Many questions started to open as I hear of the murder of Ari Fuld e”l. A controversial character, very much loved by the extreme right. And there is indeed a sense of “right-fullness” in people that share Ari’s vision. They do not question themselves. They are in love with a one and only version of Israel and they defend it as if the fate of the people of Israel would depend on it. And you know what? Because I question my own believes, I wonder… what if they are right?
But in amidst all these cavilations there is pain. Pain for the contradiction in which we live immerse in Israel, pain for this Moebius knot that takes us through the same roads, on and on and on…
I hear this Rabbi as he is tearing open his soul. Almost as in a hawl he is telling this story of a father and a son walking on the beach. The son asks his father, a chasid, why the is sun red -Not really a good question for a chasid, must admit-. The father with all his chasidut, answers: “the sun is red when it sets, cause is full of shame (…) that another day passed and the light that he provided it was not enough to bring the “Great Day” in the world. It sets with busha, that another day is passing without the Messiah coming.” And then he asks, the rabbi that was telling the story “what else has to be done?? Hashem! What else!? We do everything you command us! What is there left!?” He is asking an honest question as he is bleeding in his heart.
I think… tomorrow is Yom Kippur… The holiest Day in the Jewish tradition; and the prayers will include, like every year, the reading of the Book of Jonah. The Kabbalists say that this Book contains the code for “saving humanity”. Not chicken feed… “saving humanity”. To me this means the key for the Messiah to manifest, right? Remember Jonah is a profet who trys to avoid his “mission”, which is not for the people of Israel but for the people of Nineveh. The evil of Nineveh was legendary in ancient times, and it was often experienced firsthand by the Jewish people (see Nahum 3:1-5). For Jonah to go to Nineveh would have been the moral equivalent of asking a Jewish resident of New York City in the 1940s to go to Berlin and give the Nazis a chance to be forgiven. They had proven themselves again and again to be the enemies of Israel. So rather than obey, Jonah fled. Amidst the storm as Jonah was drawning he is miraculously saved by being swallowed by a large fish, in whose belly he spends three days and three nights. While in the great fish, Jonah prays to God in his affliction and commits to thanksgiving and to paying what he has vowed.
Nineveh: that is our call.
“So, what else has to be done??”
“Hashem! What else!?”
“We do everything you command us! What there is left?!”
Nineveh. There, that is what is left.
You see? We forget! But it all revolves around the same: “Ve’ahavta Lere’acha Kamocha” Love thy neighbour as yourself.
When your world becomes tiny, tikkun olam -repairing the world- seems rather simple. But I bet you, that when sacred texts are refering to “olam” or to “reacha” what they mean is “Nineveh”. I am sure every Israeli, specially those from the hard right-eous ones, know where “nineveh” is.