Last night I had a dream. I don’t remember dreams that frequently, so perhaps this is just another aspect of aging :) But this one came through loud and clear. In the dream I was talking with friends, although none of the dream friends were people I would recognize among my real life acquaintances. We were discussing the current war in Israel as it was related to scripture. Then I heard a voice intone; strong, clear, emphatic, “The warning is in the parsha. The warning is in the parsha. The warning is in the parsha.” This phrase was spoken three times, and then I woke up.
Enemies Among Us (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For people who don’t know, the, “parsha,” is the weekly portion of torah that is read in synagogues worldwide. Right now we just completed Parsha Pinchas, which tells the story of a priest who drove his spear through an Israelite prince who was cavorting with a Midyanite princess openly and obscenely right in front of the mishkan, the place where the presence of the Holy One dwelt among the people. All the Jewish people worldwide study the same weekly parsha; so we are all on the same page, so to speak, along with any who choose to join us.
Pinchas, as a Levite, was given responsibility to guard the sanctity of the mishkan. It appears that all the others who had responsibility to act failed. In the face of the others who failed, he acted alone. It makes me think of the Talmudic saying, “In a place where there are no men; be a man.” This means: Do what needs to be done, even if you are the only one doing it. Some are remembering who they are and rising up today to do just that. These are people who don’t possess a following, honor, respect or credentials; they may even lack talent and ability. But as these are willing, they will be enabled, as Betzalel was gifted with all the wisdom and skill required to build the tabernacle.
Somehow, I don’t think Pinchas was worrying about what the neighbors might think, or the future of his Levitical career, or was even concerned that the Midyani fan club mob might tear him to pieces or the powers that be might urge restraint. We are told that Pinchas was zealous for the honor of the Holy One (not his own) and made atonement for the people. This grandson of Aaron turned away the divine wrath, and received in turn a blessing of eternal priesthood upon his descendants. Don’t try this at home folks.
I believe that what is occurring now is that the murky past and the murkier future are coming into clear focus as they merge closer and closer together. This is what Daniel may have been talking about when he was told to seal up the scroll of the prophecy until the end of days when men shall roam/search(the internet) and so knowledge shall increase.
Last week we studied Parsha Balak. Two archenemies, Moab and Midyan joined together, hiring a double-minded, compromising prophet Bila’am as their mouthpiece to fight against Israel. Israel was no threat to them and had no designs on the property or goods of either Moab or Midyan. Yes, both were jealous and fearful, which led to anger and hatred. Both Moab and Midyan had a road back, as all who are estranged from the Holy One, his covenant and his people are offered a way to return.
I suspect it began with Cain. Cain could have learned from the divine voice that warned him and sought out the brother that pleased Elohim to join him in worship according to the way that was accepted. Cain chose to refuse that route and destroy the one who had gained the favor of heaven. Ishmael rejoined his brother Isaac in order to bury their father Abraham. But then Ishmael went back to his people and his life. He could have partaken of the covenant blessings, but he chose not to follow the covenant ways, and didn’t want to play a subordinate role, I suspect. King David opined that he would rather be a doorkeeper in the House of Adonai than dwell in tents of wickedness. Lot could have rejoined his uncle, who would have welcomed him joyously and he would have provided spouses for his daughters and a place in his world. Esau had a chance to rejoin the brother that possessed the blessing and the birthright, but wasn’t about to play second fiddle or leave his pagan lifestyle. Both the Moabites and the Midyanites could have shared in the blessing of Israel. They could have asked the prophet Bila’am to grant them and their people whatever they wished. I think when one is filled with hatred, it cancels out all reason; it crushes rationality. Don’t expect your enemies to think rationally or even act in their own best self-interest.
I believe Moab represents what the world today sees as Christianity; an incestuous relationship of Judaism with Greek philosophy and various forms of paganism that has led to multitudes who hate, despise, fear and seek to murder the sons of the covenant. Likewise, Midyan represents Islam, a son of Abraham nurtured in a different womb, given gifts and sent away. Midyan helped and protected Moses at a time when he was fleeing, as Islam has assisted the spiritual descendants of Moses as they were fleeing Christian lands. But Midyan also continually attacked Israel and seeing Israel grow in strength of exploits due to the favor of Israel’s God threatened them in ancient times, as it does today. Some believe the ancient Saudi Arabian city of Medina from which the prophet of Islam embarked upon his quest was named for Midyan. So, the world of Christianity will join the world of Islam to fight their common enemy; the Jews.
