Ad Ana..How Long?

While the world reels from the news of the Paris massacre, millions of observant Jews the world over will not know what has happened until after sundown Saturday night.

That is because during our Sabbath, which begins shortly before sunset on Friday and ends after sundown on Saturday, observant Jews do not listen to radio, watch TV, use the computer, or do anything besides pray, share festive meals, study Torah (our sacred texts), and rest.

Clearly, I’m not observant at this time.

But when I was, I remember emerging from the Sabbath bubble on Saturday night to hear of one or another horrible acts of mass destruction. 

I can only imagine the terror, the overburdened communication services as Jews fly to the phones, Skype, email, etc, to try to locate family and friends in Paris, on Saturday night.

This is what the terrorists want.  They want terror!  And they will keep getting what they want, as long as we keep giving it to them.

A good friend, who will not know about the Paris massacre until tomorrow night, said this to me yesterday:

There are two ways to think about the problem.  There is the Saul way, and there is the David way.

Saul said, “No, we can’t possibly fight the Philistines!  There are too many of them!  They are giants!  They are demanding that we send out our best hero, and we don’t have any hero to send out!”

David said, “Fuck a bunch of that.  My God is all the hero I need.”

Even if you don’t believe in such a thing as a God (I’m not sure), it’s crucial to look at things from David’s point of view.  Are we going to let ourselves be globally bullied in the name of political correctness, or are we going to demonstrate to those who would kill us that it’s really not worth the trouble?

We are stuck between the fire and the frying pan in a lot of ways.

The late Walt Kelly, creator of the comic strip Pogo, once wrote, “We have met the enemy, and they are us.”  I quote this often, because I believe it’s a risk we take when we react to violence with violence.

Another problem is that when dealing with an enemy for whom the best possible outcome is to become a “martyr” (in quotes because dying for one’s beliefs historically does not include taking innocent lives with you), paying violence back with violence simply fans the flames.

On the other hand, doing nothing, or trying to broker peace by means of words, does not buy peace.  Our enemies see this as weak.

It seems that no matter what we do, no matter how easy we make it, how many doors are opened, there is a large and growing faction that now is not content merely to murder Jews and become martyrs.  This new “caliphate” actually DOES want to take over the world.

When IS first raised its head the world laughed.  How could a handful of rabid extremists do more than blow themselves up in town squares in Syria? 

The world is not laughing now.  More and more disaffected youth from every part of the world are going into training camps to become IS fighters.  Young women willingly travel to Syria to marry fighters and make more of them.  Girls are kidnapped, raped, and forced to marry IS fighters, to make more of them. 

Americans watch TV and say,  “That’s on the other side of the world.  It has nothing to do with us.  It’s a passing thing.”

I watch the Western world’s reaction to the growing violence, and I think of the same reaction during the run-up to World War II, the outrageous rounding up of Roma, gays, Catholics, and, of course, Jews.  No one could believe that this was happening, because it was unbelievable.

When I speak this way, people shout me down, accuse me of being a pessimist, a Chicken Little, tell me this is a whole different thing, a tempest in a teapot, etc.

But it’s not.

It’s the same thing, different day, and this time it’s not just the Jews (although it seems that anytime is open season on Jews).

It’s everybody.

So I ask you…is Goliath really so big nowadays that one mighty force cannot destroy him?

Tell me what you think.  I’m listening, and I’m afraid.

Leave a comment

12 Comments

  1. I still have the delusion that they are being controlled by alien parasites that are making them do these terrible things. I would write about it but I am too afraid I will be hunted down

    Reply
  2. Laura, we Indians keep on facing one or the other attacks. In 2008, five lads less than 30 years of age made the whole Mumbai shudder. We lick our wounds and get up, just to be hit by another.

    Do you know in India, there are people who are awed by Israel. They way this country survives which might sound ruthless to many. Sometimes the survival is a heavy struggle.

    Reply
  3. Why cannot people be in peace? Why cannot we just say no to violence? How long does this vicious cycle go?

    No answers to any questions.

    Reply
  4. I’m not sure what to say anymore. You’re ‘wrong’* to want to just drop a bomb on IS or any other terrorists. And it seems the passive way of talking doesn’t work. So what is left?
    I wonder what they want exactly? I’m curious as to what happens if terrorists get what they want. Israel would be theirs? We’d all be Muslim? Dead? Where does it end? It never will.
    There have been terrorists since day one. Europeans were terrorists to the Native American Indian. And there will be another group after the Muslims….
    I think it’s difficult to think this planet will ever live in peace unless something threatens our planet as a whole. .. not a funny answer, but like an alien attack. Something that is equally terrifying to everyone.
    *yes, if I could push a button, I would.

    Reply
    • Yes, the Jewish couple who were murdered were Israelis. They provided hospitality to Jewish visitors from all over the world–Shabbat meals, kosher food, a place to pray and learn. The husband wrapped his dead wife in his prayer shawl before he himself died…one final act of kindness. Their three year old son saw the whole thing. He was brought back to Israel and is being raised by his grandparents. As I recall, the Pakistani killers arrived by boat, so as to avoid the Indian border patrol. Very smart and sneaky. But no courage.

      Reply
    • Ilex, I sadly agree with you. Sort of funny that I am reading Kurt Vonnegut’s “Sirens of Titan” right now. Maybe the Martians will in fact destroy the Earth to make room for their own population. It’d be a weird sort of relief from this constant state of war we seem to be in.

      Reply
  5. Tragic. Have no solutions.

    Reply
  6. sandracharrondotcom

     /  November 14, 2015

    I loved the inclusion of the Walt Kelly quote in this text. I had heard it a long time ago, but clearly not in such a context as to take note of it. Now I want to include it in my binder of special quotes. I have no answers to the world tragedies except to say that they are tragic and I find myself awaiting the day an area near me or where I am is hit by blkets and explosions. I am scared too.

    Reply
  7. I’m dealing with it by pestering the Almighty on behalf of humanity. After all, Jesus said “love your enemies and pray for them” and then some wisearse added “because it messes with their heads”. Which is true. And about the only way I can deal with the inability to do anything else. Xxx

    Reply
    • I think you may have something there 😉 My teacher Sarah Yehudit Schneider wrote a book, “You Are What You Hate,” which teaches a constructive approach to dealing with enemies. Of course my people have many enemies, so we have to find ways of dealing with them, since there are so many more of them than there are of us. In a nutshell (although I highly recommend reading the book) she says the only thing we can do is to pray for their enlightenment (and hopefully repentance, but enlightenment will do!).

      Reply

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