Saturday, January 31, 2009

An Embarassed Note to My Readers

The good news is that I am just a blogger and not your rabbi. The bad news is that I goofed in the previous posting. Although I correctly named it as parshas Bo, circuitous route out of Egypt and the battle against Amalek belong to this week's parsha, which is Beshalach. My family got a chuckle out of my confusion.

Any of my readers for whom I am the sole connection to Judaism might think that Pharaoh plea bargained the ten plagues down to seven in exchange for the Jews leaving Egypt without great wealth .

"OK we won't chase you out of Egypt. Pharaoh will give everyone a stimulus package check. OK?"

No it didn't happen that way.

Neither did Condoleeza Rice or Henry Kissinger broker a peace agreement to stop the "cycle of violence". The UN did not for that matter send troops to guard the border of Goshen with the rest of Egypt as a compromise alternative to leaving Egypt.

The plain truth of the matter is that I goofed. I take Torah seriously enough to call attention to my own mistake when that happens. I don't want to have anyone err on my account, although my site meter paints a humbling picture of the size of my readership.

When I think of Moshe going back to Pharaoh ten times to get permission to emigrate it is kind of like "deja vu all over again" as Yogi Berra used to say.

How many times does Israel make "painful concessions" after showing good faith to sworn enemies who have no intention of keeping their word? The refrain is not "Let my people go." but "Leave us alone." And this plea was not made once but many times.

Jews chased not only from Europe but from Arab lands are pounded with rockets and murdered in school. They are bombed by airplane and murdered with bare hands.

Meanwhile the Arab street rejoices at every new slaughter.

Finally when we fight back, the world "gets religion" and decides to stop the "cycle of violence, even though we risk our own lives to spare innocent civilians and try to pinpoint armed combatants.

From "Let my people go."to "Leave my people alone" the same pattern repeats itself. Moshe and the Jewish people would have been happy to leave after one or two plagues with a handshake an no severance pay. The choice was not ours. Thousands of years later, it is still the same story.

Some of the events today seem to be open miracles. In terms of body count, Israel is a low level conflict. From 1998 to the present, the Congo has had over five million deaths. Algeria has had over 150,000 deaths in the same time frame. If you throw in Sierra Leone, Algeria and Sudan and all of the other wars in Africa, you have a body count that outstrips the combined Arab Jewish body count by about 1000 to one. It defies reason and logic that a tiny sliver of land commands such attention and is judged so differently from other countries. I see the raw material from which a holy book will yet be written. I see a Greater Hand at work.

I apologise to my readers for messing up on the parsha post. It's embarassing, kind of like walking down Thirteenth Avenue with your fly down. Some people are saying that Israel is going to face some rough times in the near future. I hope they are wrong. If they are right, I hope G-d will tear those pages out of His book. Enough already.

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