murdered boyRemarkable how the swift flow of events can overtake and overwhelm our pre-conceptions.

My heart was hardened, but I am beginning to feel it soften.

In Sunday’s NY Times Jodi Rudoren had an article laced with the usual false equivalences, and a remarkable, doubtless unintended, revelation. The Abu Khdeir’s are recent immigrants having only arrived a mere 250 years ago. The article ended with a quote from Mohamed Abu Khdeir’s mother; Suha:

“For the last four days, I didn’t see my son, I cannot bear it anymore — I call him all the time,” said Ms. Abu Khdeir. “I hope that the Jewish mothers feel what I am feeling,” she said. “May God burn them like I am burned.”

To her, I would say, This is not a competition. For if it were, you would have no standing. We have been burned by you since 629 CE (Khaybar Khaybar ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad sa ya’ud – a cry still heard today) Through a long bloody history, 1033, 1066 and on into the present day.

But this is the voice of my hardened heart.

To Rachel Frenkel, Iris Yifrah and Bat-Galim Shaer I say: Reach out to Suha Abu Khdeir. Just as you, she knows the pain of having her child killed by hate. Apparently, in this instance, by our hate; which seems to be sprouting among us, and if left unanswered and unchecked will destroy the very substance of our soul.

Be like the Shechina, and extend over her your consolations. It is likely that only from there, your healing will grow.

If there is any good to be obtained from these horrific events, it is only from such acts of loving kindness that they will spring.

We men are quick to snarl and curse and strike with an angry fist. It is the inheritance from our fathers, because we are men (some call it testosterone poisoning – I’ve got good case of it myself but I actually use real testosterone boosters, check these products ). We would do well to also value the inheritance from our mothers – kindness, compassion and forgiveness.

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. (Tehillim 34:14)

11 thoughts on “Reader Post: Let The Mothers Arise”

  1. “To Rachel Frenkel, Iris Yifrah and Bat-Galim Shaer I say: Reach out to Suha Abu Khdeir… We men are quick to snarl and curse and strike with an angry fist. It is the inheritance from our fathers, because we are men”

    Not all men, Elisha.

    “Slain Israeli teen’s uncle consoles murdered Palestinian’s father

    Yishai Fraenkel calls Hussein Abu Khdeir to offer condolences; two Palestinians pay visit to Fraenkel home”

    1. “Not all men, Elisha.” Just so. (Not all women are peacemakers either)
      It is my hope that this photo Aussie Dave put up today
      is the first harbinger of the dawn of reconciliation between Isaac and Ishmael. It Is always darkest just before dawn. It is always darkest just before everything goes totally black.
      I hope to see that dawn; but I’m not holding my breath. However, if we no longer believe it it possible. . .

      Hillel said: Im ein ani li, mi li? U’kh’she’ani le’atzmi, mah ani? V’im lo ‘akhshav, eimatai?
      If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And when I am for myself [only], then what am I? And if not now, when?

      The time is now. It always is. We must find the elusive balance between Hillel’s two other questions. We will only do that with seichel and chochma not with rage The Pirke Avot begins with the injunction “Be deliberate in judgment. . .”

      Now is the moment to be deliberate, thoughtful; in judgement. If we are insufficient in pursuit of the first, we will be overrun and slaughtered from without. If we do not pay enough attention to the challenge of the second; we will destroy ourselves from within.

      Wouldn’t it be lovely if I had any answers. I don’t. But I see the questions pretty clearly; and I understand how terribly fraught they are.

      1. I appreciate the sentiments, but this family is living either with fear of their own people, or the usual “belief in things that ain’t so” of the Arabs – or both.

        Regarding the compassion of women, I think I finally understand why we blow the shofar 100 times on Rosh Hashanah (more than required) in order to contravene the prayer of the mother of Sisra, the general out to destroy the Jewish people. She cries for her son who is late to return, then comforts herself that he is gathering spoils
        God is merciful, and he listens to mothers, and to prayers – even of evil mothers. We blow the shofar over again to counteract those prayers. In fact, we were saved by a woman who took out Sisera. Another woman followed the plaint of the mother with, “So may all of your enemies be destroyed, Oh God” – and the land was quiet for forty years.

