A Plague has been let loose over the land

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning,  Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not; if I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy.

The Israeli elections upset many. We know President Obama isn’t happy with the return of Prime Minister Netanyahu. He does not do well when he doesn’t get his way. He becomes vindictive. The petulant President did not internalize the meaning of “Presidential” when he took office. Sadly, he’s not alone in his inability to accept the choices made by the citizens of Israel. The “Left” in Israel is also unhappy. They had worked to get a party elected that they believed would focus on the economy, on those who are not doing well. A righteous desire. But they lost.

I am not an elections analyst. I’m assuming that Netanyahu won because more people in Israel feared annihilation by Iran and the hundreds of millions of Arab Muslims surrounding Israel than they feared poverty. The reason ultimately doesn’t matter. What matters is the fact that the Left cannot accept defeat.

Their way of expressing their feelings about the election of Netanyahu is to call for the abandonment of those for whom they fought-the poor, the sick, the lonely, the ones who need the most help. Why? You might ask.

The answer from the Jewish children of Israel “…don’t call me to ask for donations and don’t tell me how bad you have it… We were given a ballot to vote with, the nation has spoken.”

“Dear southerners,” added another addressing the relatively poorer residents of the South. “Unemployment, the cost of living, the rise in prices of housing, factories closing down, terminated 50-year-olds without a future, wars, Kassams, neglect of the periphery. I don’t want to hear a single word. Just shut up and that’s it.”

Can you imagine the IDF walking off in protest if the party that prioritized defense had lost the election?

These petulant punks have started a new group; “Lo Latet” (do not give) just in time for Passover. This is an attempt to disrupt one of the largest charities in Israel “Latet who collect donations for the most needy.

“As the holiday of Pesach approaches, I would like to remind you that there are hundreds of people who have no way of celebrating,” wrote one Lo Latet poster. “It’s important that you do not give them a single shekel.”

One might put this down to being a poor loser. I wish. There’s more to it than that. We have failed to properly pass down the ethic of our fathers and mothers that they brought forth from the desert 3500 years ago: A revolutionary ethic that called on us to care for our brother as well as the other.

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Isaiah 58:7

If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers… you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand. Open your hand generously and extend credit to him.” (Deut. 15:7)

Passover is moments away. And we have just met the collective contrary son who asks: “What is this service to you?” He says `to you’ excluding himself. By excluding himself from the community he has denied the foundations of our faith. He has removed himself from Am Yisrael.

Listen to the words of our esteemed  sage Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik:

“Kol Yisrael areivim zeh bazeh.   “All Jews are guarantors for one another.” This is not merely a lofty philosophical aspiration; it functions, in halakhah, as a principle of law.”

“If boiling water is poured upon the head of the Jew in Morocco, the fashionably attired Jew in Paris or London has to scream at the top of his voice, and through feeling the pain he will remain faithful to his people.”

So we tell our contrary son (some say wicked) plainly, without remorse or regret; “Because of what the Eternal did for me when I came forth from Egypt” I do this. “For me and not for him; had he been there he would not have been redeemed.”

The contrary sons and daughters have removed themselves from the people.

The Left has been swept up in an ideology of destruction and warped by those who no longer think that the morals, values and ethics of Western culture-ethical monotheism-is the best system. How else to explain the ease with which they turn their backs on those or whom they claim to care? An election is all that it took to turn their eyes, their hearts, their souls, away from those in need?

There will always be poor people in the land.” Therefore I command you to be open-handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” (Deut 15: 7-11)

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks writes about “ethical life” in Judaism. He says it is celebrated as a source of simhah, “the happiness we share,” or “the happiness we make by sharing.” It is understood, he taught, that our deeds – our values and responsibilities reflected in our behavior – are what concretely link us to our larger community as well as to God. “Faith” and “works” are not distinguished in Judaism, as it is “by our deeds that we express our faith and make it real in the life of others and in the world.”

Am Yisrael, we the people, are failing at a time when we should be cvelling-in our homeland; a flourishing democracy, which is stimulating jealousy in those who surround her. Instead of instilling in our Jewish children the ethic to be a light unto the nations, we have produced too many suffering from grandiose infantile delusions of entitlement or grandiose infantile delusions of intelligence. Or both. These ugly people bring shame to Am Yisrael.

Here you are living in a land where you can be Jewish and proud without fear of the government turning on you. Here you are blessed with the gift of your ancestors; from Abraham and Sarah to Moses, to the sacrifice of the millions of all those who came before you. Here you are blessed to be standing on the shoulders of giants who produced this land of milk and honey from swamp and desert. And what do you  do? You turn against your own people. Others earned Israel for you. You don’t deserve her.

Rather than accept this as democracy at its finest you are endeavouring to undermine your own country, by attacking the very people who need you. You are going after the poor, the weak, the widow and orphan.

A plague has been let loose over the land.

About the Author
Diane Weber Bederman is a multi-faith, hospital trained chaplain who lives in Ontario, Canada, just outside Toronto; She has a background in science and the humanities and writes about religion in the public square and mental illness on her blog: The Middle Ground:The Agora of the 21st Century. She is a regular contributor to Convivium: Faith in our Community. "
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