The Haftorah for our Parsha begins, “Nachamu, Nachamu Ami yomar Elokeichem” — “Comfort, comfort my people — says your G’d.” (Yishaiya, 40:1) This sentiment seems to be silent, but yet a theme of Parsha Va’etchanan.
In the beginning of Parsha, Moshe Rabbeinu recalls for the B’nai Yisrael how he entreated Hashem for permission to cross the Jordan River but that his request was denied. Instead, he was consoled by viewing the Land from Mount Pisgah. (L’lmod Ul’Lamed – Parsha Va’etchanan, page 161)
And after the destruction of the First and Second Beit HaMikdash, the starving, the famine, the presecutions, there was comfort and consolation that one day, the B’nai Yisrael would be redeemed and returned to our former state; a people in it’s land with it’s Beit HaMikdash for all time.
Back in Philadelphia, in the old country, a Holacaust story was told of how Nazis confronted a group of Chassidim. And the Nazis rousted and harrassed the Chassidim, telling them “dance Chassidim, dance and sing!” And the Chassidim were silent. Again, the Nazis accosted the Chassidim, “Chassidim, dance and sing!” Then, the Nazis aimed their rifles, “Chassidim, dance and sing, or we will kill you!”
At first, slowly, muted, nervously, a niggun with words was heard faintly. The niggun and the words grew in volume as the Chassidim began to dance. “Mir Villen zei Ibber Leiben, Ibber Leiben, Ibber Leiben, Mir Villen zei Ibber Leiben…” “We will outlive you!”
And yes, we have outlived every nation, every vile personality which put upon B’nai Yisrael and so, we are comforted. And inevitably, B’Ezrat Hashem, history in years from now will show we will have outlived Husssein Obama as well as the rashayim among us.
But four full years after the Expulsion? Shabbos Nachamu? One wonders how long it really took B’nai Yisrael to console ourselves after each of the destructions, the persecutions throughout our history. The wounds of the expulsion to all caring Jews, the magnitude of which still boggles and bewilders the mind, were followed a year later by Lebanon conflict in the summer of 2006 and Operation Cast Lead in Gaza 6 months ago. We are still feeling the effects of the above as a consequence of the regime’s self-styled, meaningless “award” of UN “peacekeepers”, events which in historical retrospect are directly connected to the Chillul Hashem spectacle before the world of Jew expelling Jew. And let us not forget the immoral Israeli regime of governance which divides the Jewish house against itself with the aim of conquering it. 4 years later, the disbelief and the hurt continue too fresh, too raw, too festering.
Many of us fought 4 years ago against the regime’s expulsion with all of our being that our brethren be not harmed, that their lives not be uprooted, destroyed, placed in limbo or pain; that they not be hounded and persecuted by the evil ones amongst us who brainwash and pit Jew against Jew.
Many of us, although far too few of the B’nai Yisrael, fought on the Gush Katif frontlines, or close to them, and continue to fight against this vile regime who, having stolen every piece of property and asset that our brothers had, continue to slander our fellow Jews, calling them “spoiled brats.” Last year, these anti-Torah rashayim had the unmitigated, outrageous Israeli chutzpah put the onus upon the expelled Jews for the Gaza Arabs discharged from their jobs as a result of the expulsion. These false, bogus accusations and blood-libels were psychologically projected onto us by the very ones who continue perpetrating a systematic cover-up of these facts concerning the current state of the former Gush Katif residents;
- (1) That the regime, through nefarious trickery, still denies our brothers, 4 years later, not only just and appropriate compensation for having been evicted. They are still denied rightful, legally-mandated compensation (restitution for all that was stolen from them at legalized gun-point) according to Knesset-passed law.
- (2) That virtually no one of the expelled has been resettled. To this day, many of the former Gush Katif residents, relocated to temporary housing for which rent has been set off by the government against the restitution which was to have been used to defray resettlement costs which the regime continues to delay through tactics of trickery. The restitution funds are near to used up through regime delay tactics and nothing is left for our brethren to rebuild their lives. Some still are threatened weekly, or monthly with further evictions.
- (3) That the regime continues its institutionalized slander of the term “settler” — the noblest title for Jews who are linked, connected and inseparable from The Land of Israel.
We sought, and fought, with our hearts, tefillohs, strength and even our pocketbooks that our brothers would and should have as we have — that he is like me — V’ahavta L’rei’cha Komocha. We, too few of us, literally put our lives on hold to aid our brethren against the evil regime; against the hard-hearted Israeli “leaders” and “authorities” who hate, despise and show total disdain for Torah and Ahavat Yisrael and who pursue their own self-enrichment, self-interest and agenda at our expense. The Bibis, the Olmerts, Peres’, Ramons, Sheetrits, etc. have for years shown utter arrogance, disdain, neglect and disregard for the electorate they claim leadership of and enable enforcement of laws against.
And four years later, we continue to care for our beloved Gush Katif brethren while remembering what our brethren in the North endured because of a regime who sees Jews as expendable, whose obvious byword is; mercy for the cruel and cruelty to the merciful.
We have cried rivers over the catastrophe of expulsion. We feel deeply, from our hearts for our brethren from both the North and the South who suffered as a result of the long-range Iranian and Syrian-made rockets launched by Hezbollah during the Lebanon conflict or continuous Kassam bombardments. How can we be consoled while our Gush Katif brethren are still unsettled four years later and while the Fatah and Hamas are in possession of our land? How are we comforted while enduring the cancerous rot of evil anti-Torah, anti-Jewish Israeli governance, institutions, judiciary, media, not to mention the consolidation of Israel’s financial capital and riches in the hands of a few super-wealthy, super-privileged Israeli families?
Having said all of the above, we continue to be faced with politically-instilled and motivated divisiveness as exemplified by recent events in Jerusalem during the very time, the very season that our unity is a necessity.
But perhaps there is Nachamu, even now.
We hear very little anymore about Arik Sharon, 3 1/2 years after he went comatose after his stroke, although he must have felt really empowered, immortal 4 years ago at this time, He thought that he won, that he had vanquished an enemy; Torah and religion. But the Yad Hashem had other ideas. And Sharon is not the lone subsequent casualty of divine retribution. Time will reveal the others as the casualties mount up. And so we see, just as with the Chassidim, who under Nazi duress, began to dance and sing. The Jews will yet survive the downfall of vile, corruptible post-zionist governance.
“Mir Villen zei Ibber Leiben, Ibber Leiben, Ibber Leiben, Mir Villen zei Ibber Leiben…” “We will outlive you!”
We and Hashem will win out in the end. “Nachamu, Nachamu Ami yomar Elokeichem” — “Comfort, comfort my people — says your G’d.”
B’Ezrat Hashem, may it be that this Tisha B’av just past be the last Tzom for B’nai Yisrael.
May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard and captive Gilad Shalit and the other MIAs be liberated alive and be returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem and that we fulfill 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, as Dov Shurin sings; “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.