It is Moab that hires the pagan prophet who hears from the Holy One of Israel, who is enticed by wealth, power and the praise of men. Curiously, as Bila’am speaks, he issues a heartfelt cry, “May I die the death of the righteous.” However, the word used here is yisharim, which means straight. I suspect Bila’am looked upon the tents of Israel, and opined that he would walk continually in a straight way until death. But good intentions are not enough, and Bila’am died shamefully a short time later.
We already see antisemitism growing in leaps and bounds throughout Europe, and most of the Mideast outside of Israel is quickly being emptied of Jewish citizens. But it can’t happen here, right? Here in the US where there are more than six million of us? Likewise, Jewish citizens of English speaking countries such as Canada, Australia are safe? I left out South Africa, where many Jews have already left due to a precarious situation.
Living in the US, I see government and media spewing out a false narrative about Israel, barely covering their wolves’ teeth with a weathered sheepskin. But soon the sheepskin will come off, and the rhetoric of, “We aren’t against Jews, just Zionists,” will be replaced with free and open Jew-hatred. Perhaps much of this has always been present, but kept hidden for the sake of political correctness. Currently, outside of academia, celebrities and some religious groups on both ends of the spectrum, the vast majority of the US population really care little about a war in the Mideast. But wait until it hits their pocketbook. Wait until it threatens their survival. Then we will be hearing much more of what was occasionally bandied about during the 1970’s Arab oil embargo, “Burn Jews, not oil.” The difference now, more than forty years later is most of our political leaders, authorities in academia, the powerful in the press, and the world of religion is not on our side. Even intelligent and formerly cultured persons no longer think rationally or act graciously when they feel threatened and when there is a price to pay.
Someone recently suggested that technology could improve Israel’s Iron Dome, so it not only deflected incoming missiles, but sent them back the way they came. I suggested this new weapon be called, “Iron Slingshot.” Such a weapon would be castigated as it would send the rockets back to the civilian areas where terrorists hide, and would lead to numerous civilian casualties, of course laid at Israel’s feet.
As the media fails to report attacks upon Israel, and rather reports only Israel’s acts of defense, so our media will black out attacks on Jews, and report only that we are suspected of disloyalty in standing with a nation that our political leadership and all the talking heads have turned against. Recently a pro-Israel group was attacked violently by anti-Israel protesters in San Francisco while the police stood by and did nothing. Don’t think this is an anomaly. Antagonism toward Israel will enlarge to include besmirching resident Jewish citizens.
Canada has their blessed Stephen Harper, and Australia’s PM has pledged to stand with Israel. I believe judgement may be delayed as long as these nations hold to this stance, although certainly many of their citizens are in opposition.
I believe persons with dual Israeli citizenship who are residing in the US or elsewhere will be at the forefront of those receiving the brunt of the first volley of attacks. Don’t be surprised as your liberal friends in academia look the other way. Einstein believed that German academics, due to their love of freedom of thought, speech and inquiry would stand against Hitler. But they fell like dominoes as soon as their careers were in jeopardy, even prior to any endangerment of their freedom or lives.
Large Jewish communities who live in major cities are going to be in danger, as the message gets across that it is open season and there will be minimal consequences as police hold off lest they be accused of political incorrectness. Its too bad that so many Jews live and work in gun free zones. I don’t know how much help a weapon will do in the long run, as you will just be arrested for protecting yourself for employing disproportionate force. There are already tensions between the Orthodox Jewish and other minority communities in major cities such as New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc. Statistics show that 15% of the US population is considered to hold antisemitic attitudes, while 29% of African Americans (nearly double) hold to those negative viewpoints. It is not far-fetched for some incident, fanned by opportunists and promoted by a biased media and government attitudes could fan into flames pogroms in areas where large numbers of Jews live, especially those in recognizable communities.
The US Jewish community held their collective breath following the Trayvon Martin shooting, hoping and praying that George Zimmerman was not Jewish. A White Supremicist website called that Catholic former altar boy a, “No good Jew.” Rumor and false allegation is all it takes. Perhaps a few of you recall the riots that followed a car accident by a rabbi in the Chabad Rebbe Menachem Schneerson’s motorcade that sadly took the life of a young, Guyanese immigrant child. Rumors spread by Al Sharpton and others were repeated verbatim as accurate news by media, claiming the young boy died because a “Jewish,” ambulance was attending to the driver of the vehicle, rather than the child.
