Every society needs those who see what is wrong and fight to make them right. No society is perfect, no country without flaws. But when a community rises to fight tyranny and injustice, the difference between being effective and being street hoodlums rests in the cause that stirs them.
How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces. (Eicha/Lamentations)
I drove through my beautiful city of Jerusalem on my way to work. No, it isn't really my city, but I love it so much
Some took to the streets of Jerusalem and desecrated them.
that sometimes the "my" just slips in. The Bar-Ilan intersection looks like a war zone. I've never been to war, so perhaps it is an unfair description. Perhaps it is enough to say that what I saw is far from the way it appears on normal mornings.
Jerusalemremembereth in the days of her affliction and of her anguish all her treasures that she had from the days of old. (Eicha/Lamentations)
Signs of numerous fires are seen on the road and on the sides; garbage is strewn all around; traffic lights are smashed, some dangling from their sockets; the light at the junction of Golda Meir and Bar-Ilan does not work at all; cars enter haphazardly, driving into and around the garbage.
Jerusalem hath grievously sinned, therefore she is become as one unclean; all that honored her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness; she herself also sigheth, and turneth backward. Her filthiness was in her skirts, she was not mindful of her end; therefore is she come down wonderfully, she hath no comforter. (Eicha/Lamentations)
Most of those who caused this damage have never been to war either. Unlike my sons, they won't defend this land, won't serve in our army against those who would destroy us.
Many of those who protest do not "recognize" the State - but for the medical services they use, the city buses that transport them to and from their destinations. They pay whatever taxes they must, avoiding many that can be manipulated. The city takes their garbage away, provides lights in the streets they walk at night, and the country pays towards their children's education.
In a few days, we will sit and mourn for the destruction of our Holy Temple over 2,000 years ago. We will sit on the floors in the synagogues and read Lamentations (Eicha) - of a time when we abandoned God's teachings and, in effect, God showed us what it would be like if He ever abandoned us.
For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water; They sit upon the ground, and keep silence, the elders of the daughter of Zion; they have cast up dust upon their heads, they have girded themselves with sackcloth. (Eicha/Lamentations)
Many of these people - who are my people despite their failure to see the connection - will not lift their hands against our enemies, preferring to find legal loopholes that suggest their prayers are more righteous than those of my sons, that their opening a Gemara is of more value than my sons doing the same.
All this I struggle with as an Orthodox Jew, as a mother who has sent a son to war and is about to have another
"Sinat hinam", hatred between brothers, would yet still destroy us.
join the army. I love them no less than those other mothers love their sons, who do not serve. I watch as my sons stop their lives, pick up guns and stand on our borders; and I fight within myself to understand why these mothers find it acceptable that my son should serve while theirs do not.
Yet, almost without warning, this community was stirred to battle, rallied to rise up and fight. Some took to the streets of Jerusalem and desecrated them. In their visible black coats and hats they rioted and threw stones, and those who are not religious stared in wonder. This was the lesson my religious brethren gave to my secular brothers; this was the war they brought to our streets.
Their battlefield was the city of Jerusalem, their weapons fire, shouting, rocks and masses of garbage strewn on the holy city streets when they returned to their homes. Their targets seem to have been the traffic lights, street signs, garbage cans, fences that separated traffic, police, a welfare office, and even sanitation workers who come to make the neighborhoods cleaner.
And their cause? They battle not for an abused child, but for his mother, the woman suspected of starving him until he weighed only 7 kg. at the age of three years. They fight to save a woman at the expense of the defenseless child because they hate all things related to the State in which they live, and the State stepped in to save the child.
Even the jackals draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones; the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness. The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst; the young children ask bread, and none breaketh it unto them. The hands of women full of compassion have sodden their own children; they were their food in the destruction of the daughter of my people. (Eicha/Lamentations)
The State of Israel is charged with protecting all its citizens, on the borders and in the streets. It is responsible for the children most of all, because they are the innocent. Where was the community that now is so up-in-arms over the arrest of this woman when her child was denied the basic requirements needed to thrive?
The anger of the LORD hath divided them; He will no more regard them; they respected not the persons of the priests, they were not gracious unto the elders. (Eicha/Lamentations)
Where were the rabbis and organizations who energized a community to take to the streets? And what lasting image will people take with them of a community stirred to defend a sick mother whose child will live today not because of the community, but because the State stepped in to save him? Our police, our security forces, our doctors.
Lest some think that I include all the hareidi community in my complaint, it should be clear that there are those who choose to serve in the army. I recognize that the majority did not come out and vandalize Jerusalem and desecrate God's city. For those who are ready to stand with me and condemn the violence, the needless destruction, I thank you, praise you, welcome you.
There are simple truths here, told by people who gain nothing by lying. This woman took her child to the hospital seeking help. The child received medical care and will live. He will live not because those protesters took to the
He will live not because those protesters took to the streets and attacked traffic lights.
streets and attacked traffic lights; he will live because doctors know the signs of child abuse and are charged to do more than treat the symptoms.
Those within the hareidi community who took to the streets picked the wrong fight this time and the shame of that decision, these actions, will live on long after that child is discharged to relatives who should have known better, should have done something.
Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the heaven; they chased us upon the mountains, they lay in wait for us in the wilderness.... The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion, He will no more carry thee away into captivity. (Eicha/Lamentations)
In the two thousand years since we lost our Holy Temple, the sin of sinat hinam, hatred between brothers, would yet still destroy us. It is for the hareidi community to decide whether they will join with the people in praying for the health of our children, the rebuilding of our land and our holy Temple, or if they will continue to fight lamp posts, traffic lights and garbage cans.