Parshas Va'etchanan
13 AV 5774 - August 9, 2014



Voices From the Ezras Nashim

As I attempt to put thoughts to paper I refuse to look back to see how long it has been since I did so. It is not that there has been nothing to say. It is easy for me to put aside things I would like to express and to make excuses as to why time was not available. This week I cannot do that.

Moshe Rabbeinu uses this week's torah portion to plead with HaShem for the right to enter Eretz Yisrael. We are told that he recited 515 prayers—equivalent to the numerical value of Va'etchanan. As with all prayers he received an answer. An unfavorable one, but an answer.

Our communal prayers for the safe return of our three teenagers, Naftali, Eyal and Gilad were answered with the return of their murdered bodies. Our multitudinous prayers for the safety of our soldiers has been met with over sixty dead and more grievously wounded. My heart bleeds and my eyes burn, but I know that we were answered with mercy and love. In an imperfect world all outcomes cannot be expected to be perfect.

There are four very disjointed issues that compelled my putting fingers to keyboard.

First, is the amazing interview Sean Hannity conducted with Rachel Frankel the mother of murdered teen Naftali Frankel. From the beginning Rachel has been a calm and inspirational voice in the midst of chaos. She is an exemplar of faith and love. During this interview Rachel was asked about how she would tell her younger children to deal with Arabs. This mother of a martyred son carefully explained that she would teach her children that there were good and bad among all people and that they were not to judge Arabs by what happened to their brother. I am humbled by her exquisite and perfect faith. May she be an inspiration to each of us.

Second, and in contrast to Rachel are the reported statements of Arab women who say that they see so little value to life that it is appropriate for them to send their children to be suicide bombers. Interestingly I find that I am distressed for them. How meaningless they have been led to believe their lives are. Is there a way to change a religion, a culture and a society so that life rather than death can be embraced?

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a documentary about a family in Turkey in which 5 adult children are quadrupedal—they walk on all fours all the time. The family is Muslim and is distressed by the fact that their children were being studied to support Darwinism rather than creationism. In fact they were pariahs in their community and the local government attempted to stop the research. Poverty is not an adequate word for this family of nineteen children and their parents. Nonetheless there is love and value to life. The parents love their children and the children love their parents. Toward the end of the documentary the family is taken to the ocean for the very first time. They play and frolic as would any other children. Mother sits on the side smiling and when asked for a comment she replies "I never knew Allah created anything so beautiful." Our Gaza neighbors look at the marvelous creation on their western border and think not of joy and beauty but of death. Same religion—same ingrained beliefs—different outcome.

Third, a disturbing story in the Jewish Press about Hamas dressing its suicide bombers as Chareidim. That Hamas would do this does not surprise me. My fear for the Chareidi community is unbounded. Yes, these charletons can pass anywhere in Israel and do untold damage to innocent civilians. To me their greatest danger lies in what they can do in our Chareidi communities where their appearance gives them virtually free passage into our yeshivas, hospitals and neighborhoods. More prayers Abishter for the safety of all your people and for a leader capable of finding a solution to this dilemma.

Fourth, our local community has a supplement to the newspaper that purports to represent the Jewish community. Today's editorials are so slanderous of the Orthodox, conservative (small c on purpose) and government leaders in Israel that it is hard to determine whose views they really represent. Vituperative is too mild a word. Lacking in veracity does not sum up the deceit. Since I do not wish to sink to the level of the writers of these slanderous remarks about Israel and their fellow Jews I would take this opportunity to remind them that the sin of spies pales in comparison to their loshen hora.

May we all be blessed with peace and the desire to return to Eretz Yisrael.

Am Yisrael Chai

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