Monday, July 23, 2018

incompatible headlines

Just before 9 Av I was looking at Arutz 7 and noticed one tragic headline story after another.  In Paris a Jew was beaten, in Vienna Jews were attached, there was the usual fire kites in southern Israel.  All over the world it seems Jews are under attack and in peril.  The I chanced upon another site and I discovered that for the first time a kosher restaurant will open and be shooting for a Michelin rating.  For the first time you can take a kosher cruise to Antartica (I guess we are running out of places to go.)  

How can these two worlds exist side by side?

Those who learned the sugya of the churban in the Gitin will recall the story of the great city of Tur Malka, where while the enemy was slaughtering its inhabitants on one side of the city people were dancing and partying on the other end.

I don't think Chazal are just trying to convey to us the great size of Tur Malka.  I think Chazal are trying to show us how oblivious people can be to the plight of their neighbors, blind to what is happening until tragedy finally strikes them.

Even if we are not altruistic enough to think about what is happening to others for its own sake, we might well do so if only for selfish reasons.  

Midrash Eicha writes that had we been zocheh we would read the pasuk of "Ra'oh ra'isi es ani ami asher b'Mitzrayim," but now we have to deal with the pasuk of "R'ei Hashem ki tzar li mei'ay chamarmaru."

R' Yisachar Teichtel in his derashos explains that if we look at what is befalling others, "asher b'Mitzrayim," who are in difficult straits, that should motivate/ inspire/ shock us to correct our own sins if only to avoid the same plight.  But if we are blind to what is happening elsewhere, then, "mei'ay chamarmaru," we will be eating our own kishkes up with grief down the road because the same fate will eventually catch up with us.   


  1. what if the attacks worldwide(?) are onesh for persistent thoughts of five-star food? or for a dream of trekking to Antar[c]tica that excludes all other dreams (the rebuilding of Jerusalem, for example)?

    or if the fine restaurant or the kosher cruise are rewards one gives oneself for having worked hard to "correct...[his] own sins"? or are the only escape--for a price--for a social worker sleepless from empathy?

    ...the plot thickens (as does the hollandaise sauce; the ice, however, thins...)

    1. I do not cogitate that it results from the festinate scurry to the lemming precipice of gleeful self indulgence. I think it's because our women, who ought to be immaculately chaste, dress and behave lewdly and wantonly. "Not tzniyusdik" is far too kind a description. We, the men who understand what's at stake, should have the courage to put a stop to this horrid behavior.