Al Hamatzav (the situation) & Some Torah

Just today the U.S. Senate approved another aid package for Israel’s Iron Dome, and a UN representative immediately asked what about Iron Dome for the people in Gaza.  Well, well. Under the “twin siblings’ phenomena”, whatever mom gives the one child, she must right away give the other one too. If not, he might throw a tantrum and then who knows.
Don’t get me wrong: I wish there is a way to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza, but guess what, there is a way! Hamas can get its people out of harms ways. It can also stop threatening, stocking on ammunition, bombing, kidnapping, etc etc, and the shelling by Israel is likely to stop asap. As for the UN, I can’t help wondering if all things are equal, will they send aid for Israel so we too can build some explosive tunnels? Or maybe they want to send us an expert hijacker to help us kidnap a Hamas fighter?
I used to say, ‘I don’t buy skirts for my boys’, and people would look at me funny, as if dah… ? but so it goes: We often hear the saying, ‘it takes two to tango’, and yes, it does. But it does not take identical two. Each has different character, different values, different aspirations and thus different needs (which, by the way, are different from wants!). Failure to note that is at best overly simplistic and naïve,and right now more like stupid and dangerous.
Dr. Yair Caspi in his excellent article “The Secret Card of the Hamas” talks about what Israel contributes to the prolonged mess, echoing famous words of humorist Ephrayim Kishon (drawn by cartoonist Dosh): Slicha Shenitzachnu, So sorry We Won.
Accordingly, “the “secret” card Hamas has against us is the information it gets daily that Israel is not interested in conquering Gaza… it is our attitude towards this war like to any other deal: we want to know first what will we get and how much will it cost… We say out loud we don’t want to rule 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza, even though we might have to, and even though this option might be much more humane than bombing Gaza from the air… (but) ever since the Six Days War we don’t fight to win; we fight to gain time, to fix broken cease fires… Zionism has grown fat and spoiled… we lost our inner truth, the one we so desperately need to navigate reality”.
Moshe in this week’s opening of the Book of Deuteronomy warns us about what happens when we forget that inner truth. Tradition has it that this is the last month of his life, and he will talk to us about everything that transpired with some frustration, very few regrets and a lot of love. Moses in this book seems to me like the parent walking his child to the bus stop on the youngster’s way to his own life. The child, half listening, barely grasping what the parent is trying to say, is eager to get going and be swept to the new, exciting future; the father, slowing down, dragging them back, takes another breath, repeating his words. Again.
Moshe speaks in the other side of the Jordan, at the entrance to the Land of Israel, like talking at the door to one’s home. Now the Land of Israel will take priority, so it’s important that we learn why we are going there. Not because it’s the emptiest or cheapest piece of dirt, nor because it is the greenest or the most desired tourists attraction, but because we have a job to do and, for many reasons, this is our place to do it. This job has been paraphrased before: to be a light unto the nations; to improve the world in accordance with certain values and ideals. It is a hard enough task, and it should leave us no time for wars, casualties, cemeteries, hospitals, endless pain and on and on. The latter just derails us from what we’re suppose to do. If anything, I am most angry that we allow the “teasers” to grab us. We win Nobel Prizes in creativity but in Gaza, we do what we’ve always done and what has never worked (I’m aging…), sending our best and finest to fight an impossible battle rather than implement creative solutions like, for example, flooding the tunnels with salty sewage water (not my idea, but I find it worth considering). It makes me want to scream!
Once upon a time, back in the 1960‘s, 70’s and 80’s, before the first Intifada, Gaza was a favorite tourist spot for many Israelis. The beaches are beautiful, the humus is delicious, the car repair shops are cheaper, the markets have great deals and you can negotiate in shekels, and in Hebrew. Throughout history, worse enemies, stretched across unbelievably tough borders, eventually made peace. Hopefully, one day, and not too far, we will be able to do so too.

Shabbat Shalom.

slicha shenitzachnu - סליחה שנצחנו

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s