Saturday, January 11, 2014

Yes, Arik Sharon No Longer Breathes

Actually we've been waiting eight long years for Arik Sharon's body to give out after a massive stroke left him non-functioning. That powerful body didn't die even when there was no sign of life from his brain.

Now Arik Sharon is dead.  And I expect lots of well-written articles in the press about him, since the editors have had years to prepare.

Arik Is Dead By Yori Yanover 
The late Arik Sharon as I would like to remember him, leading the brigade that crossed over to the Egyptian side of the Suez Canal during the 1973 Yom Kippur War (here with Defense Minister Dayan).
Read more at:

Yanover's article is good, but Arutz 7's obituary has a very glaring mistake:
"In the months after the Gaza withdrawal, Sharon abandoned his lifelong political home in Likud to form a new centrist party, Kadima..."
Sharon did not not have a "...lifelong political home in Likud..."

The Jerusalem Post's obituary is good:
Sharon was one of Israel’s legendary politicians and military leaders. He played an instrumental role in IDF victories in the Sinai desert in both the 1967 Six Day War and in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. His victories on the battlefield, immortalized by the image of him in an IDF uniform with a white bandage wrapped around his wounded forehead, earned him the title, “Arik, King of Israel.”He was equally fearless in the political arena, where he was the father of two parties, Likud and Kadima. As defense minister in 1982, he oversaw the Lebanon War before he was ousted from office in 1983 as a result of the Sabra and Shatilla massacre for which the Kahn Commission of Inquiry found him indirectly responsible.But he returned to politics. As construction and housing minister from 1990 to 1992, he was responsible for a massive building effort of 144,000 apartments to house the flood of Russian-speaking immigrants from the former Soviet Union bloc. As the father of the settlement movement, he was also instrumental in building thousands of homes in Judea and Samaria and is famous for urging right-wing activists “to run for the hilltops.”...He was famous for the slogan “The fate of Netzarim [a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip] is the fate of Tel Aviv.” But as prime minister, he formulated and executed the disengagement, in which Israel evacuated 21 Gaza settlements along with another four in northern Samaria.

The Times of Israel quotes the nurse who cared for him:
“There were good and bad days” over the years of his hospitalization. “We were sometimes able to communicate with him” in the earlier years, she said, and even later there was communication via “a raised eyebrow” and “a handshake.” Toward the end, it was not clear that he was aware of what was going on around him, she said, but in the earlier years “he definitely was aware.”
Read more: Former PM Ariel Sharon passes away at 85 | The Times of Israel Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook
If Arik really reacted and was aware, and if he was still able to think, the big question is did he do Teshuva? Did he repent?  Did he find a way to make peace with G-d?

Considering that the human ramifications of Sharon's Disengagement Plan severely and negatively affected people, and one can't repent those sins without making an effort to repent/apologize to those same people... this is a very complex theological question. Halachik teshuva, repentance by Jewish Law requires that one be in the same sort of situation and then act properly.  Arik Sharon spent the last eight years of his life in a hospital bed.

I live in a neighborhood that was started, envisioned, planned by Arik Sharon.  We lived in Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.  I heard the stories of how he was the best general in the IDF at the time, the only one who breathed confidence and optimism.  He had his plan to cross the canal and had practiced it with his troops before the war started.  Yes, Ariel Arik Sharon saved the State of Israel in 1973. And yes, Ariel Arik Sharon also pushed for the building of Jewish neighborhoods and communities throughout YESHA Judea, Samaria and Gaza/Gush Katif.  He was a Samson in strength and daring.  And like the Biblical Samson his sins were just as large.  The big difference between Sharon and Samson was that Samson was able to pull off a feat of strength killing enemies and himself at the end.  Sadly, Arik Sharon's end was Arik at his worst, Disengagement and then eight years of virtual vegetative paralysis.

Apparently G-d has done the accounting of that legendary Arik Sharon.
ברוך דין האמת
Baruch Dayan Ha'emet
Blessed is the True Judge


NormanF said...

People get punished for doing evil.

And when you do terrible deeds, it wipes out all the good you did in life!

Its hard to judge Ariel Sharon in any other way. His legacy was to bring Hamas to Israel's doorstep.

Plus, he preserved the Oslo fiasco that still endangers Israel today! Finally, he failed to kill Arafat when it was in his power to do so.

