Friday, April 24, 2015

Two Videos

Lucy Aharish - A Muslim proud to be an Israeli citizen
As an Orthodox Jew, I am extremely proud of my Judaism. When properly observed, it is not only rewarded in the world to come, it is rewarded in this world. It is also the model for human behavior. Although there are some parts of it that are difficult to understand… and might be seen as negative components, if one looks at it in its entirety it can be an inspiration to all people. Jew and non Jew alike. Which is why we are mandated to be a light unto the nations.

I should add that even those few elements that are difficult for us to understand as observed through the prism of the 21st century that does not mean that they are wrong or immoral. It just means that we are unable to understand them through our 21st century eyes. They have explanations that an open mind would understand even in our day. But that is beyond the scope of this post. Suffice it to say that God’s law as expressed in the Torah and interpreted by the sages is there for our spiritual and material benefit as it ultimately is for the entire world. When – as I said – it is observed properly.

With that in mind, one might say that the more religious one looks, the more they exemplify the will of God. But that would be a mistake. Because ‘Clothes do not make the Man’. Nor do they make the Jew. It is not how you look that is important. It is how you act. It is the content of an individual’s character that makes the man. For a Jew that character is largely based on following Halacha.

One might ask, ‘In what way does (for example) taking a Lulav and Esrog on Sukkos build character?’ The answer is, it doesn’t. But that’s because that act is sourced in only one side of the Halachos required of us. Which is called Bein Adam L’Makom – laws pertaining directly to God. Often referred to as ritual law. But there is another side called Bein Adam L’Chavero - laws pertaining to man’s interaction with his fellow man. A law that is in some cases observed more frequently in the breach. And when that happens it adds darkness to the world. Not light.

So how could people that are so careful with ritual behave so badly towards their fellow Jew? Well the truth is that they don’t always behave badly. Within their own community they can be, and often are very generous with their time and money. But to the outside world they feel no obligation towards their fellow Jew. That’s because they are so certain of their views - that anyone that gets in the way of how they want to practice Judaism, gets treated like a Rasha…  an evil person. Even if they are observant - it doesn’t matter to them. If they see something they don’t like – something that does not fit with their Hashkafa – which they believe is the only correct one, they will fight it with everything at their disposal.

Which brings me to a video that can be seen in a Jerusalem Post article. It taken in an area where two worlds collide. One of them sees the State of Israel as an illegal entity that must ultimately be destroyed and protested at every opportunity. The other sees it as the fulfillment of a 2000 year old dream. The former are not Palestinians. They are the extremist Charedim of suburban Ramat Bet Shemesh B which borders on the Religious Zionist neighborhood of ‘Sheinfeld’.

One of the members of municipality of Bet Shemesh which has jurisdiction over all of its suburbs decided to hold a ceremony on Yom Zikaron - the annual ‘Day of Remembrance’  honoring the fallen of Israel. Most of whom were soldiers that died protecting their country and its people. 

Interestingly, former MK Dov Lipman strongly opposed to having it there because he thought it wasn’t worth exacerbating tensions between those two communities.Said Rabbi Lipman of event organizer and opposition member of the Charedi dominated city council, Richard Peres, "His goal is a provocation and I am against it!" 

He was right. The video in the Jerusalem Post shows in part what happened and describes more.

To say I am disgusted by it is an understatement. Unfortunately it doesn’t surprise me any more than what happened earlier on Yom HaShoah in that same city where a Charedi soldier was called a Nazi.

I sometimes wish the State of Israel would build the same barrier to Ramat Bet Shemesh B that they did to the West Bank. A high wall with guarded barricades at the exists that will require each member of that town to be detained and questioned before entering the rest of the country. Because my disdain for these people isn’t much less than it is for the Palestinians that hate us. True, it is only a small minority of them that do things like this. But they are tolerated by the rest of the community. And most of the residents agree with their motives if not their methods.

Which leads me to another video (below). One that features an Israeli for whom I have much respect. Certainly more than I do for the hooligans of Ramat Bet Shemesh B. A young Arab Israeli woman that is Muslim was given the honor of lighting one of 12 torches (each representing one of the 12 tribes of Israel) on Yom Ha’atzmaut. It is an honor usually given to Israeli citizens chosen especially for this occasion. She accepted the honor and spoke about the loyalty she has for her country, the State of Israel. And how much it has done for her.

It almost brought me to tears. It gives me so much pride to see what Israel could be if only her enemies would stop hating it. I only wish that the entire world would watch this. They would once and for all realize that Israel truly is a democracy that – given the chance – would treat all of its citizens this way. If Muslim extremists in Hamas, Hezbollah, and other Jihadist groups would stop trying to annihilate us and accept a Jewish State in their midst  - they could have their state. And I am 100% certain that if the killing and animosity stopped - Israel would do everything it could to see it succeed. Why can’t the rest of the world see that?

I have just added the video of Ms. Aharish at the actual torch lighting ceremony. Truly inspiring. If only her attitude would spread. If only...