Israel is a sanctified nation. How do I know? Because God said so. But even things that are set aside as holy must be participants in their own preservation or they just rot like everything and everyone else. A people must morally sustain itself.
When Balaam went out to curse the Jewish nation he examined them from many purviews to seek out a tiny perforation in the nation’s piety; for just like a bacteria, a curse, too, can enter a vulnerable opening. But they were tightly sealed, curse-proof—pure. Even Balaam’s donkey would bray but would not obey to take strides in a campaign to curse what God had blessed. “How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel…God, Who has brought them out of Egypt with the strength of His loftiness He shall consume the nations which are his adversaries.”
But this morning I found a perforation in the force that protects Israel, and it was in the shape of a woman’s cleavage. There is a new Facebook campaign calling on people to take off their clothes to boost the morale of IDF soldiers—literally putting the “strip” in Gaza strip. And while Hamas has not scared me—this did. It is a G-string away from being a porn site. I have read the Torah through and through many times in my life and nowhere in it did I see that writing “I support the IDF” on a bare buttocks has saved the Jewish people. In fact, quite the opposite: Right after the story of Baalam’s failure to curse the Jews because they pitched their tents on moral high ground, we soon after read how the people turned to harlotry and God wiped out thousands of them Himself. Just because we are fighting in subterranean terror-tunnels doesn’t mean we too have to get down and dirty. I parallel these crude images in my mind’s eye with the pictures I saw of Israeli soldiers sitting in the huge tank-tracks donning tefillin and tallesim and praying to the Almighty to join them in battle. When I saw those pictures, I had faith we would prevail.
I know the founders of the Facebook page meant well, we all do. During this hard time each of us is seeking our own way to show we love our boys and Homeland. But this campaign degrades the dignity of the Holy Land. All Zion grows dim when we go from guiding light to cheap delight. If Israel is really a Holy Land, then we are fighting a Holy war and God is the Commander in Chief. As such, this crude “sexualization” is antithetical to everything holy for which we are fighting. The page really is cheap and crass. And, if you permit me, standing up for Israel in this manner is tantamount to lighting phallic-shaped Shabbat candles. There are some things you just don’t do.
I more than anyone have the right to criticize this Facebook campaign because I have always been among those who do NOT believe that God is damning souls by the hemlines and necklines and that the Book of Life He writes in every Yom Kippur is not merely a Best Dressed List. I have put up a life-long fashion fight against the stringencies of modesty that the rabbis preach. And I just may have been wrong. The modesty that covers our women may very well be part of the “magen David” that protects a people. And though I’m not advocating burkas—far from it—this Facebook page is beneath the dignity for any daughter, never mind the daughters of Israel.
The protective shield that saves Israel is not only the iron dome but God’s iron fist that smashes Israel’s enemies when they are deserving of His intervention. The Jewish people are meant to emulate the honey that flows through their land — the only food in the world that never goes bad. It is no wonder that the everlasting Torah itself is compared to honey. But this Facebook campaign that may seem funny or “sweet” to some is a toxic dose of artificial sweetener that I’m afraid the God of Israel will not be able to digest. With Regan-like passion I ask you to please put on your clothes– and take down this wall.
My friend, Esther Liebersohn above, who lives in Israel, had another fashion statement to make to show her support for our country under attack. This is what a priestly nation looks like when they beseech the Lord. In my estimation she is dressed in royal garb befitting a daughter of Israel, a true Queen Esther.