29 July 2015

The Status Quo for Jews, part 1

14 Menachem Av 5775

Status Quo:  Latin, the existing state of affairs[source

The 10th of Av 5775, the postponed fast day of Tisha b’Av, saw violence once again on Har haBayit (the Temple Mount).  The 26 July 2015 edition of the Jerusalem Post, at the time of the incident, noted:
the Jerusalem police said they would "continue to have zero tolerance towards any attempt to disrupt the order and harm the status quo," and said the police would arrest anyone rioting at the site and would work to bring them to justice to the fullest extent of the law. (emphasis mine)

Towards press time, this quote did not appear; however, the use of the term was attributed to the Arabs.  I wonder why I am having this 1984 moment, because this is a typical example of The Status Quo as it applies to Jews — even between Jews — and I want it stopped. How about you?

Usually, the term status quo is experienced as neutral, or even positive, and perceived to keep peace unless someone has caused, or is considered to have caused, a breach within it. When it comes to the lives, property and rights of Jews and Israel, whether subtly or overtly, it is as though a complete shattering would take place if we were left alone in peace, to rest and rebuild in our homeland from all the persecutions, exiles and murders that have been brought upon us for the last 2,000 years …the world would simply...collapse.

Rashi warned us right in the first pasuk (verse) of Bereshith (Genesis) that we would be accused of thievery when we came back to our land, and how to reply, very simply:
 א בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ
 1 In the beginning of God's creation of the heavens and the earth.
בראשית: אמר רבי יצחק לא היה צריך להתחיל [את] התורה אלא (שמות יב ב) מהחודש הזה לכם, שהיא מצוה ראשונה שנצטוו [בה] ישראל, ומה טעם פתח בבראשית, משום (תהלים קיא ו) כח מעשיו הגיד לעמו לתת להם נחלת גוים, שאם יאמרו אומות העולם לישראל לסטים אתם, שכבשתם ארצות שבעה גוים, הם אומרים להם כל הארץ של הקב"ה היא, הוא בראה ונתנה לאשר ישר בעיניו, ברצונו נתנה להם וברצונו נטלה מהם ונתנה לנו:
 In the beginning: Said Rabbi Isaac: It was not necessary to begin the Torah except from “This month is to you,” (Exod. 12:2) which is the first commandment that the Israelites were commanded, (for the main purpose of the Torah is its commandments, and although several commandments are found in Genesis, e.g., circumcision and the prohibition of eating the thigh sinew, they could have been included together with the other commandments). Now for what reason did He commence with “In the beginning?” Because of [the verse] “The strength of His works He related to His people, to give them the inheritance of the nations” (Ps. 111:6). For if the nations of the world should say to Israel, “You are robbers, for you conquered by force the lands of the seven nations [of Canaan],” they will reply, "The entire earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it (this we learn from the story of the Creation) and gave it to whomever He deemed proper When He wished, He gave it to them, and when He wished, He took it away from them and gave it to us. [source]
But. It seems to others that we, too, prefer the status quo. We lose human rights, we get beat up and forcefully evicted from our homes and neighborhoods, towns and cities; we get all kinds of insult thrown at us, and YES, WE PROTEST! — and virtually no one hears about it — because, bottom line, whatever we do is wrong. We’re the Jooooooos, the tail of the nations, the rejects of the world. Yes, they may say "Israelis," but once in a while they slip and say "Jews" - as this article from Canada articulately notes. That is the Status Quo; and we, especially our leadership in Israel, do not react as though anything is wrong with the rank embarrassment happening to us “in front of G-d and everybody” at the hands of the nations, even though we have our own country. If anything, they join the world in our degradation, as if they do not share it with us. Does anyone else see anything wrong with this situation? Here is a partial list of items many Jews believe about ourselves:

  •  There will always be hatred between groups of Jews, coming from both sides. We don’t just dislike our brothers and sisters who disagree with us; we despise them, we can’t discuss anything calmly with them, we HAAAAATE them; and it goes both ways for those who indulge in it. Would we have to paint everyone with such a broad brush if we could speak in a more composed manner with one another?
And I could go on, and on, and on. But there is... 