Actually, the driver of the car, a 70-year-old rabbi, immediately got out to attempt to assist, but was attacked by a mob and so was forced to lock himself in his car. While a city ambulance arrived to attempt to lift the car off the child and administer aid, the mob also attacked the paramedics. The so-called, “Jewish ambulance,” was a volunteer service that is common in Orthodox communities called, “Hatzolah,” which provides EMS and security services. The Hatzolah rescued the besieged rabbi and escorted him to the hospital for assessment. On cue, Sharpton, Jackson, et al preached, “We want the perpetrators to pay.” What perpetrators? An elderly man who got confused while following a police escorted motorcade? Joining in the fray, then Mayor Dinkins called the ensuring riots that led to the death of Australian Yeshiva student Yankel Rosenbaum (bet you never heard his name) “racial unrest.” This was not racial unrest; it was a pogrom in New York City in the 1990’s. All you need is a group of angry people along with an available, unguarded target. It doesn’t hurt to have lots of Jewish owned shops and businesses to loot for fun and profit. (update 11/2014) Imagine what might have occurred had the policeman responsible for shooting an African American shoplifter been named, Hymie Goldstein,” instead of Darren Wilson.
It is understandable that the only way Jews have survived, however precariously, in foreign lands was to create alliances with powerful foreign leaders. The Jewish people have done this in their diaspora guest homes, and Israel has played this card among the nations. Regrettably, there are Jews among us, as Israel is fighting for its survival with Operation Protective Edge, some American Jews are planning damage control: Operation Protect My Tuches. These are concerned that actions by Israel will reflect badly upon them, and endanger their position of Court Jew, and then there are the turned kapos in our midst. For those Jewish members of groups that are either openly or covertly enemies of Israel, where will you go when you are forced from your job and your home? Do you believe your friends will protect you, speak up for you, stand beside you? No, no, no. They won’t hide you in their basements either.
Then there are those who stand with us. But I warn you, many will not remain standing with us when it costs them something besides a donation and it is no longer fun and meaningful. The world of Christian Zionism is being gradually infiltrated by the Christian Palestinian narrative. The emergent church views Israel as an obstacle to its plan of world peace, and would just as soon see Israel and her supporters ethnically cleansed. Much of the evangelical church is a mile wide and an inch deep in their devotion, so any emotional appear that sounds reasonable will sway many, especially the youth, who see this as another way to rebel against the ways of their elders.
For those who still remain beside us, you will be counted as one of us by those who seek our destruction. Those who love Israel, who love torah will be considered treasonous in their own land. The Subbutniks of 18th century Russia were first persecuted viciously by the other churches. Then they were granted the right to become a recognized religion. When Nazis invaded Russia, Subbutniks were given the option of rejoining one of the established churches, or going to the camps with the Jews. Some chose to get in the cattle cars; some chose faithlessness, and were required to burn their Subbutnik houses of worship to prove their loyalty. Don’t expect anything different.
We are frogs in a pot, and most of us don’t notice the heat being turned up ever so gradually. Starting to get warm, isn’t it? Don’t be surprised as synagogues and Jewish venues require armed guards, as people become more and more afraid of appearing in public as identifiably Jewish. Already at Berkeley Jewish students are required to renounce Israel in order to avoid social shunning, and what has begun among celebrities and radical leftists will gain mainstream acceptance. I am not going to be shocked when pro-Israel media faces further censorship, and purchase of goods from Israel and donations may become difficult or impossible. Major financial resources for fund transfer may disallow payments to Israel in the same way they shut out charitable organizations they dislike.
The complacence does not surprise me, because who wants to believe their livelihood or their life is threatened? It is time. We are told the Holy One would bring his people from the North, the South, the East and the West. Perhaps some of us in comfortable guest homes aren’t going willingly, until our environment becomes far less comfortable and more precarious, such as that of Jewish people in France, which hosts the largest diaspora Jewish population outside the US. We just don’t get it. He is getting his people out before judgement falls. Measure for measure, as a nation, a group or a person treats God’s covenant nation Israel; it will be done to them. Nobody needs to believe a word I say; just sit back and watch. As the US spreads lies about Israel, so lies will be spread about the US. As the US endangers Israel, so the US will be endangered: by terrorists, by invaders, by financial downturn, by political subterfuge. The eyes of heaven see all; the divine ears hear what is spoken in secret chambers.
I know I am going to hear, “But what of the poor Palestinians?” The Arabs, the Muslims, all peoples in every place and every state they find themselves can attach themselves to the God of Israel and the people of Israel. There is the blessing, but it comes with a price. They can throw in their lot with one stronger than themselves and their enemies. They can leave the kingdom of darkness and journey to the kingdom of light. There are sheep of other folds, and you are being awakened now to who you are and are being led where you need to go. May you find blessing and protection in your journey.
Keep looking for clues in the weekly torah portion. He will clearly show us what he is doing. The false prophets will speak peace and safety, and the wicked will not understand, but the wise will understand.
Remind me that I need to keep working on my Hebrew.