Sunday, July 16, 2006

Bomb and Bomb Somemore!

Rabbi Lazar Brody is a smooth talker, and in the business of kiruv and teshuvah,i.e. bringing Jews closer to Orthodoxy and repentance. His site is interesting as an example of the diversity of Jewish life. Friday he posted this story:

“Message from Persian Kabbalist Chacham Z: Chacham Z comes from Mashad, Iran. He is an anonymous tzaddik… one that looks like a fishmonger or a milkman on the outside. Don't let that fool you. If you want to feel true humility, then discuss Torah, Talmud or esoteric with Chacham Z. His blessings are like money in the bank. Today, Chacham Z came to Ashdod. I couldn't believe what I saw - he was distributing free books of Psalms to passersby, ice cream for children (to relieve their worry), vegetables for the poor, and pastries to soldiers. He had an entire welcome wagon in his battered Fiat 127, model 1981. He called me over and blessed me, and said "Hashem will do tremendous miracles. Iran is in big trouble. If Israel does a warning strike on a secondary Iranian town, such as Isfahan or Mashad, they will succeed! Achmadinejad will see the strong arm of Hashem if he doesn't back off of Israel. The Torah says we shall dwell alone - we don't need America or anybody else's help! If the Iranians persist in attacking Israel, then Tehran will be hit with a nuclear weapon. Hashem wants us to do Tshuva, so He chastises us. But, He will protect us against Iran. Let the IDF fight fearlessly and with no restraint from the nations of the world. We must support our dear soldiers with tshuva and Torah!" He wished me "Shabbat Shalom" and drove away… Like other tyrants, Achmedinejad will run to his own destruction. Wait and see, it's all comin' down.”

I remember in 1982, the last time we were in Lebanon and attacking Beirut, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe was saying "Bomb, bomb, bomb!" His reasoning was that after the Holocaust, we had paid our dues and there was nothing to fear. We have been severly punished for our sins, and the imperfections in our collective soul have been removed. He felt that trust in Hashem, together with strong military action, is all that is required. All the hindrances and difficulties that Jews faced in the 2000 years of exile have been removed.

In the course of the first Lebanese War, 17,000 Arabs and 675 Israeli soldiers were killed. After Sabra and Shatilla, the bombing of the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Marine Barracks in 1983, and the continued occupation by Israel of Southern Lebanon for 18 years, the Israeli army went down from Lebanon in 2000. The PLO presence from Southern Lebanon was removed. In its place came the Iranian and Syrian supported Hezbollah.

My view is this. There is an element of truth in what the Lubavitcher Rebbe said. Something very fundamental changed after the Holocaust. There are 1.2 billion Muslims, and 14 million Jews. In general we have won, they have lost. I am LESS confident that this positive change in our fortunes can be used to guide our political and military strategy. I feel it is prudent to base our strategies on assumptions that are not metaphysical, and have the possibility of being confirmed. Believing we are on a roll underwritten by God is a metaphysical assumption. I feel I am in a minority. Many Jews since 1967 have a magical sense about them. Miracles happen, and in recent times they have happened to the Jewish people.

Robert Aumann, this years Nobel Prize winner in Economics, recently said that peace will come to the Middle East when both sides feel they have nothing to gain by war or procrastination. In this last go around, both Israel and its enemies feel there is a lot to be gained by another slugfest, and both sides, despite their obvious anxiety, feel confident they will win. Under such conditions it is difficult to think of peace.

I pray we will prevail quickly and successfully.


At 9:31 AM, Anonymous jinpa said...

There is no way that peace can come as a result of war. What is needed is a charismatic person with guts and absolute integrity who can remind both sides that they are both People of the Book, descendants of Abraham, and should be treating each other with compassion and love. Rabbi Hillel said, "Do not do unto others that which you would not want done unto yourself." All over the world, people are failing God's test for us - which is whether we can love each other despite our differences.


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