SOME THOUGHTS FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT:by Binyamin L. Jolkovsky, jewishworldreview.com, Nov. 18, 2014
In a previous life, I was a rabbinic student. First, at a prominent Chassidic yeshiva in Brooklyn. Later, at Jerusalem.
There’s something very special about receiving spiritual training in the Holy City; about walking along the same paths — some times literally — as the great Prophets and sages of the ages.
But I almost decided against it.
When I contemplated tranferring, I was a teenager and, frankly, scared. The First Intafada had started. (There was no knowing there’d be others). There were bombings and murders. A pattern to the mayhem was elusive. Purposely.
One never knew where or how The Enemy would strike. Westerners may not fully grasp how terrorism takes hold. It’s not just the carnage that roils you. Fear of the unknown is its most powerful weapon. One fears, however statistically improbable, that it could be you next. After all, it had to be somebody.
I discussed my concerns with one of my yeshiva’s heads. Rabbi Meir Pilchick was a seasoned traveler. He and his twin — both now deceased — fundraised for our rabbinic seminary around the world. Between trips they often stopped off in Jerusalem.
“You want to know how to avoid a bombing,” Rabbi Pilchick reassured me. “Stay in your yeshiva and immerse yourself in your studies.” He went on to argue that no matter how barbaric The Enemy is, at least they had respect for houses of God.
“When was the last time you heard of an act of terrorism in a yeshiva or shul [synagogue].”
It was hard to argue with his logic. It had been a very, very long time, indeed. I soon landed in the Holy Land.
As you likely have heard, at about 7 a.m. Israel time, two devout practitioners of that “religion of peace” entered a Jerusalem synagogue while the congregation was at prayer. A murderous rampage followed. Armed with guns, knives and wielding axes, they killed four men amid their conversations with the Divine. In cold blood. Others were severely hurt.
The synagogue is in an area nowhere near disputed east (sic) Jerusalem. The hillside community of Har Nof (the name translates as “scenic mountain”) traces its history back to Talmudic times and was barren land when it was rebuilt not long before I reached The Sacred City.
In case Israel’s powerbrokers and deciders had doubts, Israel is now facing the Third Intafada.
I don’t advocate reciprocal violence. But I will not be surprised if this morning’s act of depravity is revenged. I, for one, won’t cry when it happens. This site won’t condemn it, either.
I pray, literally, that Mr. Netanyahu and his pals and pols – who have been entrusted with protecting the lives of a good portion of Jewry – did not squander their time since last summer’s Gaza war. That Israel is now fully prepared — rearmed and strategized. They certainly had to have anticipated this day would come.
Rabbi Pilchick was, it turns out, wrong. The Enemy can be more barbaric than could ever be imagined. Israel must recognize this and act accordingly.
War is about winning. No other sovereign state puts its soldiers in harm’s way as Israel does. By my lights, that claim of superior morality is, in fact, immoral.
So, too, is having mercy on evil.
This time Israel must do what’s correct. It must put its safety before The Enemy’s. And if the “world” doesn’t like it, LET THEM GO TO BLAZES!
Israel is already there.
Your feedback is appreciated.
In gratitude and friendship,
Binyamin L. Jolkovsky,
Editor in Chief,