web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Letters To The Editor

Letters-logo

Moreover, despite whatever disappointment we might have with Mandela’s views on Israel, to dismiss the greater story of his life would be unfortunate. He achieved true greatness through the spirit of forgiveness, reconciliation, and rapprochement he championed despite his former treatment.

There is a history, particularly in Africa, of long oppressed populations taking savage revenge on their former persecutors. When the apartheid regime in South Africa was replaced by majority rule, it appeared to be time for payback after all the hatred and misery that had been imposed for so long. Many whites, including much of the Jewish community, fled, fearing the worst. But it did not happen, largely due to Nelson Mandela’s message was that it was time to bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones.

Given that Mandela’s death and the subsequent celebration of his life occurred while we were reading the story of Joseph and his brothers, the connection with the story jumps right out at you. A prominent man, convicted due to an unjust trial by the dominant culture and condemned to long years in a terrible prison, not only retains his integrity and self-worth but becomes an inspiration to all. Suddenly the impossible happens. From the depths of the dungeon, literally overnight, he rises to become the most powerful man in the land, exhibiting a positive attitude that captivates all who meet him.

Even more on point, when Joseph finally reveals his identity to his brothers, they are speechless, frightened of this most powerful man they had subjected to slavery, imprisonment, and possibly worse – and who could now to do with them as he wished.

But Joseph showed himself to be above revenge, pettiness, and anger. He saw himself as an instrument of Hashem who had been brought to Egypt in order to bring incredible good to not only his own family but to the whole world. He was not about to waste his time, emotions, and energy on trying to fix the wrongs of the past, which could never be undone anyway. He focused on the future and bringing peace and harmony back into the family.

Although Mandela’s imperfect version of reconciliation fell far short of the total graciousness of Joseph, it was astounding nonetheless. Let his example guide us in overlooking the pain that too often separates us and prevents us from seeing the greater good even in those who may have hurt us. May we learn to live with our differences without losing our sense of brotherhood. May we go forward to a better tomorrow, not looking back but instead walking together to a happy ending

Rabbi Yehuda L. Oppenheimer
Forest Hills, NY

Reconciliation, Not Revenge

Re Abraham Foxman’s op-ed on Nelson Mandela:

We recently read the biblical portion about Joseph’s decision not to retaliate against his brothers. There was an uncanny similarity between Joseph’s decision to seek reconciliation rather than revenge and the decision by Nelson Mandela to do the same when he came to power over the people who had humiliated and imprisoned him when he was still advocating nonviolence. (It was only after he was imprisoned that he decided nonviolence would not lead to nondiscrimination in his country.)

I doubt many rabbis took the opportunity to make such a comparison, given that Mandela was long considered a terrorist and had been supported by the likes of Arafat and Khaddafi. When Mandela was asked about these associations, he said he had not supported their terrorism but they had supported him in his time of need and he felt obliged to express appreciation. (Appreciation, or hakarat hatov, is a cornerstone of Judaism.) After Mandela’s release from prison, he also expressed appreciation of Jews and Israelis, noting in particular that many Jews in South Africa had supported his cause.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Letters To The Editor”

  1. Roy Neal Grissom says:

    So let me get this straight…it's perfectly all right to support Yasser Arafat out of hakkarat hatov. Good to know.

    What if Mandela had praised a neo-Nazi who had defended him? Would that be all right too? Or is a neo-Nazi worse because he is prejudiced against more different kinds of people than Arafat allegedly was?

    Wish some of that hakkarat hatov would occasionally accrue to Bible-thumpers. For some reason their support seems oh so much more embarrassing than that of leftist revolutionaries–perhaps because people are always hoping that the left will come to see Zionism as a left-wing national liberation movement and switch sides. Funny how that never works, but by all means do keep trying.

    Heaven forfend that Zionism actually be associated with HaShem, the Torah, and Halakhah rather than secular nationalism.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Riot Hundreds of masked Palestinians carry the body of 16-year-old Palestinian Mohamed Abu Khdeir during his funeral in the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat flash 90
Likud Proposes Multipoint Plan to Fight Arab Terrorism in Israel
Latest Indepth Stories
Looters in Ferguson wore masks to avoid being identified -- but the kafiyehs worn by some provided a clue to possible identities.

Cries of justice for Michael Brown drowned out any call for justice for Police Officer Daryl Wilson.

got your back

Cloistered captain Obama, touts his talents and has the temerity to taunt Bibi,his besieged ally

Gush-Katif-082412

Former PM Ariel Sharon succinctly said, “the fate of Netzarim (Gush Katif) is the fate of Tel-Aviv.”

Red Line Obama

“What’s a line between friends?”

Unrest in YESHA and J’m helps Abbas and Abdullah defuse anger, gain politically and appear moderates

A “Shliach” means to do acts with complete devotion and dedication in order to help bring Moshiach.

Here, things seem to get a little hazy, why should a Jewish State “based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel” confine itself to ensuring “complete equality… irrespective of religion, race, etc.”, especially when this includes “Arab inhabitants” who launched an “onslaught” against the State, months before it even existed? […]

“We don’t just care for the children; we make sure they have the best quality of life.”

“Why do people get complacent with the things they’re told?”

Arab opposition to a Jewish State of any size was made known by word and deed in the form of terror

Operation Moses: First time in history that non-blacks came to Africa to free blacks from oppression

As Arabs murder and maim Jews, Jordan’s leaders bark the blood libel of “Israeli aggression.”

Perhaps attacking a terrorist’s legacy broadly and publicly would dissuade others from terrorism?

R’ Aryeh yelled “Run, I’ll fight!” Using a chair against terrorists to buy time so others could flee

Riot started when Muslim students wore the Pal. kaffiyeh and Druze students demanded them removed

The “Media” didn’t want us to know what a kind, giving, loving young woman Dalia was.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-282/2013/12/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: