Monday, May 24, 2004

Aish Zarah—A Strange Fire”

Musings #51
May 23, 2004

Aish Zarah—A Strange Fire”

“Vayamat Nadav v’Avihu lifneh Adoshem b’hakrivam aish zarah lifneh Adoshem…” “And Nadav and Avihu died before The Lord when they offered a ‘strange fire’ before The Lord.” Bamidbar, Numbers III, 4

Rabbis and men and women, much more learned than myself, have been discussing/debating what that “strange fire” was. This past Shabbat, while reading the week’s parsha (Torah portion), less than a year after my neighbor, Avihu Keinan, HaYa”D, was killed in action, it had a different meaning. After Avihu’s death, this father, Moshe, began a campaign to change army policy.

The Israeli Army considers itself a “moral” army. It carefully plans operations in ways not to endanger “innocent Arab civilians.” I consider that term an oxymoron, but even if it isn’t, there isn’t an army in the world that worries more about “enemy civilians” than its soldiers and citizens. Avihu had to march into a building known to house terrorists, instead of our destroying the building with the terrorists inside. After Avihu’s death, Moshe began protesting against this false, perverse morality that endangers our soldiers, instead of letting them fight the enemy as soldiers should.

Suddenly I understood. The “strange fire” that caused the deaths of the Biblical Avihu and Nadav was the perverse morality touted by many Israelis as the epitome of righteousness.

“With mere good intentions, hell is proverbially paved.”
William James (1842 - 1910)

The well-meaning, well-intending philosophers, politicians, journalists, whoevers who created the miss-guided and inevitably fatal philosophy/morality that we are suffering from and dying from today could never have had envisioned the results. There is no other country or People in this world or the entire world’s history that has ever conducted themselves according to such morality. It has made us the laughingstock not only of the Middle East but of the entire world. It is literally killing us and our children and our children to be.

And now for the continuation of the pasook, sentence, quoted in the beginning of my “musing.” “…ubanim lo hayu lahem…” “…and children they didn’t have…”

Avihu Keinan is survived by his father, mother, two grandmothers and four sisters.

Our task is to extinguish the aish zarah before we, too, are, G-d forbid, consumed by it.

Batya, Shiloh

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