Sunday, March 9, 2008

Are you Mad Enough to Raise the Dead? by Ellen W. Horowitz

Are you Mad Enough to Raise the Dead?
March 9, 2008
Ellen W. Horowitz

"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."
Lao Tzu


Rosh Chodesh Adar and they were dancing in the streets of Gaza, when they should have been cowering in dark corners - awaiting the response of IAF gunships.

Eight of our very young men, all G-d fearing and full of potential, were massacred in a hail of gunfire - while those who aspire to death found cause to celebrate yet another bloodbath.

The attack was termed "deranged" by America's very articulate Secretary of State - who continues to pursue a foreign policy that can at best be described as "depraved". But that we, once again, succumbed to outside pressure to resume talks with our killers is nothing short of "demented" .

Purim must be around the corner, because things are truly upside down -
and Amalek rules the day.

An accurate, if not prophetic, definition of contemporary Amalek was penned by Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, forty-some years ago:
"Hatred brought them to the point where they were prepared to commit suicide if only to allow it to be expressed. He came to destroy and hate." (Book of Our Heritage).

While in response to this attack some rabbis are speaking of our need for a "spiritual revolution ", I think circumstances call for a more down and dirty approach.

Although it is said that prayer, charity and repentance reverse the evil decree, I hope the sages and very pious among us will excuse me if I add another ingredient. Fighting. Yes, fighting back can also reverse bad fortune.

So whereas Mordechai appropriately wailed and put on sackcloth and ashes, he could only get as far as the king's gate with that kind of dress and behavior ("... because it was forbidden to enter the king's gate while wearing sackcloth"). Esther prepared for a more physical battle, and got direct access to the throne room.

I think the situation calls for a reversal and serious change. We should approach The King with our loins girded, in full combat gear, and ready for action - and then we can petition and pray. Could it be that G-d is waiting for us to make the proper approach - one that is more terrestrial than celestial? Does anybody else hear what Moshe heard?
"Why are you crying out to me, speak to the children of Israel, and tell them to move forward." (Shemot 14:15)

Personally, I fall a little short on the organized prayer front. I show up at shul three times a year: Hearing shofar wakes me up. Hearing Parshat Zachor reminds me of an awesome obligation. And hearing the Book of Esther is a cause for celebration. I think the order of those obligations sounds right. So much so, that when I penned the dedication of my book , "the Oslo Years: a mother's journal" - four years ago on Adar, I took that formula into consideration. The book was meant as a wake-up call, and the dedication to my children read as follows:

Remember to
"... blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!"
(Deuteronomy 25:17-19)

so that
"...our mouth will be filled with laughter and tongue with songs of joy..."
(Psalms 126)

The news was grim and shocking last week, but my children expressed rage and anger, rather than despair. And this mother encourages, and will continue to encourage her sons to don combat gear, rather than sackcloth.

Part of a mother's role is to create a positive atmosphere in the home. But what are we raising our childrens' spirits for? So that they have the strength to absorb the next catastrophe? Or so that we can rally the troops and give inspiration and courage to loved ones in a time of war, and at a time when revolutionary change is needed? Get the orders straight: First deal with Amalek, then you can dance and sing. And refusal to accept that obligation will only result in further mourning for our people.

We should take our cue from those young men who died while clutching their holy books. They were reportedly heard screaming "enough!" And if that isn't enough to get your blood moving than I don't know what is.

This mother - like all mothers of Israel looks forward to and prays for redemption, the resurrection of the dead, and all good spiritual things. But before we get there, we will have to come down to earth, get our hands dirty, and wake-up and raise the walking dead among us.

Another rather tough and earthy Jewish woman was quoted as saying,

"We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us."

But I wouldn't hold your breath while waiting for that to transpire. I don't think Golda would mind if, under the circumstances, I changed the emphasis a bit:

We will have peace when we love our children more than the Arabs hate us and our children - and when that love inspires us and gets us angry enough to take the initiative to change the situation.

May Hashem comfort the families of the slain young men, from Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.


yitz said...

Right on, Ellen - thanks for a fantastic post! And thank you Batya for posting it here!!!

We should also remember to publicize what was "edited out" of most of the newscasts, the comment made by one of the people who helped kill the accursed terrorist [from Arutz 7]: Dadon was interviewed on various television and radio channels and told his story. When describing what the terrorist was wearing, Dadon emphasized that he was armed with a Kalachnikov rifle that was given him by "our President Peres and by the Olmert government." The interviewers invariably tried to cut him off. Later, the official news report by government-run Israel Radio left him out of its reports...

yitz said...

BTW, Lazer Brody of Lazer Beams agrees with you, Ellen:

"Hashem told Mordechai and Esther to take up arms in a merciless battle against Haman and the enemies of Israel. It's about time we did the same."

See the rest, here:

Batya said...

yitz, thanks, I'm passing it on the Ellen, and we're waiting for you to post. I'm sure something's cooking.