Wednesday, August 24, 2005

what next

The forced eviction of gazan Jewry from their homes has been completed. The towns in northern Samaria are just about empty. There is a world of hurt felt by people who feel they were betrayed by their country. The soldiers (at least those with a conscience) who were given orders to evict these people are going to have nightmares for the foreseeable future. The Israeli government is going to fall as soon as Sharon says that he has finished throwing people out of their homes, as that is all his Labor partners are interested in.

What next? Do our people need time to heal? Is the rift in Israeli society between the religious and secular bridgable? If these evictees move into the West Bank now, are they asking for more hurt?

This past shabbos a friend (religious zionist) told me he was not ready for comfort yet. This was shabbos Nachamu, the shabbos of comfort. I told him that he was wrong. Jews aren't allowed to stay depressed. Look at the Arabs who have remained in refugee camps for 57 years and compare that to Jewish people who within 1 week of having the bais hamikdash destroyed, 1 week after the greatest tragedy that could happen to the Jewish people, we have the shabbos of comfort. Because we have to get on with our lives. You would think for a tragedy that big, we would need time before we are ready for comfort. You might think that it needs to settle in first and that you have a right to stay depressed until you are ready to reenter society. We learn from shabbos nachamu that we are not given that time. We have to take what has happened and accept that it was decreed from heaven. On tisha Ba'av we read about the 10 martyrs, the midrash tells us that Rav Yishmael the high priest went up to heaven and asked if this was a real decree, when it was answered in the affirmative, he and the other 10 accepted it. That is not to say that it was not a tragedy. It was a tragedy and because of reasons that we do not understand, God decreed that a tragedy had to happen. So we cry over the 10 martyrs, and within a week we have shabbos nachamu to say no matter how bad you think it is, we have to stand up and continue our lives.
It is true on the personal level as well. No matter how distraught you are over the death of a loved one, comfort has to start the same day that you bury the person. In pirkei avos it is written, "don't comfort someone when their dead is lying in front of them." However, as soon as the dead is buried, the mourner has to come out of his cocoon and reenter society. There is a mourning period, but it is a reentering filled with comfort and talking about the deceased. And after a week he has to get up. He may continue mourning for a long time for his loss, but at the same time his official mourning time has ended and now its time to get on with life.

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