Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Letter to My Rabbi

Dear Rabbi,

I have turned to you during times of illnesses; my own, my children’s, and my father’s. I have turned to you during times of stress, looking for a word of comfort, direction, or encouragement. How many times you have been there for me as an anchor, a rock, a friend. And now during your nation’s time of illness you turn to me. Asking only one thing. For an original thought. That’s all.

You diminish yourself, and overestimate me. You, one of the greatest thinker’s of our time, who eats, breathes, lives Torah consciousness. That you would turn to me for an original thought shows the depth of your bereavement.

Gilad is home. We are not heartless; you and I. Neither are the minority of others who are not rejoicing at the events. How he got home leaves us a bit dumbfounded. If it were Israel’s first time to sell her soul to the devil . . . but she has been down this road before. Damn. Damn for wanting to appease everyone but the One and Only. Damn for thinking she can continue to feed the crocodile and not get eaten herself. Damn for not living up to whom she is.

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t have an original thought. I know I’m not the only one wanting to pull my hair out if I hear one more time how the Shilat “deal” proves just how much Israel values life. Fuzzy math. That’s what it is. One Jewish soul = a thousand terrorists’ souls. Please. If the fallacy of that so-called logic needs to be explained to a person, then frankly I don’t know if he or she would ever really get it. Imagine my reaction if someone told me, “Ah, your daughter is so beautiful. As beautiful as 1000 monsters.” Like I said, fuzzy math. The number one can never equal negative one, much less negative 1027.

Remember the time you told me not to compare apples to oranges when it came to Dylan and U2? That’s what I thought of this morning. The Shalit "deal" is “apples to oranges” times infinity. It is east never meeting west. How can Israel save a soldier at the price of endangering the public? The “deal” goes against the very reason to have soldiers. Soldiers exist for one reason. To protect a country’s populace. The illogical premise of this “deal” is beyond comprehension.

I know these thoughts and more swirl around your head until it hurts. I’ve hoped this week I could carry some of your pain. You are supposed to be sittin’ pretty in the Sukkah, the primordial catbird seat. But if I’ve felt sick since hearing of the “deal,” I can’t imagine how you have felt. You’re joy has been interrupted. (Or in a deeper sense, your joy has been clarified. If joy is prophecy, ie truth, the joy must hurt sometimes, I suppose.)

Nevertheless, I wish your joy had been interrupted for a different reason. I wish you had gotten a phone call, a page, whatever form it will come in someday, instructing you to leave the Sukkah to come sit in another seat. A seat located in the Chamber of Hewn Stone. I keep thinking how this “deal” would have never happened under the watch of the Sanhedrin.

Dear Rabbi, will the days of the Sanhedrin ever come? The days of Israel living with the Torah again? Of course it will, but at what price? I read the words of another rabbi not long ago. He spoke lovingly, but truthfully about Israel. He spoke of how she had descended to the lowest spiritual depths possible. I didn’t want to believe his words. After the Shalit “deal” I fear he was right. And that makes me sad beyond measure.

You once told me that a person has to think, act, and pray like he or she is the only “gardener” in the world. Like he or she is the only one that can tend to things and get the world back to an Eden-like-state. This way of thinking is not born out of pride, but out of knowing that individual actions are so important. My gardening has temporarily failed.

I have prayed like a “gardener” for Israel. Praying as if my prayers could save her. I’ve prayed that Israel would return to Hashem. That more Jews would connect to Him than in any other time in history. I’ve prayed that this connection would happen without Israel having to go through heartache and tragedy. Oh, how I’ve wanted her to choose that road. Not just for her sake, but selfishly for the world’s sake too. These prayers intensified during the High Holy Days. I had such high hopes.

And then this happened.

But you know what? If Israel isn’t wiped off the map today, then all of my high hopes will return. You’ve also taught me to thank Hashem every morning for returning my soul to me. To thank Him for having enough faith in me to give me another day of living; for giving me another day to get it right. If the sun comes up over Israel tomorrow, then we’ll know He still has faith in her to get it right.

I’ll be adding to my “gardener” prayers though. The pain you have felt over your people while sitting in the Sukkah . . . may you be allotted joy, measure-for-measure and then some, in return, while sitting in the Chamber of Hewn Stone soon and in our time. May you have the joy of watching your people seek Hashem with all of their might. Sorrow over your people has carved canyons in your soul. May you live to experience joy seep into those depths and overspill torrentially.

Love & blessings to you and yours from afar, yet ever so close,