Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Children of Yaacov Deserve Better

Israel keeps disrupting my life. I have things to do today, a long list. I’m a mom, a school board member, an artist, etc. There are other things I need to do. But my plans changed. Israel has been doing that to me a lot lately; changing my plans.

Instead of getting things done this morning, I’ve spent the morning crying. Why? First, I heard two teachings on parsha Toldot, one by Rabbi Chaim Richman, the other by Yishai Fleisher. Toldot tells of the birth of Esav and Yaacov, Edom and Israel. As I listened to the teachings, I got a persistent funny feeling in my gut.

Edom. Israel. The sages teach that both cannot be great at the same time. History teaches this also. Only one of them can dominate. The weight of the continual dominance of Edom hit me in the gut and led to tears of frustration. Isn’t it long past time for Edom to fall? Haven’t the Jews had to endure enough hardship under Edom?

The thing is, though, I live in the middle of Edom. I live in the middle of America. So perhaps a few of my tears were selfish ones. What’s going to happen to my family and to me when Edom finally does fall?

Wait just a minute you may be saying, what do you mean by saying America is Edom? I won't go into details here about the Edom/Rome/America connection. For brevity's sake, I'll just say that any power, any country that is against Israel falls into the age-old category of Edom.

Sadly, in many ways, America has stood against Israel for years. I was reminded of one example of America being against Israel this morning. Which led to more tears. Go ahead call me a crybaby. But if what is happening in Israel doesn’t drive you to tears occasionally, then, quite frankly, you aren’t paying attention to what really matters.

A friend who lives in Israel posted this on Facebook this morning: I traveled to Sderot yesterday morning to see the world's largest children's play center, all enclosed by reinforced concrete. 500 kids can safely enjoy an afternoon in a modern rec center, while missles are shot at them . . . what's wrong with this picture?

What’s wrong with this picture? Besides the obvious, what’s wrong is that America keeps insisting that Israel capitulate to people who have shot over 7000 rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot. Jewish children in Sderot can literally no longer safely play outdoors in their own country. America doesn’t just sit idly by and let this happen. American enables this.

Did America insist that the people shooting these rockets leave the area? Did America make sure bulldozers were sent to destroy the homes of those shooting the rockets? No, America insisted that over 8,000 Jewish people dismantle and leave their community to make way for more Arabs to live on Jewish land. Oh, and America just knew that this goodwill gesture by the citizens of Gush Katif would bring a screeching halt to the rocket attacks.

Like I said, I live in the heartland of America. It was such a beautiful morning here that I opened the door to let the fresh air in. Living only a few blocks away from my child’s school, I could hear the sounds of the children on the playground during recess.

Yes, you see the irony. The children of America are running around in the fresh air, with not a worry to encumber them. The furthest thing from their mind is hearing a siren and having only 15 seconds to run to a bomb shelter before a rocket hits.

This is why the funny feeling in my gut persists. This is why the tears flow. My children run under a blue sky. The children of Sderot run in the “Blue Box.” Doesn’t America know that the karma it keeps depositing in its account will demand a day of reckoning? Does it not know that being a conduit for the ruthless power of Esav will bring its own demise? Yet, that reality is not the worst thing that hits my gut. The worst thing is that Israel keeps bowing down to the demands of Edom. Yaacov perpetually bows to Esav.

Israel, the birthright is yours. If you open the pages of Torah you will find it there. There, along with your destiny. If and when you get serious about serving the G-d of Yaacov, instead of the god of Esav, the whole world will literally change. A power-shift so radical, so life-altering is within your reach. Open the Torah and grab it. When you do you will hear the sounds of Zechariah 8:5, “And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.” May my children and I merit surviving the fall of Edom and hear that sound with you.

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