As many of you reading this are aware, a UN interpreter was heard uttering some very shocking comments into an open microphone the other day. After yet another vote condemning Israel for some infraction or other, the interpreter wondered out loud (and into the microphone that went into the headphones of all the delegates in the hall) why it was that Israel was constantly singled out, when there were so many other bad things occurring around the globe.
“I mean I think when you have five statements, not five, but like a total of ten resolutions on Israel and Palestine, there’s gotta be something; c’est un peu trop, non? [It’s a bit much, no?] I mean I know, yes, yes, but there’s other really bad %&$% happening, but no one says anything about the other stuff.”
The secretary of the meeting said, “I understand there was a problem with the interpretation,” and the interpreter is heard to say: “Interpreter apologizes.”
It has been a very long time since a BLATANT truth, and such a strong truth, was uttered at the United Nations. This is the body of world representatives that includes Israel in its UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) STANDING agenda for discussion. Not Cuba, not Cambodia, not even Syria earn that extra amount of “love” from the UN.
So, in a breath of fresh air and honesty, this interpreter says what so many have protested before: Enough is enough! Are there not other evils and problems in the world that could be helped by the attention of the United Nations!? Are there not daily human rights abuses in China and so many other countries?
“It’s a bit much, no?” Yes, dear interpreter, it is a bit much.
And how interesting that this occurred now…All over the world beginning last week and continuing for the next few weeks, the weekly Torah portion will have a heavy focus on one individual: Yosef HaTzadik (Joseph, son of Jacob). While his brothers have nefarious plans for him and aid and abet in his being sold to Egypt, G-d, of course, is setting individuals in place to plan for the future of so many. Joseph ascends from the pit to the palace, as he eventually becomes the Viceroy of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself.
And the significance and the connection? Joseph, perhaps more than any other personality in the TaNaCh is known as an interpreter of both dreams and language. (Pharaoh himself refers to him as צפנת פענח or the one who can decipher/decode) He interprets his dreams, the dreams of the butler and baker and those of Pharaoh himself.
And as for his language skills, we need only look at the Talmud which states:
Rabbi Hiyya ben Abba said in the name of Rabbi Johanan: “At the moment when Pharaoh said to Joseph, And without thee shall no man lift up his hand, Pharaoh’s astrologers exclaimed: ‘Wilt thou set in power over us a slave whom his master bought for twenty pieces of silver!’ He replied to them, ‘discern in him royal characteristics.’ They said to him, ‘in that case he must be acquainted with the seventy languages.’ Angel Gabriel came and taught [Joseph] the seventy languages, but he could not learn them. Thereupon [Gabriel] added to his name a letter from the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, and he learnt [the languages]…(Sotah 36b)
Yosef’s name is amended to read as “Yehosef” owing to this new found ability he has, to be able to understand and interpret seventy languages.
And perhaps the confluence of this interpreter in the United Nations and the interpreter par excellence, Yoseph HaTzadik is there to teach the word something critical: PAY ATTENTION WORLD TO THE WORDS OF THIS INTERPRETER–THIS PERSON WHOSE LIFE’S WORK IS TRANSLATING THE WORDS OF OTHERS SO THEY CAN BE UNDERSTOOD BY THE LISTENER IS TELLING THE WORLD A VERY IMPORTANT STATEMENT REGARDING THE UN’S OBSESSION WITH ISRAEL:
“It’s a bit much, no?”
And to you, the unnamed interpreter, I say: Thank you– No need to apologize for uttering the truth!