Friday, August 05, 2005

Serious Post

Yes, this is actually the one serious thing I have to say about the world currently, so I suppose that my blog is the appropriate place to put it.

'Yehudi Lo Soneh Yehudi- A Jew doesn't Hate a Jew'

A couple of days ago, I tried to write a personal kinah for Tisha B'Av. I'm not really good enough at either Hebrew or poetry to have been able to carry it off, but this is what I wanted to say:

I'm scared. It's almost Tisha B'Av and I'm terrifed, because for perhaps the first time in my life, I can clearly see the hand of G-d in history, and I don't know what to do about it.
It's almost Tisha B'Av. Anyone with a Jewish education can tell you what the Sages say was the reason for the destruction of the Second Temple. 'Sinat Chinam, baseless hatred,' they'll say, and everyone can tell the story of Bar Kamtza insulted at the party.
And so every Tisha B'Av, we go to speeches on slander, and try to be kinder to our friends, and a whole lot of other very nice things, and feel ourselves bringing Redemption one smile at a time.
How can we be so blind? Read Josephus. Read any decent history of the destruction era and wee what they have to say about defining Sinat Chinam- about political factions fighting other factions, about civil wars, about Zealots refusing to let Moderates compromise away their holy land to a foreign oppressor, about Moderates willing to surrender everything in painful treaties for a chance of peace, about infighting and hating, about religious and irreligious, doves and hawks, rebels and loyalists...about hurting one another so much that we were easy prey to the destroyers. About how Sinat Chinam was more a literal cause than a theological one.
So I read about Sinat Chinam and I'm scared. Because Rav Kook tells us that we won't get the Third Temple until we acheive baseless love. Because the Rambam tells us that true repentance is when you are faced with the same test and able to succeed where before you failed.
And so I'm scared. Because for the first time in 2000 years, G-d has orchestrated history (the last fifty years leading up to this? 100 years? 2000?) to give us a country, and ancient dilemnas, and an opportunity to really repent a 2000 year old failure. And once again, despite 2000 Tisha B'Avs, I see us going for each other's throats again, fighting other Jews, hating other Jews, seeing other Jews as Them and not as Us.
And so I'm scared. I don't know who's wrong or if anyone is, and I don't know who should stop doing what or how or when. And I don't know when disagreement turns to war or how much or how little one must protest what they feel is wrong, and I don't have any answers or any wisdom, or anything much to share except for my fear. And my tears.
And also my hope. The hope I feel when I hear about Army officers joining settlers for Mincha, right-wing synagauges still saying the prayer for the state, passionate discussions with friends ending with jokes. Because this is also our opportunity to pass. Because G-d has finally given us a genuine second chance, and with that chance comes the hope for true repentance. Because we don't have to fail.
Yeshaya has a powerful parable, in which he writes the name of the Kingdom of Israel on one stick, and the name of the Kingdom of Judah on another and he brings the sticks together until they merge into a singel stick in his hands.
Our dream can never be to be two sticks, however close to one another, saying 'I am a stick, and you are a stick, and sometimes I can love the other stick.' Our goal- our hope, our chance- is to say 'I am a stick and you are the same stick and so I love you as part of myself' - love that is inherent and therefore can ignore any disagreements or sins- love that is baseless and senseless.
G-d has given us an opportunity for success greater than anything in 2000 years, and with it comes the danger of failing once again. Please see His hand or at least His message- bring the sticks together into one- make this Tisha B'Av the last one forever.
Amen.

1 comment:

MiriK said...

I said it before but I'll say it again;this is what I've been thinking and feeling for several weeks already. at this point, I'm not even sure if tefilah works, bc I think this is the bit where G-d gives His hand over to us and our free will (remember that?)and I'm not sure any amt of prayer will make everyone in Israel wake up and say "why, just look at how silly we're being. can't we all just get along?" I'm scared too.