aired Nov. 23, 2014 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: http://youtu.be/Nko93BwJGS0
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of November 23, 2014.
And here I was, all set to do a gentle sermon about Thanksgiving. How grateful we should all be for friends and co-workers and family — well, maybe not family — but for all the loving, helpful people in our lives. How we must be thankful to HaShem if we still have good health, functioning limbs, working brain cells, food on the table, a roof overhead — preferably one with a fiddler on it — a decent job, a couple of hobbies, a warm winter coat and a not-bad summer vacation.
Saying grace after every meal has never been my thing. What, I should sit there thanking God for his bounties, and by the time I’m finished, the food gets cold? No wonder goyim are so skinny; by the time they finish praying, their entrees are back in the microwave. Nevertheless, a couple of times a year, it’s good to remember that everything comes to us by the courtesy of God above and the hard work of our peers and forebears.
How lovely to offer a Rabbinical Reflection on such a spiritual and fraternal topic. However, the news this week forbids me from doing such a gentle, joyful sermon. I am, once again, detoured from being my usual snuggly marshmallow of delight into sounding like a vindictive, vituperative expounder of hate and revenge. Last Tuesday, two Palestinians armed with guns and meat cleavers burst into a Jerusalem synagogue and began firing and chopping. They murdered five people, including a policeman, three American Rabbis and an Orthodox Jewish Brit. For their troubles, the assassins, Ghassan Abu Jamal and his cousin, Oday Abu Jamal, were sent to martyrdom and their 72 ugly-ass virgins in the sky.
As an extra-punitive measure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then ordered that the killers’ houses be demolished. Honestly, I don’t know how upsetting that is to a dead terrorist. What’s he gonna say? “Aww, I was gonna make hummus tonight. No wait, I’m being shoveled into an unmarked grave. Gee, I’m gonna miss the sun room.”
Still, hurrah for any action by the Israeli government that warns Arabs we will not stand for such horrors as violence, murder and television programs featuring Jane Velez Mitchell. Let there be no doubt: bloodthirsty Palestinians may not storm into a temple in Yerushalayim and start executing people. Not unless it’s the high holy days and they bought a ticket.
Seriously, do you know why these terrorists embarked upon their rampage? Was it eye-for-an-eye revenge? Were they mad about Jews who went on a killing spree in the local Falafel Mart? No, because that didn’t happen. The Palestinians were irate because Jews have been visiting a holy site on the Temple Mount that the Arabs think should be off-limits to Hebrews. Doesn’t matter that Arabs in East Jerusalem can go anywhere they damn well please; Jews are forbidden from going where the Arabs don’t want them. Apparently, the penalty for trespassing in the Arab world is being hacked to death. Which makes sense, since the penalty for stealing is cutting off a hand, and the penalty for adultery is, well, let’s just call it extreme circumcision and leave it at that.
Following the synagogue attack, lame-duck President Obama is calling for peace and restraint on both sides, downplaying the savagery of the event and, as usual, doing nothing. Hey Barry! We had three Americans murdered by agents of a foreign regime. Isn’t that like, war, or something? I know the dead Rabbis weren’t black, but you could at least raise an eyebrow.
In the weeks ahead, you can bet your burqa Israel will do a lot more than snivel and call for moderation. There’ll be raids, roundups, demolitions and, alas, probably some vigilantism, too. I won’t deny that there’s a back-and-forth, you-did-this-so-I-do-that element to Israeli/Arab conflagrations. Remember last time? They killed those hitchhikers, so some misguided, hyped-up Israelis murdered some soccer-playing kids. Much as I hate the radical Arabs, killing innocent people is never an answer to anything. In fact, that’s what got us here. If the Palestinians would stop being terrorists, we’d stop being enemies. And if we stop being enemies, they can visit our synagogues, and we can be tourists at their shrines. And we’ll talk, and we’ll laugh, and we’ll bitch about the government, and we’ll share music and art and sports and do business deals, and food! We’ll sit down together with pastrami and goat and borscht and eggplant and kugel and yogurt, and we’ll watch TV, and we’ll fall asleep, and you know what we’ll call it? Thanksgiving.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
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