I get a weekly newsletter from Rabbi Johnathan Sacks called Covenant and Conversation, this week’s edition is about The Courage of Persistence. It’s always about the Parashat for the week. This week is Toldot. In this newsletter he talks about anti-semitic attacks in the Parashat. When the Philistines filled in the wells of Avraham for example. But a lot of it talks about the dichotomy of antisemitism.
As he points out in Amy Chau’s book World on Fire
Her thesis is that any conspicuously successful minority will attract envy that may deepen into hate and provoke violence. All three conditions are essential. The hated group must be conspicuous, for otherwise it would not be singled out. It must be successful, for otherwise it would not be envied. And it must be a minority, for otherwise it would not be attacked.
He further points out: Hostility to Jews becomes dangerous, she argued, not when Jews are strong, but when they are weak. This is along the lines of what Moshe Feiglin said in his column after the Synagogue shooting in Squirrel Hill.
But there is something more, deeper than the economic factor, which makes us partially responsible for what happened in Pittsburgh. Jewish history is being written today in the Land of Israel. It is clear to all of us that anti-Israel sentiments are the new expression of Anti-Semitism. When Israel is sure of itself, strikes its enemies as it did in the Six Day War, eliminates the hijackers as in Entebbe – the level of anti-Semitism decreases!!! And when Israel displays lack of self-assurance, temporariness, moral flaccidity – a feeling that we are not really on the map, that we are nothing more than colonialists acting only for the sake of self-defense, begging the Hamas for a cease-fire – then our enemies feel that they are just and anti-Semitism flourishes.
Rabbi Sacks continues on,
Antisemitism is a complex, protean phenomenon because antisemites must be able to hold together two beliefs that seem to contradict one another: Jews are so powerful that they should be feared, and at the same time so powerless that they can be attacked without fear.
It would seem that no one could be so irrational as to believe both of these things simultaneously. But emotions are not rational, despite the fact that they are often rationalised, for there is a world of difference between rationality and rationalisation (the attempt to give rational justification for irrational beliefs).
So, for example, in the twenty-first century we can find that (a) Western media are almost universally hostile to Israel, and (b) otherwise intelligent people claim that the media are controlled by Jews who support Israel: the same inner contradiction of perceived powerlessness and ascribed power.
He shows another way that the current situation in Gaza where the peaceful Falestinians so love the land of Israel and long to return to it that they are bombing, setting fire and trying to destroy it.
There is a second aspect of our passage that has had reverberations through the centuries: the self-destructive nature of hate. The Philistines did not ask Isaac to share his water with them. They did not ask him to teach them how he (and his father) had discovered a source of water that they – residents of the place – had not. They did not even simply ask him to move on. They “stopped up” the wells, “filling them with earth.” This act harmed them more than it harmed Isaac. It robbed them of a resource that would, in any case, have become theirs, once the famine had ended and Isaac had returned home.
But in the wake of the shooting at Squirrel Hill, I’ve been hopeful. Why? Because some are beginning to see that self-defense, and defense of others is necessary and right.
As Dave Kopel points out in his excellent paper on The Torah And Self-Defense
This last sentence is sometimes translated as “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.”
This final sentence does not delegate discretion; it is a positive command. A Jew has a duty to use deadly force to defend herself against murderous attack.
Emphasis mine. It is our duty and a positive mitzvah to defend ourselves!
Returning to something in Rabbi Sack’s newsletter, “Jews are so powerful that they should be feared, and at the same time so powerless that they can be attacked without fear.”
Ahh, but these times they are a changing.
‘When This Happens, You Get a Wake-up Call’: U.S. Jews Turn to Firearms Training After Pittsburgh Shooting
I can’t believe Haaretz actually ran this column!! They are pretty much the Israeli NY Slimes and therefore also #FakeNews.
Then there is CAMP JABOTINSKY, they seem to have been around awhile. Just an FYI, my baby Shimshon’s middle name is Zev, after Zev Jabotinsky. It’s fitting, it means “Wolf”.
This made me a little sad, as did this comment at the end of the article.
“I think he absolutely is generous in what he wants to do,” Ader said. “I think he wants to help and is very well intentioned. It just isn’t for us.”
Arming people, Ader told the TV station, “is a preventative measure, it is not part of the solution at all. The solution is civil discourse.”
I absolutely know he is entitled to his own opinion, but I don’t think he realizes yet that there are people out there that want to kill you, your congregation and there is not one thing civil or un that you are going to say to them to have a dialogue.
Ahh, yes. These times they are a changing. It doesn’t matter how you want to dress that pig up.
It’s still anti-semitism, it goes way back, it is unreasoning and it’s lethal. It is also much, much harder to implement if the target of your irrational hatred is armed and realizes they have a duty to protect themselves, their families and their community.
A friend of mine asked me after the shooting, “Why didn’t someone shoot the man? Why didn’t they stop him”? I pointed out I didn’t know the gun laws in Pittsburgh, but I rather suspected that being big city on the east coast perhaps they have pretty strict gun control and they had been legislated out of their right to self-defense, and therefore, their right to live. This is what happens when you elect big government, people controlling leftists.
Perhaps the new members of the Second Amendment community will begin to understand a big part of the Second Amendment is fighting to keep it because there are most certainly those that prefer an unarmed populace.
Should I mention the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht is tonight?