Elster's World

Monday, August 15, 2005

Tragedy Follows a Day of Mourning

Yesterday I struggled to internalize the suffering of my people, thousands of years ago, on the saddest day of the Jewish calendar. Despite all of the thoughts I had read on how to make the old pain fresh again, as we neared the Ninth of Av, I was having trouble yesterday really feeling it.

So as it got on towards the afternoon, I decided that, instead of focusing on the past, I would focus on the present. The destruction of the first and second Batei Hamikdash (Temples) have touched each and every jew today in ways they (read: we) don't even realize. How many people have lost the path who would not have done so it the Temple still stood in Jerusalem? How many intermarraiges would never have come to pass? How would our daily observance be affected? Would we waste so much time following sports, watching TV or doing Lord knows what else with our time if we knew that the spirit of G-d was resting on the Temple Mount, seeing right through us? I asked many similar questions, but you all get the idea. None of us (or at least very few) are anywhere near where we might otherwise be in a "perfect world".

Still, I struggled to feel. Thank g-d I have not left the derech (path), nor has my family and my friends. Again, the loss seemed a little too far away. So, at last, I turned my attention to the following day, August 15, the day the expulsion of the settlers of Gaza was to begin.

Now I fully admit to falling outside of the "Orange" camp. I believe, right or wrong, in supporting the Israeli government (or any democratic government for that matter). I believe that, once the government decided that this course of action was the best course, then we must follow that decision despite the fact that we do not necessarily agree with it. (Personally, I believe this to be the correct course of action - however as I don't really feel like getting into it right now, that is all I will say on the matter.)

However, this does not make what has been going on today in Gaza any less of a Jewish tragedy. Yes, "Tragedy" is the correct word. Jews forcing other Jews from their homes. Protestors forcing soldiers from carrying out orders they have no choice but to follow. The very fabric of Israeli society being torn asunder in a cloud of bitter smoke from burning tires. All while the hordes of the bloodthirsty wait to celebrate on the still-meaty carcass of the abandoned settlements. These events are tragedies ladies and gentlemen, whichever side of "Orange" you fall out on.

And whether you are unable to internalize the suffering of thousands of years past - check the internet, find video of people being forced to leave their homes; homes that they have sacrificed for with blood of their relatives - and tell me then that you cannot feel it. Another churban is taking place right before our very eyes.

The American Civil War was once described as a "people's war, brother against brother". How much more so in the case of Our Homeland. Civil war in hebrew is "Milchemes Achim" - a war of brothers. We are of one faith, of one common thread. Religious, not religious, too religious - it all doesn't matter. We are brothers and sisters and children of the same parents. And this, my friends, is the saddest thing of all.

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