|"A VIEW OF THE ABSURD"
Is The Torah Next To Be Ousted?
Op Ed Column by Jack Engelhard
|Ha'aretz carried a long and very thoughtful interview of famed authors Amos Oz and David Grossman, both of them intellectuals and left-leaning... or am I repeating myself?
I learned alot. They are not as "left-winged" as I thought. They do love Israel, in a sort of defeatist post-zionism way, though I may ask, what's this "post" business is all about.
With warfare underfoot from day one, Zionism itself never got a chance to breathe... so never mind "post."
I also liked the insight when they said the world accepts the existence of Israel on "condition" that it behave a certain way -- such inhibitions never imposed on any other country.
All this is prelude to what I've got on my mind. In all the reading I'm doing, especially from the thoughts of Jewish intellectuals,
I seldom hear the word "Bible," or "Torah," mentioned.
When I say intellectuals, I do not mean those who find virtue in homicide bombings, who so prevail these days -- but the ones
who actually support Israel.
Forgetting the religious stuff for a moment, the Bible IS the world's number one best seller, and Jews are always quick to talk books and best sellers -- but not their own Bible.
I know... I know.... it's embarrassing... uncool... makes you a nut. Although, many Muslims talk Koran, that's O.K. That's kosher. The Bible -- not kosher.
To say that Jews belong in the Land because it was deeded to them by Covenant -- whoa! You won't hear that from any self-respecting Jewish luminary.
My father never tired of teaching me that the words inscribed upon America's Liberty Bell comes from the lips of Torah: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."
When Muslims do something, all they have to say is "The Koran made me do it" and people nod and reverentially submit. Jews
are not allowed to use the Torah the same way. The "Settlers" embrace the Torah and sure enough they're depicted as wild-eyed, gun-totin' extremist fringe loonies. They don't even get the honor of being called "Israelis."
(Amid this universal "media pogrom," the television cameras on CNN and the BBC and elsewhere ritually move in for a tight shot
of their holstered pistols.)
What scares me is that, given those recent decisions from the Israeli Supreme Court, soon the Torah will be outlawed in the Land of Israel. (I'm kidding... I think).
I wonder if the U.S. Supreme Court would rule in favor of two Bin Laden supporters ... and allow them to run for Congress.
The Israeli Supreme Court did pretty much that in siding with Azmi Bishara and Ahmed Tibi in their bid for seats in the Knesset. Ruling in support of those who are anti-Israel is supposed to be a sign that Israel is strong on democracy.
I'd suggest, first worry about preserving Israel, then democracy.
A Baptist minister spoke at a synagogue reciting chapter and verse about Israel's Biblical rights to the Land of Israel. I asked
him if, in his travels speaking from shul to shul, if he ever come across an American Rabbi or an official Israeli spokesman who spoke as he did -- equating modern Israel with Torah.
"No," he said, baffled. "Actually no." Then he shook his head. "Strange. Yes, very strange."
The Rabbi happened to be standing right next to us, seemingly embarrassed at the realization. In his sermons he often spoke
of his love of Torah and his love of today's Israel -- but he had never connected the two. The minister had quoted Genesis, the words of G-D to Jacob: "The land whereon thy liest to thee will I give it, and to thy seed." It was the minister who reminded
us of that, not the Rabbi.
To Judah Halevi, Judaism's greatest poet since King David, Israel and Torah were ... are inseparable. Halevi prospered during Spanish golden age some 1000 years ago. He was our first "Zionist." Besides the Torah itself, if there's ever been an argument
to support the proposition that Torah equals Israel, or that Israel equals Torah, it can be found passionately in Halevi's "The Kuzari," in which he foresees a modern-day Israel... but, with Torah as its center piece: "If there were no Israelites there would
be no Torah."
Despite his being recognized among our greatest in literature, liturgy and theology, today Halevi would likely be a "Settler" and shunned. Actually, so would be King David.
When Jacob awoke from his slumber at (Luz) Beth-el, this is what he said: "Surely the L-RD is in this place... and I knew it not."
|Jack Engelhard is the author of the international best seller "Indecent Proposal" and is a former radio and newspaper editor covering the Mid East and former American volunteer in the Israeli Defense Forces. His columns can be read online at: http://www.comteqcom.com/jackcolumn.php and he can be reached at JackEngelhard@comteQcom.com.|