This doesn't make him more heroic. It only compounds the enormity of his offenses. And in bulldozing Jewish towns, he did not even approach King Omri in building ONE Jewish city to his merit - while he ruled Israel.

I cannot mourn for him! I would lying if I said I liked what he did. A righteous man is someone of whom we should never speak ill. How shall we speak of one who harmed Jews and left them homeless to this very day?

My cup of mercy runneth dry today. I keep thinking also of all the Oslo War victims he could have saved had he acted in time instead of waiting until it was too late for them.

Sharon suffered terribly in this world! When we cross the line, we face judgment - sometimes as in his case - in this world instead of in the next world.

As a decent human being, I would not have liked to see him live out the last years of life in a vegetative coma! But he made the choice to wage war upon the Jews and he paid very dearly for it. His life and death should serve as a lesson to Israel's leaders on what not to do - and how to live.

Netivotgirl said...

Bravo NormanF! I couldn't put it better myself! My sentiments EXACTLY!

Batya said...

Norman, Netivotgirl, then do you consider that G-d had him suffer those 8 years as the punishment? Of course we can never know for sure.

NormanF said...

There were over 8000 Jews expelled at his behest from the Gush Katif and Northern Shomron. 8 years worth of coma works out to a 1000 Jews per year. Measure for measure!

Nothing in this world is a coincidence or happens by random chance. If what one does is wicked to the extent one needs to suffer in this life, too - that is quite telling.

All of us can avert that if we do what is right. And had Sharon done what was right, he would have lived out his life in good health!

He had many, many, many chances to take the right path. He refused to take advantage of them. And why was he punished? Because with great power, comes great responsibility and it must be lived up to.

A privilege that comes with being a leader. Us lesser mortals don't have that burden to bear. Keep in mind of those of whom much is asked, much is expected of them. Sharon proved himself not worthy of that privilege.

Chaya said...

Nice blog post, Batya. Ariel Sharon made some serious mistakes later in his life, but he also gave his best years to the land he loved. He alone has to deal with G-d, whatever may be, and we are in no position to pass judgment on anyone. Baruch Dayan HaEmet.

Anonymous said...

I concur with Chaya.
Yes Ariel Sharon did a terrible thing with Gush Katif, terrible.
But who are we to judge someone like him, yes he cost lives- But he saved countless other Jewish lives and was a huge hero. When we show no mercy for someone's mistakes, especially someone who loved am yisroel and devoted his entire life to its service, then Hashem will show no mercy to us. We cannot judge someone until we have walked in his shoes. When any one of us have lived the extraordinary life Ariel Sharon lived then we will be in a position to judge him. He is a tragically flawed hero like Shaul Hamelech, Shimshon, and Bar Kochba would we dare judge them? Only the righteous suffer in this world to fully atone and receive their Olam Haba. The wicked prosper so they have zero reward in the world to come. The fact that Arik died on Shabbat and the fact that the amount of time he suffered parallels Gush Katif so closely - would indicate he received forgiveness.
Rav Kaduri said not to judge Ariel Sharon or speak ill of him. Furthermore, I think it displays terrible character to speak ill of the dead. Let him rest in peace.

mg said...

In 1968, Arik met with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. In the link below, is an audio recording of AS retelling his conversation he had with the Tzaddik, z'tl. Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

its not nice to see so many negative comments on a man who laid his life down for the nation. a man who fought 4 national wars and saved thousands of jews, at the risk of his own life.
The comment below:
"And when you do terrible deeds, it wipes out all the good you did in life!"
throughout the tanach it has been shown how even the smallest mitzva is never forgotten in Hashem's record.
the above is man's so called justice and its very sad if this comes from a jew. only Hashem is the True Judge and only Hashem Decides. NO one knows His thoughts.
i was waiting to read any part that would say that Hashem allowed this evacuation to happen. He could have stopped it. He did not. so was it only something lacking in arik sharon???

Anonymous said...

We cannot judge. Those mysteries are up to H'. For all his great deeds, there is reward; but for the end with his horrific deed of the expulsion of Jews in their rightful homes in Gush Katif, I think that the 8 years (a supernatural #) was his punishment. Everything that happens leads us closer to the geulah shleimah, no doubt. Baruch Dayan Emes. We have to remember that his winning the wars with such courage and building up the land were the mitzvot.

