A Grain of Sand

"I will multiply you as the stars in heaven and as the sand upon the shore." - Genesis 22:17

"I can see the master's hand in every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand." - Dylan, Every Grain of Sand (on Shot of Love)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Israel - Darkness During the Festival of Light

I'm a mess of mixed emotions right now. I can barely bring myself to look at pictures of beautiful Palestinian children bandaged, bloody and bruised as a result of Israeli rocket attacks in Gaza - of corpses lined up next to one another surround by people wailing in grief. Try as we might, we cannot pretend that these are the faces of Hamas terrorists. Certainly Hamas terrorists and agents of their administrative apparatus have been killed - but these children? All of the bodies in the street? I believe in the moral value of proportionate response in war - that is, the notion that it is immoral to respond disproportionately to a threat. It is hard to see this as proportionate.

And yet...why has the world been silent as Hamas has violated the truce that was in place? As Hamas fired rockets into Israeli civilian areas? An organization with medieval social values and political objectives attacks the only democracy in the area and escapes without criticism. This is Israel's predicament, constantly: its sovereignty is violated innumerable times, it faces deadly attacks against its citizens, responding the way any other nation on earth would if it faced similar threats - yet the world is silent. Voices of outrage come only when Israel responds.

And yet, again...it is agony to see the Jewish state involved in this. This is not why Israel was created. Can Israel be more than a state? Must it be locked in realpolitique? Does it deserve the title Jewish state if it cannot transcend?

We must respond to this by turning to Jewish values and reflecting. Our responses cannot be conditioned by anxiety about whom we will disappoint or about whose side we fear to be on.

May it be Your will that the children of Abraham and the children of Ishmael one day live in peace.

1 comment:

  1. Admiration for Rabbi Rose’s because of his blog “Israel-Darkness During the Festival of Light”

    Rabbi Joshua Rose speaks so poignantly about his mixed emotions of the violence taking place in Israel. I was so glad that he has the same mixed emotions as I do.

    I was in a warm mood of believing that HaShem would bring peace to Israel and the world, after I experienced such warmth from Chanukah Shabbat services and Chanukah Torah Studies and Sunday services at a church near my home.

    I had just applied for a job at a convenience store, run by a Muslim family, 5 houses down the street from my home. They are such fine people. How can we understand each other when such violence is done mainly because of other people manifesting some of the wrong beliefs in our different faiths?

    I do see what Rabbi Joshua sees as Israel’s predicament in wanting to put out the match before it erupts into uncontrollable violence, holocaust and more unthinkable tragedy.

    My love and respect for Rabbi Joshua Rose was solidified by his humane loving concern for all the Lord HaShem’s creatures whether they are direct descendents of Jacob or not.