Three years ago, this author spoke at the Shul’s Shabbos Chanukah Oneg saying a vort about Yosef based on Jay Shapiro’s book “Almost Midrash.” The story of Yosef was encorporated into a fictional story entitled “Duaf of Memphis” from Shapiro’s book and this author dealt with the contrast of Yosef in Mitzrayim and the dialogue of Page 13 A & B of Gemora Megillah Esther (the dialogue between Achashveirosh and Haman resulting in the evil decree against the Jews). The point of the Torah Vort at that time was that with longevity in Shushan and throughout Achashveirosh’s Empire, as with Mitzrayim, the Jews were disparaged as either useless or too powerful. In both cases, the antagonists conveniently forgot about Yosef. The point was made as a lesson to the secular which sadly has been unlearned and the error repeated again and again throughout history in different ways whenever Jews got comfortable, complacent in where they were at the time and forgot who and what they are. In forgetting, they assimilate and, in our time, Chanukah evolves into “spin the dreidel”, cutsie, yet shallow assemblies in Conservative Synagogues to make it seem like they are doing something for Jewish youth, yet totally miss the meaning and message of what Chanukah is really all about. That was the focus of the Rav Kahane article circulated last Chanukah.
But there seems to be another obvious, crucially important national message in Shapiro’s fictional Duaf and the antagonists convenient forgetting about Yosef.
In the story, Duaf is recounting his career and, particularly, his relationship with Yosef, the Viceroy just as one might see well-known people relate their connection with a famous person by way of a tribute or upon that famous person’s death. As Duaf nears the completion of his recitation to the scribe, he recounts that “Yosef saved Mitzrayim and will go down in the annals of history.”
But we see how quickly Pharoh and the Mitzrayim forgot Yosef. The parallel here is in how quickly treaties, agreements or committments pertaining to Israel and the Jewish people which either are signed by Arabs, or for that matter, by the nations, including the Superpower, are forgotten or fall by the wayside in the name of expediency, political alignments or realignments, regional, international and economic pressures. We see that agreements, third-party guarantees, either by the US, the EU, the UN and it’s UNFIL are worthless and worse — totally detrimental to Jewish security and wellbeing. From the precedent of forgetting Yosef, and it’s comparable events throughout Jewish history, the conclusion, the lesson to be drawn, particularly in these times when we are again in the Land of Israel, is that Jews must look to themselves to guarantee their own security and wellbeing. We must understand and internalize the adage for which a chapter is entitled “We Fight, Therefore We Are” from the book “The Revolt” by Menachem Begin z’l — that ONLY Jews are capable of protecting and defending Jews and insuring their security.
But there are among us, the modern-day Hellenists who spin each betrayal as other than, and who keep coming back for more changeable third-party guarantees or assurances rather than to “bite the bullet” and admit that they’ve “put good money after bad” and repeatedly put the security and wellbeing of the Jews at perilous risk. And in fact, these Hellenists keep spinning and keep brainwashing the masses, even by attempting to pass laws against outreach and Teshuvah or by attempting to halachically legalize improper (gay) marriages, out of disdain and blind hatred of their Jewishness and anything Jewish.
And so, may our brethren from Gush Katif and the Shomron rise up today to do battle for the Jewish mind and soul, together with all intellectually honest and enlightened Jews, just as the Maccabees did in doing battle against the Greeks.
May it be in this year and in all future years, that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif — the vast majority still seeking their permanent places, our brethren in the North who have had their lives disrupted, been displaced from their homes, their property in many cases destroyed by Katushyas, as well as our dear brother, Jonathan Pollard and the lives of the 3 captive Chayalim are central in our thoughts, prayers, chassadim and actions. May this abominable period of history called hitnatkut be as a bad dream, be retified — our brethren made whole and may hitnatkut be expunged from collective consciousness yet it’s evil never forgotten.
May we be zocha in this coming year to take giant steps toward fulfilling Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, “Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of the Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.