Anonymous said...

its so sad to see jews spouting so much hatred on a man who is dead and not even buried. Not alive to defend himself. i read the same by some about HaRav Ovadia Yosef, so i dont expect anything better for arik sharon.
non jews too have faced massive sufferings. Even now, many of us are suffering, even to pray. yet we try our best to remember what our rabbis taught us on the guidance of the great sages. R Nachman wrote: You live in paradise if you believe that everything that happens to you is for your own good"
Its not easy to internalise this, but not impossible either. when sufferings come to us, we must look within, ourselves, and do teshuva. not point fingers at others. as they say, when we point a finger at another, three fingers point back at us.
the sages teach us that when a person experiences pain or sorrow, its is a call from G-d Above for soul searching and a change in direction.

i know i can speak for many non jews, who saw and will always see arik sharon, a man blessed by Hashem with great courage, and he would be sadly missed by us even if not by his own.
when i wrote to one of my rabbis that i fail to understand why many try to sit on Hashem's Judgement seat and pass judgement, he replied:

Anonymous said...

So this shows you the ambiguity of these people.
Judging Ariel Sharon's "guilt" in this and all other matters is up to the Heavenly Court, not up to us.

Let me suggest my answer to this person's question (it's only a suggestion); perhaps the reason Mr Sharon has not yet died, is that his condition permits atonement in this world for whatever wrong he may have done, so that he will completely enhoy life in the world to come. Seen that way, this is an act of Divine mercy, because of Mr sharon's many merits in defending so many Jewish lives, as in Mr Katz's case. The fact that he was not religious was largely a matter of his upbringing, not so much a conscious choice,.
(1) The evacuation was badly bungled. Very little was prepared in the way of help or relief for the evacuees, especially those (such as the Gush Katif farms) who had spent decades building businesses which were instantly liquidated. The dislocation of these people and their suffering has gone on far too long, and they were living in Gaza, for the most part, because Sharon, as a minister in Begin's government. had done a great deal to encourage them to do so. The blow was very cruel, the hardships are very real, and the bitterness is understandable.

Anonymous said...

when i left xtianity, somehow G-d blessed me with rabbis who are mostly hareidim, and thank G-d till today not one of them has ever made derogatory remarks of another jew of even gentile.
after being in xtianity where they only spoke of how holy they are and how rotten others are, it was so breathtaking to hear my rabbis teach and to study the chofetz chaim's loshon hara lessons. it showed us non jews just how much off the mark of the 7 laws we had fallen.
Rosh Hashanna
Thirteen Attributes of Compassion, Rosh Hashanna 17b)
G-d told Moshe, whenever israel sins, let them recite this and I will forgive them". The repititon of G-d's Name. Hashem, Hashem, at the beginning indicates G-d telling us; I am the same G-d before you sin as I am after you sin and repent."
Whether sharon repented or not, and whether this 8 years is his cleansing or not, only Hashem

Anonymous said...

An orthodox jewish rabbi replies to debka's article on arik sharon.

Baruch Dayyan Emeth. The account is unbalanced: For one, it fails to mention that before the Six Day War, Sharon had provided spectacular anti-terrorist service as the organizer and leader of Unit 101, and was also a very successful maverick commander during the Sinai Campaign of 1956. Further, it fails to mention the fact that Sharon quite specifically stated that the purpose of withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the least significant part of the territory taken in 1967 and the part with the least importance in Jewish history, was an experiment to permit the Arabs to demonstrate their capacity for self-government, and that any terrorist incidents emanating from the Gaza Strip would result in its re-occupation by Israeli forces; Sharon's stroke prevented him from carrying that out, and Olmert was not up to the task.

Batya said...

rainbow, you don't experiment with people, land and sovereignty. That rabbi who said that is wrong. Sharon was forced to suffer these last 8 years, because he did a terrible thing by using his authority for evil. Sins against man cannot be forgiven by G-d, and sins against Jewish dead, in that the graves were emptied ditto.

Chaya, I made a point of mentioning the good he did.

Thanks, everyone for all of the comments.

Pamela said...

I cannot and will not judge Sharon. That is for HaShem.

Batya said...


Shy Guy said...

A necessary reminder:

Ze’ev Galilee: Everything we already knew about Sharon but have chosen to forget (Hebrew)
"I will not judge" equals "I will bury my head in the sand."

יצא שכרו בהפסדו

Arik Sharon - "Bulldozer" of the Land of Israel - literally.

Chaya said...

Batya, I know you did make a point of mentioning the good he did. I was mostly responding to Norman's comment.