As always, haShem has created a cure ahead of the disease, but it is for us to discover and take the food or medicine for our own good. Let’s take a look at it in Part 2.

DISCLAIMER: I consider my small post to be, at best, a tiny introduction to a proper treatment of this enormous topic. I hope someone (and I believe Someone) is keeping track. Already this past Shabbat Nahamu 5775, Jews in Israel were attacked by Arabs in more than 4 dozen separate incidents. The list is still being updated by the Jewish Press, translating this haKol haYehudi (Hebrew) page — and does anyone else care?  H/T Tomer Devorah


Neshama said...

Hava, CDG, Oh gosh, what do I call you?

I look forward to your fresh perspective on things many others write about but they sometimes sound, oh so, politically correct. However, my dear, you have a clear and biting perspective on our issues. Very refreshing and interesting.

Ok, now for the comments, Re: “hatred between groups of Jews” …… I would tend to think that the hatred is magnified greatly between on one side the 'Erev Rav (anti-religious) / Secular' and on the other side against ‘all other Jews/Israelis’.

Between the ‘all other Israelis’ there is contention and fighting against those who ‘don’t do as I do’ (the conformity syndrome), but i wouldn’t say hatred. One needs a fine magnifying glass to see the difference. It does look like one group hates another, but a Torah Jew is not allowed to harbor hate in his/her heart for another Jew. So that’s where I come from.

However, those who hate us (all other jews/israelis) are anti anything religious and they use the media and the courts to spew their venom [there’s your snake again] :-)

Chv”s that anyone should hurt Yehonatan ben Malkah, but I don’t trust the prez of the us who may instigate anything!

About ‘going up to the Temple Mount’, I also believe that Jews must be allowed to go there and have a place where they can daven or say tehillim. However, there was one Rabbi/Rav (Rav Efrati, I believe) who said that because of the licentiousness in our society, chv”s it should find its way up to the Temple Mount by Jews. That’s something Jews should not do. Regardless what the arabs do. He has a point, as there is no one Rabbi of importance that ALL religious Jews would listen to. That's why we need Mashiach so badly.

I guess I wrote so much I should post something on my blog; however, I don’t always have the strength to put together such a post as you have. Looking forward to your next installment. With Dov going/in the us, let’s pray for his speedy return, we are otherwise missing good dialogue between us.

Hashem should continue to give you inspiration and koach to give us something important to think about.

CDG, Yerushalayim, Eretz Yisrael Shlemah said...

Neshama, you may call me Hava. After all, it's only a transliteration. CDG are my initials in English (yes, normally I spell my Chava the Ashkenazi way. I brought that over here without thinking, and I regret it.).

I agree with you RE: the stronger hatred being magnified at both extremes: e.g. the Meretz political party v. the Neturei Karta "orthodox" sect (I think even ultra-rebellious Korah would be aghast at the latter kissing up to IRAN.).

I'm happy your being a good Torah Jew expels hatred for another Jew from your heart (probably better than I - I might not be as successful as you are.). Not every Jew is a Torah Jew at all - so there may be skewing of hatred from the secular side towards the religious; however, the perception of it is what I'm trying to document, however unsuccessfully. You have to admit, no matter how finely you put it, the divisions between Jews contribute hugely to our situation. And I hope I can convey in my next post the necessity of examining the solution even if one's very soul is reviled by it - which many are. You'll see. I may get more comments than ever - I hope they will be civil about their disagreement.

You should post whatever you have the strength to write. May H' give you more, more, more!

I need a chavruta, and you'd make a very good one (unless you already have one). ;)

Leah said...

Yes, Chava, I hear you on what.you wrote. Interesting.to note.that your comments on the different potential outcomes aftet Yehonaton ben Malka is released all came to my mind. I think for many others, too.
I also think, like you I believe, that we really are on the threshold.
I think that giving him a 5 year probation won't matter because we are.closer to the geulah than that.