אַיֶּכָּה – Ayecha? WHERE… ARE… YOU?!?
This past Shabbat, the Parsha (weekly Shabbat reading of the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, called the Pentateuch from the Greek) was Breishit – Genesis – the first section of the first book of the Torah, about the creation of the universe and the planet and all living things including humanity.
Once Adam and Eve are on the earth, the serpent tempts Eve, as we all know, and eventually Adam and Eve become sentient beings when they violate God’s command and eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, aware of their own nakedness (intellectual or just physical?) for the first time. Having violated God’s command, discovering a new, human-centric concept of morality, they cover themselves up and hide from God. The Lord calls to Adam with the single but almost unfathomably poignant term in Hebrew אַיֶּכָּה – Ayecha – Where are you?
This is a call which reverberates throughout history, resonating with any and all people who understand that a set of values, a shared morality with universal principles, binds humanity to standards which transcend cultural norms and time and space.
אַיֶּכָּה – Ayecha? Where are you? is a call from the Torah to every individual to evaluate where they stand at any given time, to make the right choice, to choose the correct and moral path, whatever the hardship involved.
אַיֶּכָּה – Ayecha? Where are you? is a clarion call for our generation.
* In the struggle against the Nazis: אַיֶּכָּה – Ayecha? Where are you?
* In the struggle against apartheid in South Africa: אַיֶּכָּה – Ayecha? Where are you?
* In the struggle against the USSR’s oppressive communist regime and their persecution of Jews and others: אַיֶּכָּה – Ayecha? Where are you?
* In the struggle to (re)establish the nation-state of the people of Israel in the land of Israel אַיֶּכָּה – Ayecha? Where are you?
* In the struggle to protect and defend Israel from the onslaught of Arab and Muslim military attacks and terror over the past 75 years: אַיֶּכָּה – Ayecha? Where are you?
* And today in the struggle to support and promote and defend the nation-state of the Jewish people, in the media and in academia, in anti-Israel and antisemitic circles and political parties across the free world: אַיֶּכָּה – Ayecha? WHERE are you?
Are you making excuses for the brutal murder, rape, beheading, kidnapping and rocketing of innocents in Israel (Jews, Christians, Muslim Arab Bedoin Israelis and others) or are you unequivocably condemning and dissassociating from Hamas and other fanatic Islamists with their hatred of Jews, Christians, Israel, America, Europe and all other non-Muslims? Are you supporting Israel’s right to defend itself — at the forefront of the defense of the entire free world in this clash of civilizations with ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaida, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, Iran and yes Qatar and Turkey and too many others to list here as well? אַיֶּכָּה – Ayecha? Where are YOU?!
In the well-known story of Cain and Abel, after Cain murders his brother Abel in a fit of anger and jealosy, God asks Cain where Abel is, and Cain replies “?הֲשֹׁמֵר אָחִי אָנֹכִי” – Hashomer achi anochi, Am I my brother’s keeper?
And we learn: Yes, I am my brother’s keeper. I am responsible for the welfare and well-being of the other human being(s), created in the image of God (also from Genesis), with whom I share this planet.
And if I am indeed meant to help protect the rest of humanity, how can I and shall I do it? The answer seems clear: don’t merely refrain from killing or harming others: protect them, cherish them, take the difficult but correct decisions and actions to preserve and promote life on this planet. Moral clarity demands this, no less than religious imperative. As Shakespeare notes in the Merchant of Venice, also for the Jews, who are of course human. And never more so than this week (and next week, and next month, as we in Israel struggle and sacrifice and die to rid the world of the scourge of this branch of Islamist fanaticism and terror and its dictatorial regime).
This week, the question literally calls out from the blood on the ground in the South of the land of Israel (yes, that phrase too comes from this Parsha in Genesis we read this week, “קוֹל דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ, צֹעֲקִים אֵלַי מִן-הָאֲדָמָה”, Kol d’mei achicha tzoakim elai min ha-adama, The sound/voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the earth).
The blood is screaming: אַיֶּכָּה – Ayecha? Where ARE you?!!?
Where are you, friends and allies of Israel and the Jewish people, who often prefer access and accolades to the hardships of politically-correct cancel culture.
Where ARE you, keepers of the values of the modern world, where we are sensitive to labels and personal choices, individual tastes and preferences, cultural heritage and the freedoms of our democratic societies?
Where are you, leaders of the free world, as the people of Israel are once again being slaughtered for being a member of the Jewish nation (not for any actions or policies)?
Many western leaders have of course condemned, in strong language and with action also, the murderous rampage and ideology of Hamas this past week, and we can and should recognize and be grateful for this.
BUT where WERE these leaders over the past decades, or century, when one Muslim or Arab fanatic after another – states, terror groups and individuals – declared their intention to murder Jews and Christians, Israelis and Europeans and Americans and others, from Hamas and Iran to Hezbollah and Fatah/the PA to Qatar and Turkey?
And where ARE they now with regard to these countries or leaders, politicians or media personalities or Imams who continue to promote the culture of hatred which leads to such atrocities?
The time has come to act. Against Hamas and against all who support them, and against all the other groups with the same goal of world Islamist domination. Including Iran.
“אַיֶּכָּה” – AYECHA?!? WHERE ARE YOU?!?