Pesach Rogoway

Blue and White Color War

We are having a color war in our country – not the fun kind from summer camp, but a real one. The no-Majesty’s not-so-loyal Opposition, otherwise known as the Minority, have taken to bringing Israel flags to their demonstrations, presumably to illustrate their claim to being Democratic, as opposed to the Coalition – the Majority – that the Minority claims to be non- or anti-Democratic, Autocratic, etc. If they had to pick a color for the war, it would surely be Blue, for they are certainly blue about anything and everything the Majority even thinks of doing.

The Majority, on the other hand, entered the war late, because they thought it inappropriate to descend to the moral level of name-calling, refusal to accept the election results, etc. Eventually, when fighters started threatening not to fight our war against our real enemies, there was no choice. The Majority had to flex its muscles and show the world that it was the democratic Democracy and the true adherents to the Country‘s Declaration of Independence defining Israel to be a Democratic Jewish state (as opposed to the other way around). Of course, in order to demonstrate this at its demonstrations, the Majority also saw fit to bring Israel flags. If they picked a color, it would of course be white, as a symbol of purity, of being in the Majority.

So now, we have it. Unheard of. Blue against white; white against blue. Is this why we sacrificed, left family, jobs, comfort, everything, to come to the Promised Land, the Holy land? To watch Jew against Jew? It says in the Torah, “they shall beat their swords into plowshares”. It does NOT say, “they shall beat their flagpoles into swords.”

There was a very short article by the Editor, Rabbi Aaron Goldscheider, in this week’s Torah Tidbits called “Israel’s Holy Flag”. It quoted Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik: “A Jew who is killed is not buried in the customary shrouds, but is buried in his clothing – in the bloodied clothing in which his life was taken.” Why? The reason for this custom is so that God should directly take note, so to speak, of the suffering and pain inflicted on the individual and all who mourn for that individual.”

Surprisingly, Rabbi Soloveitchik continued: “the same applies to the Israeli flag. Beginning with The War of Independence, soldiers and citizens have lost their lives for the sole purpose of raising the Jewish flag, therefore the flag of the State of Israel has the spark of holiness of a murdered Jew’s clothing. We raise this holy garment – the flag of Israel – closer to heaven, as a symbol of utmost sacrifice. When the flag of Israel flies – it arouses God’s compassion! The Jew utilizes the flag flying high in the sky, waving in the wind a bit closer to heaven, as a form of prayer – “Please bring comfort to those who have suffered!”

Rabbi Goldscheider concludes, “Yes…beyond a doubt…the Israeli flag contains a spark of holiness -every single one of them. The flag raised high for everyone to see unifies the nation serving as an invitation to every Jew to gather around it in brotherhood and peace.”

What a conclusion! Flags symbolizing not conflict, not divisiveness, not disunity, not downright hate, but unification, brotherhood, and peace. All you flagbearers out there: Think! You are carrying a holy symbol of Peace! Respect each other’s right to his/her opinion. Respect the holiness of the flag, the People, the Land, and the Torah of Israel.

About the Author
I was born in Spokane WA and raised in Seattle. Debra Kandel and I were married in 1956. I was graduated from Yeshiva University in 1957 with a major in Mathematics, and began a long career as a pioneer in computer systems and software development, working for TRW, Aerospace, and IBM in the US, and later for Elbit, MLL, and Motorola in Israel, with much time as an independent consultant as well. As a hobby I also taught at many universities in Israel, including as an Adjunct Professor at Bar-Ilan and subsequently as a Professor at Ariel. I was a member of the team that invented the PL/I programming language. In later years I became Director of Software Engineering Standards at Motorola worldwide and an authorized Lead Assessor of software development organizations inside and outside of Motorola. Meanwhile, our family grew to nearly forty grandchildren and over 50 great grandchildren, the latest born this past Shabbat.
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