When I read that the US will give close to 50 million to Hamas for “humanitarian aid” even as they continue to fire rockets at Israel, I wonder: are Obama and Kerry really that naïve as to believe that this money will not be used for weapons, are they incompetent, or is it a calculated and deliberate attempt to once again undermine Israel’s interests? (I ask myself that question about a lot of the things this administration does.)
I mentioned the Shmira Project yesterday, but there are many other things you can do to help Israel in this time of crisis. I see A Mother In Israel has a helpful post with 21 suggestions.
A few weeks ago, before the latest round of fighting started, my wife and I visited the NY Historical Society (a small, overlooked museum that is really worth a visit if you’ve never been there) where there is a new exhibit celebrating the centennial of the JDC, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. You probably know the JDC helped in the relief efforts after WWII, but the organization is far older than that and it still exists, doing important work around the globe. Anyway, a telegram displayed in the exhibit caught my wife’s eye. This message was sent from someone in Germany in 1933 to the JDC in NY, and it said (I’m sorry we did not copy it word for word) that the situation was not salvageable – instead of relief for those inside Germany, all efforts should be focused on getting as many people out as possible. My wife could not believe that already in 1933 there was such certainty of impending doom. Her own father’s family did not leave Germany until a few years after that. I told her it’s no surprise. 20 or 30 years from now G-d forbid people will look back at the articles in the news that we read almost daily about the situation of Jewry in France and other European countries, the articles we dismiss as alarmist, as right-wing extremism, the calls to get out that people have begun to act on in small measure while others delay, thinking there will always be time to run when things get really bad, and we will wonder why more was not done sooner, why so many failed to act when the anti-Semitisim was so clear, when the barely repressed violence was already evident. Of course I hope and pray that things don't come to that...
Maybe someone from CAIR can help me here, but I am just wondering how many mosques have been firebombed by Jews in response to events in the Middle East, or how many Moslems had to call the police to protect them from riots? Just curious.
Let me end off with some Torah. The first set of halachos the Rambam covers in his Sefer haAvodah is titled “Hilchos Beis haBechira.” The Rambam lists the mitzvos covered in that section, first of which is “livnos beis hamikdash.” The first halacha starts off, “Mitzvas aseh la’asos bayis l’Hashem…” I don’t know what to make of it (if anything), but within just a few lines the Rambam introduces three completely different terms for the same thing: 1) beis habechira, 2) beis hamikdash, 3) bayis l’Hashem. Now, true he uses the term “beis habechira” in Sefer haMitzvos, which is the groundwork upon which Mishneh Torah is built, but if consistency is the goal, then why not continue to use that term? Why use it only in the header for the halachos and then change to something else? And while we are being nitpicky, what do you make (if anything) of the switch in verbs from “livnos beis hamikdash” to “la’asos bayis l’Hashem?”