Monday, August 04, 2014

When Don't They Leave Us Alone?

Scene this morning on Shmuel HaNavi Street where an Avreich was killed (TOI)
I am tired of the angst. I so badly wanted to change the subject today and talk about other important issues that affect the Jewish people. But my angst is nothing compared to what the people of Israel are going through. On this, the Eve of Tisha B’Av it is almost impossible for me to put it aside.

Throughout history, the ninth day of the month of Av on the Hebrew calendar has been one of great tragedy. Aside for the 2 events for which this day was established, the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temples there are a number of very significant tragedies that have occurred on or about this day. Among them:

The Meraglim (spies) came back with their bad reports about the land of Israel.

The Romans destroyed the Bar Kochba revolt on that day.

The ruins of the 2nd Temple were plowed under by the Romans on that day

The First Crusade that eventually killed over a million of us began on that day.

We were expelled from England on that day in 1290.

We were expelled from Spain in 1492 (on the 7th of Av).

The decress of Tach v’Tat (the Chmelniczki massacres of Jewish people) in 1648 were made on that day.

Approval  by the Nazi Party to proceede with ‘Final Solution’ was received by Himmler on that day in 1941.

Needless to say what is going on in Israel now makes me worry about tomorrow. 

This morning there were 2 attacks in Jerusalem by Arab terrorists. One took place just a few hundred feet from Yeshivas Mir. From Arutz Sheva:
A tractor slammed into a bus in Jerusalem at around 1:40 pm Monday in a terrorist attack, killing one person and injuring six others…
A 25-year-old manת, a hareidi kollel student, has been killed, after Magen David Adom (MDA) medics declared him dead at the scene.
The attack occurred on Zachs and Shmuel HaNavi street near the traffic circle outside the Zvill Beit Medrash and one block from the Olive Tree Hotel. Witnesses there reported that the tractor driver rammed a bus and that the event did not seem like an accident. 
I know this place well. It is where students from the Yeshiva wait for the bus. The Zvill Beit Medrash is where my oldest grandson had his bris 16 years ago. Zvill is about a 5 minute walk from Mir Yeshiva. Where my son gives a Chabura twice a week and where he is the Shoel U’Meishiv in their ‘Beis Yeshaya’ Beis Hamdrash for American students.

An Avreich was killed. My heart goes out to the family of that young man. But it could have easily been my son. 

I don’t understand. The most dedicated Jews in the world live in Israel. Charedi Jews find the atmosphere for Torah study to be greatest in the holy land. Avira D’Ara Machkim. The very air of Israel makes one wise. The intense level of Torah study in Israel has (as a whole) no peers. Charedim are in the forefront of such study.

Religious Zionist are among the most idealistic Jews among us. Especially those who make Aliyah (emigrate) to Israel from their comfortable lives in the US, Canada, and the British Empire.

Even without the threat of war, sacrifices are made to live there. 

The cultural differences are not insignificant. 

The language barriers are not all that easy to overcome. Learning a new language is not all that easy… at least not for everyone.

Military service - where one can easily put in harm’s way is mandatory. Whereas in the US (et al) it is voluntary.

There is the infamous Israeli bureaucracy to deal with.

And yet despite all of these obstacles, both Charedim and Religious Zionists have chosen to live under these conditions. Their values trump the cultural challenges - and all the rest. Add to that the dangers of living in a country where your neighbors want to annihilate you… and try to do so every few years with rocket attacks, kidnappings and suicide missions… well, those who make Aliya are in a class by themselves.  They are idealists with few peers.

And they are the ones who now suffer. I don’t get it. Why does God punish the most idealistic among us? This is the ancient conundrum of theodicy - Tzadik V’Ra Lo. Why do bad things happen to good people?!

What is the solution to the extreme hatred our enemies have for us? Hamas and other Jihadist groups are just vehicles for the hatred. It is sourced mostly in extremist Islamist fervor – which seems to be increasing world-wide. Even if Israel committed genocide and carpet bombed Gaza killing millions of innocent people along with the guilty… You can kill a people.  But you can’t kill an idea. Is Israel doomed to live like this permanently until the messianic era?