Friday, August 3, 2007

Shabbat Ideas - August 3, 2007

It was a fast week where I had nothing to say, so here are my Shabbat Thoughts for August 3, 2007:
I don't care who speaks at YearlyKos and neither do they because they won't support Hillary anyway.
The Forward Covers the rebuilt Temple. King Lego-land: Cohen or Levite?
The Newest old-school Jew

This week Moses continues retelling the story of the 40 years of not asking for directions. According to Rabbi Plaut, "Moses stresses the love, respect and unique adoration due the God of Israel" (Revised Edition, 1226). We deal with idolatry, the good life, stiff-necked people and the good land. This is the speech where your dad tells you why you do what you do and why not to revert to the ways of the past.

But as we sit here towards the end of 5767, should we revert just a little bit? It only seems like we are commanded to remember the past so not to repeat the errors of our foreparents. But now it seems like we just read about our past and not critically think about these mistakes.

This week we saw a group of asinine legal rulings from Israel. From the JNF bill, which stinks from head to toe, to the local ruling not to allow Ethiopian immigrants to go to school in Petah Tikvah, it is hard not to think that Israel isn't learning from the mistakes of the past.

The closest ally (and best banker) of Israel is the United States. Many of these very stupid decisions being made by Israel has already been tried in the United States. Segregation, not a good idea and separate but equal doesn't work so well either. The land of Israel should not dictate the state of Israel; religion cannot produce a democratic and safe state.

There are thousands of American and non-Israeli Jews out there shaking their heads this week saying, "what are you thinking!" I know I am not alone in saying that these kind of non-military actions make it near impossible to defend Israel rationally as a democratic state. If Israel wants to abandon its Declaration of Independence (it is all the rage to get rid of major founding documents these days...) then it should just up and and do it. It won't lose American backing, but most likely liberal Jews around the world will stop feeling any connection to the modern state.

That is a major problem. A few weeks ago, the New York Times Magazine covered the political ambitions of Tzipi Livni where she said that Greater Israel, Democracy and a Jewish majority are an impossible trio. She is right. But these backwards mistakes take us to place where even two out of three become difficult.

Remember the long way that the Eternal your God has made you travel in the wilderness these past forty year, in order to test you by hardships to learn what was in your hearts(Deut 8:2).

What is in our hearts? Will it lead to the fulfillment of the commandments that make our world better, or will it lead to the failure of the first Jewish state in 2000 years? As we sit and remember why we wondered this weekend, let us look to the story of our own persecution and try to help apply some of this difficult hands-on education to the way we treat others. "For we were strangers in the land of Egypt, Spain, Russia and Germany."

Shabbat Shalom

1 comment:

phil_in_ny said...

I love shabbat, although sometimes I don't always follow through with plans.
I try to go to temple a few times a month.
My partner and I also light shabbat cnadles on friday night and cook a nice dinner, that is of course when I'm not dizzy from a hectic schedule.