Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Godly Man? Or a Mass Murderer?

Dr. Baruch Goldstein 
How low can a human being fall when a mass murderer is seen as a saint, a hero, and a martyr? No, I am not talking about Osama Bin Ladin. Although he surely qualifies.  I am talking about a Jew. An Orthodox Jew.  An idealistic Jew. I am talking about Dr. Baruch Goldstien. For those who don’t know who he is or what he did, on Purim of 1994 he picked up a gun, went to Maaras HaMachpela (the cave of the patriarchs) and murdered 29 Palestinian Muslims while they were in paryer.

Unless he had a psychotic break and thus completely unaware of what he was doing, I can’t think of too many people that are more repulsive than this man. And yet, there are people that consider him a ‘saint’. They claim that he acted out of a justifiable fear that there was about to be a bloodbath in his community in Chevron. But even if that were true, there is no excuse for mass murdering people while they are in prayer. And as far as I know, there is no credible evidence that those he killed were anything but innocent Arabs.

And yet there are people who still go to his gravesite to pray that in his merit their prayers should be answered. They are not few.  And now we have this. From the Forward:
(S)ince not everyone can afford to make that pilgrimage, Baruch Marzel — a right-wing activist and Goldstein devotee — has organized a telephone service allowing Jews to outsource their prayers, according to a Walla report cited today in Yeshiva World News.
Call Marzel’s service and you’ll be invited to “Push 1 for a Yeshua,” a salvation. That salvation, which will come by way of a prayer to be said on your behalf at Goldstein’s grave, includes everything from financial and romantic success to improved health and victory in court cases.
If you’re worried about the spiritual credentials of the person who will be praying on your behalf, don’t be: Only “Jews who are Yirei Shomayim,” God-fearing, will be entrusted with this important task.
Baruch Marzel
What is even more disgusting about this is that it is being run by observant Jews. Baruch Marzel is certainly Shomer Shabbos. I’m sure that he is as ritually observant as any other believing observant Jew.  And those who will be doing the actual praying he calls ‘God fearing’!

I can’t think of a greater Chilul HaShem than this. And what is more troubling is that there will no doubt people who will be using this service. They too see Baruch Goldstein as some sort of saint - worthy of merit comparable to the great Tzadikim (holiest of people) of Jewish history whose gravesites are frequented for prayer and supplication. It is a custom among many Jews to pray at the gravesites of Tzadikim so that in their merit God will answer their prayers.

I have to wonder how Baruch Goldstein, a graduate of Yeshiva University and a physician… a man who was known as a Baal Chesed; who even treated Arabs… ended up such a Rasha?! What kind of Hashkafa leads one to commit murder, let alone mass murder? How can a normally kind and compassionate person, an observant Jew; an idealist who chose a career helping other people; a man who sacrificed much by living in a dangerous area in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of Yeshuv Ha’aretz – settling the land of Israel - become such a monster?

Perhaps he was insane when he did that after all.

But what about his fans? How can anyone worship such an individual. What kind of Hashkafa teaches that? Does it really matter that he was once an exemplary Jew once he committed such a heinous crime? Well, I guess to some people, like Baruch Marzel,  it does.

Rabbi Meir Kahane
I have no choice but to assume that it was the influence of Rabbi Meir Kahane whose ideas form the basis of such Hashkafos. Baruch Marzel considers himself to be Rabbi Kahane’s philosophical heir.

Now I’m pretty sure that Meir Kahane would not have approved of worshipping a mass murderer. But there is little doubt in my mind that it is Rabbi Kahane’s rhetoric taken to its extreme that created - or at least contributed mightily to creating – the Goldstein worshippers.

As far as I am concerned the Hashkafos of  Eida HaCharedis and Satmar are gold, compared to those that worship mass murderers.  In my view Judaism has no place for any of them.