November 11, 2004
27th of Cheshvan
Baruch Dayan HaEmet
Blessed is The True Judge
The “True Judge, HaDayan Emet, is HaKodesh Baruch Hu, and he is the one, the only one who judges, adds up one’s good actions and one’s evil actions. It does not matter if one is a Jew or a non-Jew.
At this moment, Arafat is being judged by The One True G-d. Not being privy to the details, I’m only a simple Jew, I only know of Arafat’s actions on earth. He will get his just punishment, but it’s a big mistake to think that without him the world will be better, and it’s even a bigger mistake to put all the blame on him. The death of one sick, evil man is not enough. The “chag sameach” greetings I kept hearing today made me uneasy.
As the saying goes, “it takes two to tango.” We are all connected to the present situation. For it to improve, everyone must work hard. “One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor,” sang Paul Simon, and his is right.
The first time I started learning Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, the teacher/neighbor/rabbi who taught us had us try to guess, or figure out, the meaning of the “key” (yes, I’m an English teacher) word in the opening lines, hevel. We were told to pay attention to the letters and think of words with the same letter combination, shoresh, root. We came to the word bli, without, nothing, emptiness, a vacuum. After a lifetime of searching and experimentation, testing his limits King Solomon came to the conclusion that all of his possessions, riches and intelligence were worthless.
This year I’m part of a women’s learning group, in which we learn T’hilim, Psalms, and Kohelet, Ecclesiastes. I find it fascinating to learn the philosophies of the father and son kings, the two most important and crucial in Jewish history. Their experiences and feelings echo in today’s Israel.
The energy, confidence and idealism of King David can be seen in those who are still establishing Jewish communities, whether in YESHA, the Negev or Galill. It existed in the Zionist leaders both before the establishment of the State of Israel and in the early years after. It didn’t matter what the obstacle, nothing was impossible. The minute one of them accepted the concept, the limitations, of “impossible,” they lost their strength. The Zionist establishment felt threatened by the Jabotinsky Revisionists, the Etzel and Lechi followers. They pursued them, like King Saul pursued King David.
One of the last surviving heroines of that time is Geula Cohen, former Kenesset Member and Deputy Minister. Meeting her is a treat; the glow and impatience, anxious to get something done, hasn’t left her. When asked how she still finds the energy to be so active, she is known to reply that she has too much to do to be tired. A couple of years ago, when she was finally given the Israel Prize, she so deserved, on Yom Ha’atzmaut, even those on the other end of the political spectrum readily admitted that she deserved to be rewarded.
But what about the next generation, the generation of King Solomon? Those Likud “princes,” raised by Revisionists, heroes and heroines of the Etzel and Lechi, are mostly far from their parents’ idealism. They hold onto their privileged positions and try to use their intelligence and education to make excuses for voting against their ideals and for the perpetuation of what they think of as “power.” But in actuality, they’re turning into empty, weak shells. Unfortunately, even Geula’s own son, Tzachi Hanegbi has become one of those empty-eyed politicians, having sold his soul for an illusion of power. The other evening I saw him on TV, sitting quietly, patiently waiting for a turn to speak. And I guess he didn’t have anything worth saying or the words would have rushed out of every pore. He sat still, like a manniquin, well dressed and neat but no fire, no vision.
Once you compromise your ideals, they shrivel away, leaving an empty shell of miss-used, unused talents. The question is, does he have the inner strength to admit his mistakes and do tshuva, like King Solomon, the decendent of Yehuda? Can any of these politicians reflect on their lives and mistakes, repent—lachzor b’tshuva and use their potential for what it was given?
It’s said that at first King Solomon was a gifted genius, then he temporarily lost his mind, and he wrote Kohelet afterwards, after he sorted out his life and all he had experienced. Today, the young people with their amazing confidence, establishing new Jewish communities all over YESHA, are the post-Kohelet King Solomon. These amazing young kids, who dress like anti-materialist hippies, are the next stage towards geula, redemption.
Arafat’s death isn’t going to bring true peace any closer. It’s not about one person. The terrorist organization he established before the Six Days War is not dependent on Arafat. The Europeans will continue to fund them, and they will continue to blame us for every problem in the world.
The Arabs are planning forty days of mourning, of hell for us (G-d forbid), to commemorate Arafat. Instead of partying, we should be praying and building. It’s time to build the Beit Hamikdash.
Baruch Dayan HaEmet,
Batya Medad, Shiloh