Trust and Insecurity

Part of the terrorist war we're fighting is the one for our souls. Our hearts are being raped by agent provocateurs abusing our innocence.

Batya Medad,

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Part of the terrorist war we're fighting is the one for our souls. Our hearts are being raped by agent provocateurs abusing our innocence. We are being forced to lose our trust in our friends, neighbors and even family. It is impossible to know if someone is sincerely concerned and enthusiastic, or just acting a role to tempt and trap us.

Avishai Raviv was neither the first nor the last Jew to earn his living destroying Jewish lives. Reliable sources keep telling us that there are "Avishai Ravivs" in every town and every high school, yeshiva, women's seminary, hilltop, university, etc. The Shabak (General Security Services) is probably the second biggest employer after the Ministry of Education. Is it true? There's no way for ordinary people like me to know.

What are the implications of this? It's very simple. We can't trust anybody. Even married people have discovered that their spouse was an agent. Avishai was married and divorced during his decade working for the Shabak. Yes, he was active in a wide variety of nationalist political groups, which attracted youth, from the mid-1980s until he was finally exposed after the Rabin assassination. He always had the money the kids needed to cover expenses, and who looks a gift-horse in the mouth? The students on limited budgets were easily trapped by his looks and generosity.

And how can an average person like myself know whom not to trust? Can the agent be the neighbor always available to help, lend a hand or an ear? Could it be someone who's always complaining? Maybe it's the unemployed neighbor? Or could it possibly be the one who has a job in the community or in a position of authority? Is it the one who always knows what's going on? Or maybe it's someone with radical ideas, or the one who seems so quiet? Or is it someone in high office making decisions that seem not the wisest?

Just the fact that we've reached the stage that we take for granted that there are spies in our midst, like lice in the kids' hair and viruses in the computer - there's an inherent danger in all of this. It causes serious cracks in our social structure, and I wouldn't be surprised if this was one of the primary aims. All the government has to do is plant rumors laced with a few true tidbits and human nature will do the rest.

What's the truth? Honestly, I don't know. Whom can I really trust? Just G-d, but we mustn't live alone, without support and companionship. As it says in Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter 1, Mishnah 6: "Yehoshua Ben-Perachya said: 'Provide yourself with a rabbi [teacher], acquire a companion, and judge every person with merit.'"

We must find ourselves someone from whom we can learn Torah, which encompasses every facet of life. "Acquiring" a companion requires an investment; true friendship isn't superficial and fleeting. And lastly, judge others as you would wish to be judged. None of us are perfect; we all make mistakes.

And if we've made mistakes, then there's t'shuva, repentance. That's one of the beauties of Judaism - it is aware of human frailties. We must constantly improve ourselves, focus on what we must do in both the personal and public parts of our lives.

These are very difficult and frightening times, and we mustn't lose our trust in our friends and family. I have absolutely no idea if any of my friends and neighbors are employed as agent provocateurs. I must focus on what I believe is right and not let myself be drawn off the track, because the final responsibility for my actions lies here with me.

May G-d give us the strength to know what's right.




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