Thursday, July 9, 2009
In today’s post I would like to share a dvaar torah. Who would have thought? Ironically it’s not directly related to what I’m assuming is this weeks parsha (Pinchos?) but it has to do with protesting, something this parsha begins with when it tells us of Pinchos’ reaction to the sexual revolution that was a prototype for the summer of love that was taking place at the time. To give credit where it is due, I originally heard this from Karma Dude an occasional commenter and a staunch behind the scenes supporter of this blog. – in one of the parshas close to the beginning (it would have been nice if I would know which one) we read about Rivka being told she was expecting twins after noticing the incongruity of the baby kicking when she passed both a house of worship to God and a house of worship to idolatry. One could wonder why her internal ruckus couldn’t be more simply explained as a single fetus who kicks to be let out by the house of God and kicks in protest when passing idolatry? The Kotzker Rebbe, the Yogi Berra of Judaism (not so much for his ball playing but much like Yogi all quips, quotes and sayings of unknown origin are attributed to him) allegedly explains, someone who is really learning torah and trying to serve God in the ultimate way is not the same guy who is busy protesting everything he believes to be an affront to his, Judaism, or Gods, honor. Like I said I’m not sure whether this was really said by the Kotzker Rebbe or some bitter soul with a bone to pick, regardless I think it’s something worth thinking about especially in contrast with Pinchos. He felt there was an affront to God going on so he picked up his spear and lynched the guy, he didn’t have meetings, he didn’t burn dumpsters, he didn’t throw bottles or rocks he saw something that needed to be done and did it. I believe that is the correct way to protest for someone who is truly concerned with God’s “feelings” not to kick when you walk by a place of idolatry but if it bothers you to actually do something. Furthermore I believe that not only is protesting the wrong way to go about getting your point across I do not believe that this is better in the eyes of God. I know Jerusalem is holy and we want to avoid chillul shabbos but do people really think God is happier if instead of a parking lot being open on shabbos there is a weekly massive public chillul hashem? (and what’s up with those pics of burning dumpsters, seriously you’re protesting chillul shabbos with chilul shabbos?) I don’t know if people recall but a few years ago during the first gay pride parade in Israel there was a young kollel guy there who stabbed a few marchers, at the time most people said he was insane but I think he acted correctly, much like Pinchos, if you really believe something to be wrong do something rather than make a pointless chaotic protest that eventually leads to a much larger affront to God’s honor than the thing you are protesting. I suspect that I am wrong though and all the protests the Jewish nation has ever taken part in have nothing to do with the defense of God rather they are merely an outlet for excess energy, boredom and the anarchism that lay buried deep inside all of us.