From Barbara Ginsberg’s Desktop
K A H A N E
The Magazine of the Authentic Jewish Idea
Spring 5744 – 1984
THE CUCKOO’S NEST
“Though thou poundest a fool in a mortar with pestle…yet will his foolishness not depart from him.” Proverbs 27).
It has surely become a cuckoo’s nest, one huge madhouse. There is certainly no other explanation for it. Lebanon and all the insanity of the Begin-Sharon-Lukid policy collapses; the United States deserts Israel without a by-your- leave; Reagan entertains Mubarak and Hussein in the White House (and one can imagine what was privately plotted there); soldiers inside Lebanon are killed and wounded without a response from Moshe Arens while soldiers outside refuse to serve there; the economic index goes up by 14% in ONE MONTH (an annual rate of over 400%); Egypt laughs at Camp David and moves openly back into the Arab fold; three rockets fall on Metulla as “Peace in the Galilee” becomes more of a naked joke; leftists and liberals march in the streets demanding suicide and they gain more and more support in the wake of a paralyzed, tired, frightened government; Arabs grow bolder or simply GROW inside Israel and the territories; and a terrible drought grips the country; in the neighborhoods and moshavim and development towns social unrest grows as crime shoots upward.
And in response:
The city of Petach Tikvah votes to allow legal mass Sabbath desecration with places of entertainment opened wide; the Haifa Theater produces a play, The Messiah, in which words of desecration and abomination are directed against G-d; a group of parents organizes to fight the yeshivot because their children have become baalei tshuva; Yossi Sarid, the Labor M.K. writes an article in Shmuel Shnitzer’s major newspaper, Maariv, to declare his disgust for the Biblical story of Abraham and the sacrifice; the head of the League Against Religious Coercion declares, in Al Hamishmar, that there must be an uprising against the religious including “hangings from lampposts” since without this “things will not go”; Knesset members vow that the law that would make the definition of a Jew one based on halacha, will never pass; and in the Brenner school, a student, member of the Noar HaOved (working youth), burns a Bible in a regular test of “who believes in G-d?
One would imagine that seeing the country disintegrating before their eyes, the Jews of Israel would pause to consider the possibility of Divine anger and punishment. One would fancy that – seeing shear tragedy and horror loom before them and the utter bankruptcy of both Left and Right, dove and hawk, the socialist and secular nationalist, - Jews would ponder the reality of secular failure and at least the feasibility of the events that are unfolding being part of Divine retribution for our sins. One would logically hope for at least contemplation of the need to examine our ways and premises of life, our overview and philosophy of existence.
But no, “though thou poundest a fool in a mortar with pestle…yet will his foolishness not depart from him.” We remain the children of our fathers, the people, stiff-necked and with uncircumcised heart. What a pity! What a tragedy! How we will – all of us – pay for the blindness of the fools in the mortar.
I listen to the speeches of the braying secular asses: Shamir, Arens, yes, Sharon and Rafael Eytan, of the dead Tehiya of Geula Cohen and Yuval Ne’eman – of all of the experts and ministers and politicians and, G-d help us.
LEADERS. I listen and wait for the one little word that will show that they understand something. I hear nothing; they understand precisely that. I wait for the one little world and so does the world. It never comes. And because of that, in its place, will come the awesome horrors upon a people who even the pounding of the pestle cannot help. I wait for the one little word. G-d. And so does HE. But the word never comes and no one calls Him. And so, He will not come and help until the awful time has passed.
And in the meantime, Peres and Shamir and Rabin and Arens and Tehiya and Mafdal and the intellectuals and experts and leaders will continue to run about madly in the cuckoo’s nest.
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