majority of all Jews and other times to large enough communities that we all remember and mourn and others only affecting a smaller community which we all remember but the singular community bears a special lament. Any way your congregation or community grieves over the mutual and individual historic injustices, expulsions, transgression and pogroms we must also hold that hope that for all our families will soon spend the next Ninth of Av together living in our own ancient lands rebuilding the Temple for the final time and soon return to lives as Torah spells out and this time can we please remain true remembering every Ninth of Av what has stormed our people when we strayed and were dispersed as punishment for our transgressions. May your fast lay easy upon you.

 

Temple Institute concept for what building the Third Temple in modern day Jerusalem would appear like from a distance with modern buildings of Jerusalem in the background. May their vision and this concept figure become fact and fulfill our desires for unity and a single Temple and House for Hashem in our midst. May this dream be fulfilled before the next Ninth of Av so our lament will be lessened.

Temple Institute concept for what building the Third Temple in modern day Jerusalem would appear like from a distance with modern buildings of Jerusalem in the background. May their vision and this concept figure become fact and fulfill our desires for unity and a single Temple and House for Hashem in our midst. May this dream be fulfilled before the next Ninth of Av so our lament will be lessened.

 

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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