        41 years now since 1973, the last time we were in danger of direct extermination. May God grant the period continue, and may the land become much, much quieter. May He protect our soldiers, all of them.

        1. I found that I cannot sustain a belief in an immanent God; which is why I am an apikoros. I hold the idea, that one may influence God to act, or not act, in a certain way by prayer or ritual, to be theurgy. God’s ways are permanent. We do best when we strive to conform, in the present world, to them – as our ancestors’ insight have shown the way.
          Prayer is one of the most powerful forces in the universe; but its power derives from the fact that the act of praying engraves the text and the intention of the prayer on the heart of the person doing the praying. When a community or a nation prays together the effect is on the heart of the community or the nation. Moreover, it knits the community together; to act as one, with one heart.

          I find myself thinking constantly about the yetzer hara and the yetzer tov these days. I understand the yetzer hara to be the exclusive pre-occupation and promotion of the “self”; while the yetzer tov is the acceptance of the “other” and the ability to promote the “other” even sometimes at the expense of the “self”. I want to watch the soccer; but I go to offer condolences (and to perform concrete acts {providing food or other aid}) to those who sit in mourning e.g.

          The Arabs/Muslims are trying to kill me (us); but I look for ways to understand them (I know what it is to feel such hate; and I know that it rapidly becomes a self-destroying addiction.)

          There is no “cure” for addiction. Only if the addict comes to recognize that their addiction is making their lives unlivable; in that moment of recognition, is the chance for the addict to set forth on the path to recovery.

          The addict is controlled entirely by their yetzer hara. Addicts require enablers/co-dependents who believe they are acting from their yetzer tov. But this is a mirage a delusion; mostly they, too, are acting from their yetzer hara. “Look how noble, how selfless “I” am”

          What can be done to actually help those addicted to “The Jews Ate My Homework”; to help them arrive at the place where their healing can begin? I haven’t got a @#%&%^# clue.
          My mind recoils at the obvious (close them up, turn off the electricity and stop collecting taxes for them), because, from our tradition (Gen 18:20-32), I find it very difficult to impose it on those who have not yet succumbed to the drip drip drip of hate, or those who have already shaken off its yoke.

          So I will join you in prayer.

          Rock and champion of Israel, please bless the state of Israel, first fruit of the flourishing of our redemption. Guard it in the abundance of your love. Spread over it the shelter of your peace. Send forth your light and truth to those who lead and judge it, and to those who hold elective office. Establish in them, through your presence, wise counsel, that they might walk in the way of justice, freedom and integrity. Strengthen the hands of those who guard our holy land.

          Let them inherit salvation and life. And give peace to the land, and perpetual joy to its inhabitants. Appoint for a blessing all our kindred of the house of Israel in all the lands of their dispersion. Plant in their hearts a love of Zion. And for all our people everywhere, may God be with them, and may they have the opportunity to go up to the land. Cause your spirit’s influence to emanate upon all dwellers of our holy land. Remove from their midst hatred and enmity, jealousy and wickedness.

          Plant in their hearts love and kinship, peace and friendship. And soon fulfill the vision of your prophet Nathan: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Let them no longer learn ways of war.”

          And let us say: Amen

  2. ahad_ha_amoratsim

    Rudoren was at it again yesterday. Among her other complaints – the PM and the chief rabbis spoke when the 3 boys were buried, but not when the Arab boy was buried.

    If they had asked to speak, would they have been allowed? If they had come to the funeral, how many minutes or seconds would it have been before the mob tried to kill them just for being Jews, let alone officials?

    1. “The delegation, led by Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau, who firmly condemned the murder, was canceled, although it remains unclear if that was because the family refused or due to security concerns amid the ongoing violent Arab riots since the murder.”

      They let some Leftist Knesset members visit. I was all out to condemn the family, until I realized it might not be safe for them to be anything but viciously hostile. This is the reality; even in Jerusalem, the enemy is often in charge.

      1. ahad_ha_amoratsim

        I had not considered that. If the family had accepted condolences from any but ultra-leftist Jews, or even if the family did not call for violent revenge, would it put the surviving family members at risk of attacks by their own people?

        But either way, it shows how absurd and despicable Rudoren’s comments were. May the slanderers have no hope!

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