Op-Ed: Cry Zion, Lest Thy Ultra and Anti Sons Trap the Light
Dr. Phlip BrodieThe author worked at the University of Pittsburgh where he received his doctorate. He made aliya recently with his wife and lives in Maaleh Adumim.
Zion is a woman who appears at present to lean upon her two strongest children.
One of these children curses her with a contorted anti-religious fervour. The other turns away from her to serve G-d religiously with ultra-fervent denial.
While she cares for all her children, not all her children care for her.
Her strongest ignore her. They fight so bitterly they have no time for her. One hates the other and the other rejects the one; so disposed, they seem to have nothing but scorn for their mother.
Zion might feel completely abandoned, but for her younger children. These reach out to her. But as they reach, they cannot touch because they are pushed away by their anti- and ultra- siblings. Zion is trapped between the hate of the anti- and the denial of the ultra-. She wanders, aimless, her heart torn by those closest to her.
Her misfortunes come in pairs. Two Temples destroyed. Two exiles.Two irreconcilable sons. But her comfort also comes in pairs: teshuva as spiritual return to faith and teshuva as physical return to Zion; two wars that have miraculously brought freedom and emancipation--the War of Independence and the Six-Day War; two all-powerful parents, the source of whom she is--Heritage and Land.
Zion weeps because she can see her future, but is powerless to move forward: her two strongest children restrain her and her younger children are not yet strong enough to help her.
If her eldest struggle against each other, they still agree on one thing: Zion will always be their focus, as one rejects with cursing, the other with denial.
Zion tries to escape her imprisonment. Her youngest watch, appalled.
Her eldest force her hand. One child, the most powerful—the anti-- has controlled her before. He wills to control her now; meanwhile, the other son—the ultra—refuses to speak; because his belief contains denial, he will offer no comfort; because that faith is both strong and stubborn, he refuses to let her move.
Her younger children become restless. Awake, Zion! Awake for your children’s sake!
Her parents, Heritage and Land, watch their descendants in sorrow. Their daughter is abused by her strongest children, the anti- and the ultra-, while her younger offspring are treated by their elder siblings as unwanted orphans.
Their strongest grandchild, the one with the most responsibility, rebels by rejecting his entire past, both Heritage and Land, while the other strong grandchild rebels by denying Land, claiming that he descends only from Heritage. Torah, he cries, is everything. It is the only thing. Land today is at best neutral; at worst, it is the embodiment of wickedness: Land means nothing to him.
Together, Heritage and Land mourn. They have created Zion together and their Zion is enthralled: the anti-child hates, the ultra-child denies, and the younger children are spurned.
Still, Heritage and Land are wise. They can see what the grandchildren cannot. They see the future; and they see that only the youngest, the most scorned, will inherit that future with the fullest inheritance. It is they who cling to family. It is they who are loyal.
Zion does not have her parents’ vision. She cannot see her future as clearly as they. She cannot move forward. She cannot defend herself. And yet, despite the pain caused by her elder children, she hears her young ones' voices.
She is indeed restrained. But through those younger voices--so persistent, so filled with hope and joy-- she stirs, reminded of family, her lineage. Through those joyous voices, she understands that her future does not belong to those who refuse or deny. Her future belongs to those who want to embrace the Land-- and sing.
Zion, Zion, awake, awake! If your anti-child would destroy and your ultra-chld would deny, they cannot help you. It is they who are helpless, not you! Forgive them! Sing to them! Comfort them! If they cannot see how events lead to your Fulfilment, you must turn to them. Draw them near. They are your children. Do not let their refusal tarnish your hope.
Help them heal; show them the way. Do not be silent!
Zion, you have the power to awaken closed hearts with song: sing with your young children. It is they who will lead. Sing with them. They are your future.
Let your future become your song.
Zion, your legacy is Heritage and Land. Your strength is Heritage and Land. Your past was Heritage and Land. Your future will be Heritage and Land. Sing, Zion.
Remember the songs of old. Sing to teach your stronger children while you sing for joy with your younger children.
Sing, Zion. Sing now of Heritage and Land so that those who choose the wrong path can return.
Sing before they turn against you forever.