My Friend Simcha

In these terribly frightening times I hear more pessimism and much less optimism. People across the globe are desperate for good news, for some indication that the corona pandemic is slowing down, that vaccines are being discovered in laboratories and that humanity has faith restored.

We hear many foolish complaints. “Why do I have to wear a mask outside?” “Why can’t I go to the cinema, the theatre, the opera?” “When can I stop praying at home and go to the synagogue to speak to God?” “There is no toilet paper left in my supermarket”. “I can’t go out for dinner in a restaurant”. “I cannot invite my friends to visit me for coffee and cake”. “How can I go from Rishon Lezion to Jerusalem to visit my children? There is no direct train and bus transportation is limited. What shall I do?”

Complaint after complaint. I understand frustration but complaining does not lessen nor solve problems. We are mostly confined to our homes. How much television can we watch day in and day out? How many books do I have to read to occupy my mind?

In a recent telephone call from my good friend Simcha, he related to me how his parents hid in the woods and forests in Poland for two years hiding from the Nazi murderers. They had barely enough food to survive. In summer months they suffered from heat. In the cold of winter they froze in rain and in snow. But holding on to one another and with strong faith in our Eternal heavenly Father, they survived.

Simcha’s parents endured more painful and more treacherous times than all of us who sit comfortably in our homes sipping tea or coffee and munching on sweet pastries while watching the nightly news on the television.

Our complaints are so trivial it behooves us to remain silent and to diminish our shame.

My friend Simcha is a very wise man, a devoted Jew who prays daily, who lives by the laws of our Torah.

He is a well-to-do man married to a Canadian Jewish mama, a real diamond of a wife, mother and now, a first grandchild… a two month old baby girl.

Simcha is generous in sharing his love with his friends. I am honored to be one among the many. And I am the only non-vodka drinker among his friends!

We have very different views and opinions when discussing the mad adventures of our government led by an indicted criminal whose ego is resented by large numbers of our citizens. Unlike Benny Gantz whose campaign motto was “I put Israel FIRST”. Sadly Netanyahu puts Netanyahu first.

I haven’t had the courage to ask Simcha what he thinks about Trump’s Deal of the Century. He knows my opinion. The proposed peace plan gives more to Israel and much less to the Palestinians. Bibi’s intended annexation of the West Bank lands in Judea and Samaria and his plans for development in the Jordan Valley will be recognized only by Trump’s USA.

Every member nation in the UN and EU will not recognize illegal annexation since it is a breach of treaties and is a severe violation of international law.
If put into effect, Jordan will cancel its peace treaty with us. Sanctions will be placed upon us by the international community. Foreign ambassadors and diplomats will be recalled by their respective governments. And there is the possibility that we may be called before the International Criminal Court in the Hague, the Netherlands, on their charge of war crimes committed by Israel upon the Palestinians.

Our good name will be smeared and we will become a pariah state. An apartheid nation. The doors which were once widely open to receive a visit from the Israeli prime minister will now be tightly shut.

Knowing Simcha as well as I do and having great respect for his knowledge and compassion, I suggest that he runs a campaign on a neutral ticket for prime minister in the fourth election which may have to be scheduled for August unless a new government can be sworn in (or, as I prefer, sworn at).

Netanyahu is seeing rebellion in his frustrated and angry Likud party. He has given out ministerial portfolios to many devoted Likud lawmakers but has neglected some of the most important and loyal of his supporters.

He has offered several of them second or third rated ministerial positions which they have unanimously rejected and are now spewing words of vengeance upon their troubled leader.

From my one-sided point of view, I had wished that Netanyahu would step down pending the trial which he is about to begin in a few weeks. I would not be upset if the High Court finds him guilty of three separate criminal charges and sentences him to a term in prison, a fate suffered by a previous prime minister and a previous president.

Mentioning it to my friend Simcha, he responds vigorously “Esor, where is your rachmanut (mercy or compassion)? ”

It seems to have gotten lost somewhere in the political circus among our clowns.

But in any case, I am proud to have a friend like Simcha. His Hebrew name means joy or happiness.

“K’shmo, ken hu”. And as is his name, so is he. He is my good friend Simcha.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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