Monday, March 12, 2007

Theatre Of Pain

Many a time, our leaders and rabbis are accused of being detached from their 'constituency', or even reality. Although this might well be true about some rabbis and some realities, many recent psakim, messages and declarations indicate to the opposite. There must be someone feeding them some information he wants them to be aware of.

If certain authorities are able to release decisions about banning or recommending the same books, global warming, wigs, tobacco use, internet ban or 'safe usage guidelines' and so on and so forth, they sure must be aware of other things happening around them.

Yet it appears that unlike leaders of previous generations, our sages seem to ignore the needs of the communities they ought to lead. Either that, or they chose not to see the obvious. When the same authority advocates the use of more fuel-efficient vehicles (to their credit, they did mention dependency on Arab oil besides environmental concerns) and bans tobacco use because of the danger involved, you know something is wrong.* And when rabbinical organizations condemn the sick clowns who join Ahmadinejad's Disaster denial convention, but remain silent on Ahmadinejad himself, his dangerous influence on the Moslem population in the US and EU, and continue their routinely government-schnorring of a few more peanut butter jars for their mosdos, you know that something is very wrong.

Time and again, the ostrich syndrome seems to overtake any and all aspects of authentic Judaism. Our very survival is again threatened, and instead of doing something about it, our leaders are silent.

Before Gerush Sfarad (Spanish expulsion) the Jews were notified about their expulsion a year in advance(although the actual decree was not issued until four months prior to the expulsion). The few who heeded the warning fled, with their possessions, before the actual expulsion took place. But on Tisha’ Beav 1492, all Jews were caught totally unprepared, many were killed, their possessions confiscated, and forced out of the country by force. Although the events preceding the Shoah should be dealt with delicately, arguably, the Jews of that time could have seen the writing on the wall. There were anti-Jewish laws, anti-Jewish riots, and the way in which the wind blew is now, in hindsight, evident, but even back then wasn’t unlikely. As a matter of fact, some actually fled in time to save their skin and some minimal possessions.

We are again witnessing a madman run amok surrounded by weaklings unwilling to challenge him, while he’s getting dressed to kill. There is of course a plethora of ways to deal with this threat, to begin with raising awareness for the severity of the situation to organize public davening and repentance days, to political activism. Rabbinical figures who exert control over communities large enough to be taken seriously by state senators and local politicians should of course do everything in their power to influence the government to protect its citizens. Unfortunately the situation is so bad that not only the government doesn’t care about its citizens, but the citizens themselves refuse to realize the gravity of the situation. Of course, putting ideological disagreements and the feuds of yore behind them is out of the question, even in times of pikuach nefesh. So as long as you are a faithful believer, abide by every ruling of your rabbis, and are convinced that every ruling of their rabbis is ridiculous insanity, fear no evil – for your throat is forever safe from Achmed’s knife!

The beautiful images of the peaceful devouts of the Religion Of Peace shown in the pictures marched on London about a month ago. Rest reassured that every single Rabbi in the UK and worldwide did his utmost best to condemn this march, beef up security, convince the government to crack down on Islamic extremists and throw out all immigrants.

* The smoking ban is of course based on the command “ונשמרתם לנפשתכ מאד – you shall preserve your souls” and the prohibition to endanger oneself. The psak to reduce emissions to prevent global warming (now being debunked by leading scientists) require first and foremost to strip automobiles of their weight – which also strips them from all their security and stability. What protects the driver in an automobile is the car’s frame and the body. Air bags can ease a boo-boo, not prevent bones from being smashed by another automobile.

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