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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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Germany, the Laws of Man and the Laws of God

Father and son during a brit mila

Photo Credit: Serge Attal/Flash90

Judaism is about tradition; but more, it is about order. It is about living as human beings and what sets us apart from animals. Paramount among the differences between man and animal are the laws we create or are created for us, at least for those who have faith and believe in a Higher Authority. I do.

I accept that there is a God for so many reasons. As Ben Gurion once said, to be a realist in Israel, you have to believe in miracles. Miracles are not random acts of coincidence. Random acts can happen, here or there, but when the missiles miss by a few minutes or a few meters on a consistent basis, you begin to believe. When a country shoots 39 missiles at a highly populated area, and one person dies…of a heart attack, you know. When you wake up and see this land and what we have done with it, you have faith.

There are, we believe, laws of God and laws of man. Observant Jews believe that laws of God must be followed; laws of man respected when the respect is justified, necessary, agreed upon, and lastly, do not conflict with the law of God. Jews are commanded to circumcise their sons on the eighth day of his life (barring any health issues which take precedence). When the law of the land goes against the law of God, we follow the laws of God because the laws of man can change according to the whim of man.

Germany has just decided that circumcision is not to be allowed in their oh-so-humane country. They, who perpetrated the most barbaric acts in the history of man, believe this simple act is barbaric. The anger that burns inside me has come to a boil and I cannot be diplomatic so I will be honest. To the Germans, I have nothing to say. When I was in Poland, I could not see the living because my eyes focused on the dead. All that I saw was the world they knew. I’d like to go back to Poland some day to see the beauty of the land because for the eight days I was there, I could only see the ashes, the cemeteries, the concentration camps and mass graves. The signs of the living – a young couple stealing a few kisses in a Jewish cemetery; Polish families walking their dogs and picnicking next to the graves of hundreds of Jewish children – these signs upset me, depressed me, and yes, even angered me.

I have never been to Germany; doubt I will ever go. It was painful to go to Poland; Germany would be agony. I have nothing to say to the Germans – they are man, nothing more. They can make all the laws they want. They did in 1933, in 1938, and they will in 2012. Their laws are nothing when compared to the laws of God. Germany has outlawed circumcision. All that means is that it is time for Jews to leave Germany – not just the young ones contemplating having children, but all Jews.

If you are not prepared to uphold the law of a country, you have the option to leave it. If you want to be able to circumcise your son according to the law of God, leave Germany. Now, before it is too late.

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