Saturday, August 8, 2015

Heating Up to Boiling

Yom rishon, 24 Av 5775.

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Ever take the time to watch a pot of water come to a rolling boil? It starts with tiny bubbles at the bottom of the pot, followed by steam rising from the increasingly noisy and active water, until at last the bubbles are climbing over each other violently. If the pot is quite full, the dangerously hot water can boil over. If you are too close, the burns can be devastating.

The news is daily filled with greater tension and uncertainty, not just for Jews in Israel, but for Jews around the world; and non-Jews are in just as much danger, whether they feel affected by it or not. Some "near the top of the pot" may not yet realize how hot it's getting, but those of us nearest the burner are already feeling extreme heat.

The higher than usual atmospheric temperatures have surely not helped the rising tensions.

The horrific incident of a religiously-dressed Jew murdering a Jewish girl at a Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem, in some mistaken belief that he was fulfilling God's desires, scares me to my core. And if this was God's desire -- which I absolutely do not accept -- I would be even more frightened. Whatever God wants from us in this situation, b'zman hazeh, my teaching by excellent and holy rabbis did not lead me to believe that killing a Jew would solve the problem. I prefer the solution of a rabbi in one Hareidi community in Israel who, when asked what should be our response to the first Erev Shabbat Gay Pride parade ever, said, "Stay home and make Shabbat. That is the best protest."

As if this is not enough, we are surely on the brink of another war with the Arabs, this time, inside our borders. I firmly believe that the suspected "Price Tag" attack that resulted in the death of an 18-month-old Arab and his father from a firebomb attack on their home will prove to have been perpetrated by a rival Arab family. But in the meantime, far too many on both sides of the argument assume that this heinous crime was committed by Jews. I don't know how the laws governing the media work here in Israel. But I know in America you're not supposed to publish headlines without "alleged" or "suspected" until the perpetrator is convicted. We are sometimes our own worst enemies.

Speaking of enemies... How's the whole embracing Iran thing going for ya? I have stayed fairly quiet on this subject, as there are many people more coherent and knowledgeable than I saying much. I will let my beloved Rabbi Menachem Goldberger from the Baltimore synagogue Congregation Tiferes Yisroel speak for me, in a letter he wrote to his Baltimore congregation. Thank you, Rabbi, for your strong words. May many more in our former home country speak out as you have done. In time.

Rabbi Goldberger, before we aged him beyond his years.
Dear Kehilla HaKedosha,                       
Erev Shabbos Parshas Ekev 5775     B"H        

Yesterday Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, announced that he will vote against the Iran Nuclear deal.  I encourage you to read his statement which is thoughtful, and very thorough.  It's available on line at Yeshiva World News as well as on other sites.  Representative Eliot Engel of New York, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee announced he will vote against the deal as well.

I want to congratulate these men on their brave and courageous stance, under tremendous political pressure from the White House, for voting their conscience and expressing clearly the danger to the world of a wealthy, nuclear Iran, which this treaty would allow.

President Obama, in his speech at American University a few days ago, reached a new low in comparing the "hard liners" in Iran with the Republicans and stating that they found common cause with each other.  I guess that President Obama forgot overnight that he is the one who just snuggled up to the Iranian hard liners and made a deal with them, that the hard liners are not a fringe group but rather the government of Iran lead by their supreme leader, and that he found common cause with them.  I guess he forgot that the people of Iran who tried to overthrow this wicked regime in 2009 were left to themselves as he sat on the sidelines and gave them no US support.   President Obama found no common cause with them.  When he speaks I feel like I'm reading "1984" by George Orwell. 

May Hashem Yisborach, our true help and strength, have compassion on his precious nation Klal Yisroel and watch over us.  May He guide us on the right path and help us to overcome our enemies.

Good Shabbos, Shalom al Yisroel,

Rabbi Menachem Goldberger 

May this particular pot be calmed, somehow, before it boils over and burns everything around it beyond saving. And may Hashem at last decide that it is time for Mashiach, whether we deserve it or not.
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