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:
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!”
Yes, we have outlived every nation, every vile personality which put upon B’nai Yisrael and so, we should, in theory, be 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, even now, five 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. One could wonder whether the term Nachamu – consolation could, in reality, be a euphemism for convenient amnesia/forgetting just as the Shoa raises memories too uncomfortable, unwelcome for those who R’ Meir Kahane z”l coined as “comfortable Jews” – comfortable Israelis.
5 years later, the disbelief and the hurt continue too fresh, too raw, too festering, too agonizing for those of us who acted on behalf of our Gush Katif brethren. But, for most who chose to go through that excruciating time in August, 2005 with a “business as usual” attitude, the passage of time lulls the memory as if convenient amnesia.
This author has heard it said that there can be no unity until the collective begs mechilla of brethren, the former residents of Gush Katif. But, where were the masses at last week’s commemorations?? A paltry 500 Jews gathered at the Kissufim former checkpoint?? 30 or 40 at the OU Israel Center to hear Rachel Saperstein and Dror Vanunu?? Where’s the basis for mechilla?? Only after Yosef saw how the brothers reacted to Binyamin’s incarceration was he convinced of their Teshuva. Only then did he break down, reveal himself and comfort the other brothers.
How convenient indeed is the amnesia, the forgetting. As has been stated a number of times before on this blog; to those who sat by, “at peace”, while their brethren were collectively evicted, expelled from their homes, towns, neighborhoods, Shuls, communal and economic lives; let those of callous indifference toward their fellow Jews never again have the merit to rise up in “righteous indignation” when their country, when their homes, when their front doors are attacked by enemies bent on our collective annihilation.
WE who cared and acted on behalf of our brethren cannot and will not ever forget what happened. Maybe some day, there will be a Nachamu, but there will never be the convenience of amnesia.
Many of us fought 5 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 Israeli governing regimes who, having stolen every piece of property and asset that our brothers had, continue to slander our fellow Jews, calling them “spoiled brats.” And the most recent outrage is the Israel’s judicial system apparent condoning of Arabs suing their former Jewish Gush Katif employers for pitzu’im — severance pay due to the elimination of their jobs. These anti-Torah so-called “justice” 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, 5 years later, denies our brothers just and appropriate compensation for having been evicted at leftist-agendized, supreme court-legalized gun-point.
(2) That only a miniscule number of the expelled have actually 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 provided by the regime are either near to used up, or totally exhausted due to regime delay tactics over these years and little, if anthing is left for our brethren to rebuild their lives. Some are still vulnerable to weekly, or monthly threats of 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 five 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 five 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?
But perhaps there is Nachamu, even now.
We hear very little anymore about Arik Sharon, 4 1/2 years after he went comatose after his stroke, although he must have felt really empowered, immortal 5 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, those Deemed among the righteous, 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, captive Gilad Shalit and the other MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. May we have the courage to prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and the handing of Jewish land over to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May 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 to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov 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.