Thursday, Apr 11, 2024

Now It Is Known

The story of Doson and Avirom squabbling is (pardon the pun) one of the most striking moments that embody the golus Mitzrayim. More than Yidden fighting is the aftermath of their battles when Moshe tries to make peace. The response is, “Who made you a man, a prince, and a judge over us? Do you plan to slay me as you have slain the Egyptian?” Moshe became frightened and said, “Indeed, the matter has become known!”

Rashi in his inimitable wisdom explains beyond the simple pshat that it was known that he had slain the Egyptian. The Midrashic interpretation is that Moshe was pondering the bitterness of the golus and why Bnei Yisroel were subjected to back-breaking labor. This is what became known to him — acts like these helped him see that they deserved it.

Moshe Rabbeinu sees a topsy-turvy world. Striking a Mitzri who is torturing a Jew is not praised, but rather it is vilified by Jews. Stopping Jews from fighting and trying to make peace is now something that is not praised, but rather vilified. Moshe is threatened when trying to restore sanity. Indeed, “Now the reason is known.”

The chaos in Eretz Yisroel over the last few weeks has been mind-boggling. But what is even more mind-boggling is the contradictory attitudes of those who have suddenly switched their outlook on discord and protest, even among those who claim to be more open-minded, and even among those who claim to be Orthodox Jews.

I recently saw an apology from Amos Schocken, the publisher of Haaretz, after his newspaper published two pro-judicial reform ads.

Readers of the newspaper wrote letters decrying the fact that such a newspaper, which supposedly has “great integrity and moral standards,” should publish ads that espouse a dissenting opinion. One wrote “What are you thinking? On Thursday, we’ll shut down the country, miss days of work, lie on the asphalt, get beaten by police officers… fund your newspapers, and on Friday you’ll humiliate us with these ads? You’re also disconnected? Where do you live? You should be ashamed.”

The response was contrite: “A serious error in our advertising department, contrary to instructions to submit every political ad for approval. In this case, the instructions weren’t heeded and the ads were published without being approved beforehand.”

I laughed when I read the article as I know firsthand that when a frum newspaper refuses to advertise for anything that even seems remotely against their principles or print a picture that may offend their readership, they are lambasted and derided by the left-wingers who are now disparaging the organ of liberalism and who claim to want to see openness and inclusivity.

Unfortunately, now it is known. When it comes to their agenda, then the only opinion that can be espoused is the one that is narrated by the anti-Torah, anti-change, anti-normalcy values.

Dealing with many liberal-minded, even observant Jews, I tend to marvel at how there are so many contradictions in the left-leaning world. For years, yeshiva bochurim who would protest the outrageous violations of Torah law were labeled as rabble-rousers who create chillul Hashem by the same people who validate the current wild protests and disruptions of the left. I am not condoning any protest or disruption that is done without the consent or approval of gedolei Yisroel. However, for those condoning the current chaotic protests, how could they now vilify the ones who are protesting the most elemental principles that define their lives?

I remember back when Klal Yisroel was protesting terrible decrees about autopsies, giyus banos, and legislation that flew in the face of basic Torah fundamentals, calls for protest were rebuffed by those who were worried about sullying the appearance of governmental support and the support for the State of Israel itself. Suddenly the right and responsibility to protest has become sacrosanct? Know it is known.

Even the president of the United States, whose party is set upon changing the nature of its Supreme Court by packing the court with liberal justices appointed only when a Democrat President is in power, refused to entertain meeting the Israeli Prime Minister as long as Mr. Netanyahu was pushing for judicial reform. Only when Netanyahu put the idea on pause did Biden suddenly reach out and discuss meeting the Israeli Prime Minister.

The contradictions are endless and the hypocrisy is unending. A few weeks ago, when Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich was in America, I was asked to attend a meeting with him in the home of a patron of our yeshiva and an active community member. According to the one who arranged the meeting, in an email invitation, he wrote: “It is a very sensitive time in Israel and there is a lot of discord and machlokes. This meeting will be an excellent opportunity for us to engage with a prominent member of Knesset, who also serves as Israel’s Finance Minister, to listen, understand and raise concerns we may have as outsiders to this business. Some of his recent comments have raised concerns around the world. It is always best to hear directly what is really going on.”

The venue was in a private home. I was wondering if certain leaders in the community would either attend or had agreed to host the minister. I was told that because Mr. Smotrich spoke out vociferously after the terror attacks in Huwara, and wished to wipe out that bastion of terrorism, he was denied meeting with certain leaders, even observant members of the greater New York community.

I am not condoning remarks that were said intoning the destruction of a village or taking innocent lives. Even though they may have said in anger and passion, a man with the light of public opinion shining on him should be more careful, but Mr. Smotrich apologized. It’s painful to see how these same types of people fawn over antisemites who have spewed much more vicious remarks and then apologized. It is even more painful that I never heard of Jewish, even religious, Zionist leaders refusing to meet ministers and Prime Ministers who openly flaunt Torah law and mock those who adhere to it.

Indeed, when the defenders of Klal Yisroel are mocked by those who look to squabble and fight within their own ranks and openly defy all that is sacred to us: then it is known.

May Hashem send clarity and consistency to Klal Yisroel and the light of truth with the coming of Moshiach.

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