Batya Medad made aliya from New York to Israel in 1970 and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Recently she began organizing women's visits to Tel Shiloh for Psalms and prayers. (For more information, please email her.) Batya is a newspaper and magazine columnist, a veteran jblogger and recently stopped EFL teaching. She's also a wife, mother, grandmother, photographer and HolyLand hitchhiker, always seeing things from her own very unique perspective. For more of Batya's writings and photos, check out:
Adar 10, 5770, 2/24/2010
me-ander and Shiloh Musings. Thanks
This is supposed to be the "pro-Israel post" West Bank Mama requested for a special round-up. I'm not quite sure how to approach the assignment, and I'm still not sure what I'll write even as I type this. I hate the defensive type of article, because it legitimizes the attack by going over the negative points. I'm of the "Never complain and never explain" fans. Each of us has a different approach to defending/promoting the existence of the State of Israel. A few months ago I was interviewed by Ben Hubbard of the Associated Press. My interview got very mixed reviews by friends and fellow Hasbara, information corps, members.
Since I generally like to get to the root of problems and not just "whitewash" them, I'll concentrate on history, simplifying it best as I can.
Today's modern, Twenty-first Century world has few nations with histories thousands of years old. The State of Israel is the modern country for the Jewish Nation/People. That's the nitty-gritty of the situation, ha'eekar, the main point. For some peculiar reason, that has always bothered people, other nations.
This coming Shabbat is Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat we're commanded to remember that the world is against us and wants us destroyed. In Maftir, the final Torah reading on Shabbat, we hear of how the Jewish People were cruelly attacked by Amalek as they/we exited from Egypt. It's customary to reread it over and over in different accents and tunes so that everyone understands. Is it translated into various languages abroad? I should hope so. Every Jew must understand what happened to us thousands of years ago and how it still happens today.
Yes, in simple words, that's what it's all about. No country, no international organization can be counted on to help us! I'm not paranoid, I'm just plain pragmatic when I say that we can only count on G-d and on ourselves. The Haftara, (Biblical versus 5 book Torah) reading this Shabbat will tell how Saul, the first Jewish king sinned by not immediately executing all of Amalek. For this awful sin, we're paying until this day, because our enemies are the descendants of king Agog who managed to impregnate a woman during those forbidden hours King Saul gave him to live. That's what happens when one is merciful to one's enemies. Samuel the Prophet had been mentoring King Saul, a very disastrous and ill-conceived plan. A leader must be a leader through and through, not a figurehead. Saul was succeeded by King David, and Samuel retired. King David didn't need that sort of intense and detailed mentoring. It's clear when you read King David's T'hillim, Psalms. He had a direct connection with G-d, like Moses did. Samuel, Saul and David were our main historical figures during the first stages of the Jewish Kingdom, after our tribal federation, after our slavery in Egypt and after our Forefathers, Abraham, Issac and Jacob wandered around our HolyLand. We are their descendants in every way. None of the nations that had been here in our HolyLand then exist today, only us. We are forced to fight new enemies for the same reasons we fought Amalek thousands of years ago.
Our very survival is proof that we're supposed to be here. We were exiled as a nation, but Jews always lived in the HolyLand. Now we have returned as a Nation as a People, not just individuals. The public readings of the Purim story as told in Megillat, the Scroll of Esther which took place historically after King David, always has me amazed. It reinforces the fact that we're the direct descendants the continuation of that ancient people and the ancient story. Jewish People all over the world read it and celebrate our historic victory over Haman and all those who wanted us totally destroyed.
Today the simple fact that there is a State of Israel for the Jewish People proves that we are supposed to be here. The fact that we have survived with our history, tradition, religion, language etc is totally extraordinary and inexplicable by normal laws of nature.
Let go of the goyishe non-Jewish culture and mind-set. Soon we'll be celebrating Passover. "Avodim hayeenu l'Paroh b'Mitzrayim..." We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt..." The problem was/is the enslavement to Pharaoh, to that foreign culture. Free yourself of foreign values and priorities!
Chag Purim Sameach
Have a Truly Joyful Purim