There was a blog I posted when I first heard about the Henkin massacre on which one of my faithful readers commented, “Ve’ein lanu al mi lehisha’en ela al Avinu shebashamaim.”
It’s from Midrash Tanchuma and it means, “We have none else to rely on but our Father in heaven.”
During the subsequent long week of terror that followed, the words kept coming back to me, interrupting me (and my work) at regular intervals until finally, on Thursday night, I let them fill my head completely. Not just those words, but with another verse from Psalms 115:9, that together, complete a tune called Maaminim (Believers).
ישראל בטח בשם עזרם ומגינם הוא
אנחנו מאמינים בני מאמינים
ואין לנו על מי להישען
אלא על אבינו שבשמיים
“Israel, trust in God; their help and their shield is He!
We are believers, children of believers, and we have none (else) to rely on but our Father in heaven.”
Now if you know anything about me, you know I hate popular Jewish music. Just hate the entire genre. But I found myself singing bits and pieces of the first verse, at first just loud enough for me to hear it, a bit unsure how it felt, and then, closing the door to my bedroom, I sang it right out loud and found I didn’t want to stop.
That’s when I realized it—the singing or perhaps the words—was somehow helping me and giving me inspiration. “Wow. I’m really wacked up tonight,” I thought to myself and then looked for a clip of the song on youtube. And then another, and another.
My husband came in the room and I thought, “Oh, boy. I’m in for it now. He’s going to say, ‘What’s up with that whining? Quit it.'”
But he didn’t.
What he did say: “I’ve always liked that song.”
So I said, “Well, it’s giving me ‘chizuk.’ Strengthening me. So I figured, what the heck.”
Here’s a Shlomo Carlebach version of the song, recorded live for Israeli television in 1973:
Here’s a metal version I listened to just for fun:
Five or so clips later I felt refreshed and decided to watch the newest Aleph Beta video on the Torah portion of the week, which happens to be Breishit (Genesis).
And that clip helped me put into perspective something I’d been thinking about all that day. I’d been writing this piece about the difference between annexation and the notion of applying sovereignty:
“In 2012, Benjamin Netanyahu, as Prime Minister of Israel, established a commission to look into the legal status of Judea and Samaria. The Edmond Levy Report was issued later that year and established beyond a doubt that Judea and Samaria are legally part of the State of Israel. The Netanyahu government, however, did not adopt the recommendations of this report. Netanyahu likely feared the international backlash that would result were his government to adopt the Levy Report recommendations even though that adoption would be merely a technicality (that would, however, allow us to place Judea and Samaria under the umbrella of civil law and administration).
That the government fears to adopt the Levy Report says that Israel’s leaders are diplomatic to a fault. Israel is already at war, so rather than fear world censure for doing what is right, Israel should assert her rights: show some muscle and apply her sovereignty over all her sovereign territory. It cannot possibly make things worse—witness the 24-hour spate of Arab terror attacks on Israeli citizens on October 7, 2015.
This is war, Habibi.”
I believe that Bibi is afraid to exercise sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. That he is scared to try anything really different to contain terror. And I’m not sure that fear is really about the expected backlash from world powers.
What I’m thinking here is that he, Bibi, doesn’t trust God. Even though, throughout Jewish history, against all odds, Israel has survived her enemies with God’s help.
Now if you watched the Aleph Beta clip above, you’ll see that it speaks of a theme that runs through the entire Torah. The theme is that God created us, human beings, to have a relationship with us. That is what Breishit is all about.
Now a lot of us on the right do a lot of complaining about Netanyahu: that he bills himself Mr. Security and doesn’t do enough to stop terror. But all of us agree that he’s statesmanlike and eloquent. Can anyone else hold a candle to the way he stared down the UN?
Not to mention the way he had the crowds jumping to their feet to applaud him during his addresses to Congress.
His performances in the public arena as a speaker are unparalleled. To my mind, he is the only man in Israel with these qualities. The only possible leader we have.
When I say this, friends shout me down. They say, “Sure he can speak. But we need a leader who will act.”
Here is what they are missing: we need a leader who can both speak and act.
And no one, to my mind, fits the bill. The names people posit of those who would stand in Bibi’s stead, lack exactly these qualities: statesmanship and eloquence. And a leader needs these qualities, too.
Bibi Is What We’ve Got
It’s a fact: we have no one else who is quite as much a leader as Bibi.
But Bibi is afraid, therefore Bibi won’t act.
The reason Bibi won’t act? Now that’s where I’m going to make a leap and say it’s because he does not trust God.
Let’s go back to Genesis (Breishit) for a minute. God made everything Adam and Eve could want. The only catch, the only thing they had to do, was to not eat the fruit of just one tree, The Tree of Knowledge. And it’s not like there was anything actually wrong with that fruit. Nor was there anything better about that fruit than the fruit of any other tree in the Garden of Eden. It was just off-limits.
A Relationship Thing
The fruit of that tree was off-limits for a single purpose: for the sake of God’s relationship with Adam and Eve. He wanted them to trust Him. He wanted them to think: “God has only done good for us until now. We should trust Him and listen to Him and not eat that fruit.”
Until Adam and Eve ate from that forbidden fruit, you see, they had the perfect relationship with God. He provided them with everything they could want. Once they, Adam and Eve, disobeyed him and ate from that tree, they knew things and then there was no going back. In eating that fruit they knew distrust. They knew fear. And in acquiring the knowledge that was the garnish of that fruit, they lost their perfect world: their perfect relationship with God, because they betrayed His trust.
And nothing has been quite the same since.
Bibi’s Fear To Act
Bibi’s fear to act is the perfect example of the kind of knowledge Adam and Eve acquired when they ate the fruit of that tree. He’s riddled with doubt. He’s terrified to make a move.
And yet, Bibi is what we’ve got. He is the leader God gave us during these oh-so-consequential times. And he is being tested. Tested sorely.
What he’s doing, Bibi? It’s just not working.
For instance, this keeps happening: Gaza shoots missiles into Israel, the IAF bombs a weapons manufacturing site or two, and the IDF Spokesman issues a statement: “The IDF will not tolerate terrorist fire at Israeli territory and will continue to act against any attempt to disturb the peace of the southern towns.”
But this is an obvious contradiction. The IDF is absolutely tolerating terrorist fire at Israeli territory and the proof is that the IDF waits until the terrorists act before taking out their manufacturing sites. If the IDF is aware of weapons manufacturing sites in Gaza, then why does the IDF not act to destroy them before the attacks take place?
I’ll tell you why. Because Bibi is afraid. He is afraid of world censure should he correct the mistake Sharon made and act to take care of Gaza once and for all—the Gaza that is now a terrorist rat nest. It became what it was doomed to become the moment we expelled our people (11,000 of them) and left.
Yes. It’s easy for me to write these things or say them aloud but not at all easy for Bibi. Because the weight of the world is on his shoulders. And if I might presume to say so, he does not trust in God. In spite of all the miracles He has performed for Israel past and present whether it was splitting the sea or saving our butts in 1967.
SMILE: You’re On Candid Camera
The same is true of the way we are handling the stabbings, stonings, shootings, fire-bombings, drive-overs, and etc. Bibi said he’s going to put cameras all over the place.
Cameras. As if this would make a difference.
Here’s a secret: it won’t. Make a difference, that is.
What we need Bibi to do now is humble himself a bit and trust God a lot. We need him to trust God enough to exercise sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, and yes. Over the Temple Mount, too.
These steps might (God forbid) precipitate a war. But you can only hold off war so long. And besides, we—the Jews—have God on our side. And we have none else to lean on.
Now if only Bibi would get with the plan.