Global Agenda 2:15 AM 3/7/2014
Inside Israel 1:14 AM 3/7/2014
Middle East 3:13 AM 3/7/2014
Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
A little old lady sits at the table across from my mother during meals at the nursing home. On her forearm is the number which the Germans, may they be erased from the earth, stamped into her flesh Auschwitz.
Like the barbaric Nazis, the wicked Haman was also from the seed of Amalek. Every day, one of the six things that we are called upon to remember is what Amalek did to us throughout our history, along with the national commandment to utterly destroy the seed of Amalek upon the ingathering of our scattered exiles and the re-establishment of our Torah Kingdom in Eretz Yisrael. As Purim approaches, we have an additional mitzvah to remember Amalek’s murderous atrocities against us, in the extra Torah portion that we read on Parshat Zachor, and in the Haftorah of the day. There we learn that King Shaul had the opportunity to annihilate Amalek completely, as Hashem had commanded him, but his misplaced compassion allowed the line of Jew haters to continue right down to this very day. On Purim itself, the noise we make at the mention of Haman’s name, and the foot stamping, are all part of stamping out Amalek’s memory, but, of course, it isn’t enough.
In another hour, the funeral will begin for the Fogel family, a few minutes away from my home. Feeling horrified by the savagery of the murders, and overwhelmed by the pain and anger that our whole nation is left with, it is difficult for to write about it just now. But everyone is talking about it in the media in Israel, so I will write a few words.
When the 8 yeshiva students were ruthlessly murdered two years ago, may their murders be avenged with a devastating vengeance, I wrote that the Torah describes Arabs as subhuman creatures. The INN editors changed my title to read something less radical, but the fact remains that the Yishmael of old has become an iota more civilized over the last three thousand years. As the Chofetz Chaim said, you can dress a Yishmaelite up in a suit and tie, you can send him to college, you can even grant him as degree as a professor, but he will always remain a “pere adam,” a wild beast that looks like a man. Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook reiterated this understanding by explaining that in Hebrew grammar, adjectives come after the nouns they describe. We say a “bayit gadol” for a big house, or “tapuach adom” for a red apple. The thing itself comes first and then the adjective which describes it. The same with “pere adam.” First and foremost, the Yishmaelite, is a “pere,” a wild beast. Then, to describe him, the Torah adds the adjective “adam,” meaning that Yishmael is a beast that looks like a man. How clearly we were shown that yesterday with the barbaric bestial rampage of the sons of Yishmael that left a holy Jewish family screaming out to the world in a tsunami of blood. Even Shimon Peres was moved to remark that the killers bore no trace whatsoever to human beings.
Several years ago at Purim time, the holy Jewish martyr, Baruch Goldstein, of blessed memory, saved the Jews of Hevron from a planned Yishmaelite pogrom by gunning down dozens of Arabs in the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Unfortunately, the conflict with the Arabs continues, their pogroms continue, their killing continues, and the spirit of Amalek is still very much alive in their midst.
What can the Jewish People do to uproot this monstrous evil from our Land?
Right now, I have to leave for the funeral. Maybe afterwards, I can continue. Not now. I can’t.