Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tie me a Jew

I was going to write a quick commentary on my Purim experience hearing Megillat Esther read with a bunch of semi-interested New York Jews, and then sitting down to lunch as a military aviator in the company of a surgeon and a penguin.*

And then a bomb blew up a bus in the middle of Jerusalem, and a person died, and many were wounded, without regard for who they were or what they cared about or whether they'd heard the megillah read at all, and I wondered whether it might not make more sense to focus on the tie that binds us rather than the details the divide us.

That tie: We are Jews. As ties go, this one's a bow tie. It's old-fashioned, it's a bit awkward at times, it's sneered at by the trendy folk (you know, like hipsters) and everyone who wears one has his own style preference, except those who wear one because their circumstances demand it and almost invariably take it in black. And presumably in velvet.

We might focus on our differences and forget how much we have in common, but our enemies never will. Whatever different costumes we don (or don't) year-round and especially this one day a year when we're supposed to celebrate Jewish unity, the people who blew up that bus today would have been happier if we had all been on it. We would do well not to forget it.

Nor to forget the Fogel family who lived in the "illegal settlement" of Itamar -- where the UN declares Jews shall not live -- and who are now dead, thanks to Palestinians who agreed with the UN and, unafflicted by a sense of humanity, saw to it personally.

Nor to forget the Six Million who lived in Europe -- where many people over a long time declared Jews shall not live -- and who are now dead, their existence ended by the Nazis and their demise denied, yet celebrated, by the Palestinians and Iranians and others besides.

Nor to forget the people like Helen Thomas -- may she be entirely forgotten anyway -- who freely, if accidentally, let on that her longstanding hatred of Israel was just a front for her longstanding hatred of Jews.

Let's not forget that we're all on the same bus, and that we just finished celebrating a miraculous combination of events -- God stepping in to save the Jews, and the Jews accepting that they needed to defend themselves by force if they wanted to survive.
"Remember what Amalek did to you along the way, in your exodus from Egypt. That he set upon you on the way and cut down those who lagged behind, when you were worn out and exhausted, and he did not fear God. And it will be, when the Lord your God grants you relief from all of your enemies that surround you in the land that the Lord your God is giving to you as your territory to possess, that you shall obliterate the memory of Amalek from under the heavens. Do not forget." (Devarim 25:17-19)
So let's not.

(Update 3/25: I submit that we also take care not to forget Dame Elizabeth Taylor, who passed away this week. She was a Jew by choice and a Zionist by conviction, and was hated and banned throughout the Arab world as a result. Zichrona l'vracha.)

*The former did not operate on the latter, which was fed well and not harmed in any way, and then drove itself home.

1 comment:

  1. Amen.

    Great post, and I actually don't have anything to add. (You should write that other post anyway!)


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