Richard Kronenfeld
Adult Ba'al Teshuvah Ph.D. Physicist

Between Chanukah and Purim Part II

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In part I of this post we examined the dual threat of spiritual and physical extinction hanging over the Jewish People. How then do we deal with this double threat?

Following the dictum that the experiences of the fathers are guideposts for the descendants, we look to the first confrontation in the Torah, namely between Eisav and Yaakov on the latter’s return to Israel from Charan. Yaakov adopted a three-prong strategy:

  1.  Prayer – necessary for all occasions but insufficient by itself. Hashem expects us to do hishtadlus, that is, to do whatever we can through our own actions.
  2. Appeasement – For Yaakov, appeasement constituted sending an enormous number of animals, organized into well-separated droves, as a present for Eisav.
  3. Prepare to fight – Yaakov divided his encampment into two camps, figuring that if Eisav and his 400 retainers attacked one camp, the other could escape. And in fact, Yaakov spent the entire night wrestling with Eisav’s guardian angel. In the morning, he reverted to appeasement by having his wives and children come to the forefront and bow to Eisav, and then making his appearance, bowing seven times to the ground and calling him “My Lord.”

First, prayer is always essential, especially in this instance because the survival of Judaism and of the Jewish People is on the line. In an earlier post I proposed a way of combining prayer and fasting as Queen Esther did at the time of Purim, but not for three consecutive days.

Second, appeasement has its limits. Yaakov was able to get through to Eisav, at least temporarily, because they were fraternal twin brothers. Nowadays it’s rare for people to have brotherly feelings toward anyone who isn’t a member of their identity group. Nevertheless, the established Jewish defense organizations profess to rely considerably on allyship. Appeals to other identity groups have a mixed record. Despite Jewish communal support for Black Lives Matter, woke ideology, progressivism, abortion rights, LGBTQ rights, and the like, and their defense of anti-Semites such as Representatives Omar and Tlaib, the results are clear: Blacks are twice as likely as whites to hold anti-Semitic views. More generally, it may be difficult to find allies, as a recent survey showed that 85% of Americans believe at least one anti-Semitic trope, such as Jews “are more willing than others to use shady practices to get what they want,” or Jews are more loyal to Israel than the U.S.”, whereas 61% did in 2019.

“Researchers found a substantive correlation between belief in anti-Jewish tropes and anti-Israel sentiment across all respondents.”

And this survey was conducted before the new Israeli government was elected. With all the slander that has been directed against Mr. Netanyahu and the Religious Zionists from all sides, who knows how much higher these numbers can go. Moreover, even if we form alliances, they may not last long. Consider that while in the early 1920’s members of the Hamburg city assembly joined forces with Jewish organizations to fight anti-Semitism, by 1930 the assembly had become a forum for anti-Semitic speeches, and street terror and vandalization of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries became a fact of life.

Consistent with these results, it has been reported that about ¼ of corporate managers are less likely to hire Jews than previously.

While it is far from me to offer concrete proposals (I don’t claim to have ruach hakodesh or any other form of Divine inspiration), I can offer several observations that I hope will be helpful.

  • It is shocking that the ADL has praised Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a disciple of George Soros, for “speaking out against anti-Semitism.” They conveniently ignore Bragg’s arranging a plea deal for a Muslim terrorist, Waseem Awawdeh, who savagely beat a Jewish man in a gang attack in 2021. Awawdeh’s sentence was reduced from seven years to six months using the excuse that “…[he] was the sixth person to join and left before it was over.” In other words, as the New York Post  observed, beating and kicking a Jew “who has already been beaten and is lying on the ground, in the face or head, that’s not so terrible.” The result: attacks on Jews in New York increased by 41% in 2022.
  • While Holocaust education has its place, it is insufficient by itself to change minds, and for a few sick individuals it could even encourage the desire to finish the job Hitler started. We need to concentrate on our current enemies, Leftism and Islamism, and making known their history of anti-Semitism, beginning with Stalin’s purge of the Jewish old Bolsheviks and the assassination of Leon Trotsky, and then proceeding to Arab exploits such as the Hebron massacre of 1929 and the Farhud (pogrom) riot in Baghdad, Iraq on June 1-2, 1941, which was subsequently followed by the mass expulsion of 800, 000 Jews from Arab lands in “retaliation” for the restoration of the State of Israel in 1948.
  • It doesn’t do much good to recount all the technological and medical advances Israel has given the world over the past 75 years. Recall that the Torah records the first occasion of ingratitude toward Jews: “A new king arose over Egypt who did not know of Joseph.” [Exodus/Shemos 1:5] Thus. after Joseph had rescued Egypt from famine and built up its wealth enormously, his people were enslaved. Further, during the Middle Ages Jews were pushed into the money lending business because we’re permitted to charge interest to non-Jews, while Christians weren’t allowed to charge interest to their fellow Christians. So, the gentiles borrowed money from the Jews, and when the loans came due, they made a pogrom, killed the Jews, and thereby canceled their debts. The same considerations apply today regarding all the contributions to civilization we have made. We can’t expect gratitude from ingrates such as the college students who proclaim themselves to be “oppressed” while enjoying luxurious accommodations at prestigious universities that charge over $50,000 a year for tuition and room and board are excused from classes and from learning so they can spend their time holding protest demonstrations against their “oppressors.” We should all be so oppressed.

In conclusion, it is heartbreaking to think that all the sacrifices of the Greatest Generation and its successors were in vain. Far from being defeated, fascism and Marxism are close to achieving total control of the United States, in conjunction with Islamism, which was allied with the Nazis in World War II. And each political theology has a nation that exemplifies it – Russia (fascism), China (Marxism), and Iran (Islamism). Essentially, all of Western civilization going back to the Revelation at Mount Sinai is now on the line.

Sadly, my co-religionists who support the “progressive” agenda are aiding and abetting the hostile takeover of America. At the same time, they are effectively sacrificing their own children and grandchildren to serve the “woke” ideology. How so? The Left’s definition of “oppressors,” coupled with intersectionality, lumps in Jews with whites generally as oppressors not worthy of special protection, so that according to DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), which is rapidly becoming the dominant ideology of all American institutions, we should comprise no greater share of doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, and so on, as we are of the overall population namely 2.4%. Watch the numbers of Jews admitted to colleges and professional schools plummet as they did during the 1920’s, when Harvard and other elite institutions imposed a thinly disguised quota system.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

About the Author
I'm a native New Yorker (Brooklyn, to be precise) transplanted to the desert as a teen-ager. I hold a Ph.D in Physics from Stanford and have taught mathematics and physics at the high school, community college, and university level. I'm an adult ba'al teshuvah and label myself as centrist Orthodox and a Religious Zionist along the lines of OU, Yeshiva University, and Mizrachi.
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