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December 2, 2015 / 20 Kislev, 5776
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Can You Yell ‘God’ in a Crowded Cemetery?

Sharon's thugs brutally deported our Jewish brothers and sisters from their homes, ruined countless Jewish lives, burned down synagogues and buildings and hot houses and fields. Are we not allowed to say now that God punished Sharon for his wickedness?

Sharon's thugs brutally deported our Jewish brothers and sisters from their homes, ruined countless Jewish lives, burned down synagogues and buildings and hot houses and fields. Are we not allowed to say now that God punished Sharon for his wickedness?
Photo Credit: Pierre Terdjman/Flash90

Unlike those guys from yesihva Torat Hachayim, I wasn’t happy that Sharon was punished. I admired the man most of my life. But how can a faithful Jew not recognize that Sharon was punished, collapsing as he had done so shortly after the deportations?

I live in a spiritual and intellectual universe in which Divine Supervision and an ongoing dialogue between the individual and God are a given. I completely believe that I deserve the painful things that happen to me, and that it’s my job to figure out what I’ve done wrong and how to fix it. It’s not a hard and fast world of black and white; my moral world is chock full of nuance. But some acts of brutality and violence bear a lot less ambiguity than you might think.

To be clear: I’m not suggesting that I’m a prophet who can declare that I have it on good authority that Sharon was punished by God for Gush Katif. But I’m completely entitled to my opinion—which I know I share with many thousands of my fellow observant Jews—that there is Judgment in the world, and there is a Judge.

If you ask me, the very essence of galut is to censor our expression of faith in God’s rule because of what others might think. Those “others” intimidated an entire religious Jewish community after Rabin’s murder, making all of us responsible for the act of a madman because we hated the Rabin government’s repression and brutality and said so. They can’t intimidate us unless we hold on to our “pintele galus,” the little bit of diaspora in our psyches.

And I tell you that of the two, Interior Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich vs. God, I choose to fear God more.

May Ariel Sharon’s memory be blessed.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.

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8 Responses to “Can You Yell ‘God’ in a Crowded Cemetery?”

  1. Ben Yosef Shomer says:

    maybe every Israeli has to be force to attend the funeral and cry .As I heard, they peel a lot of onions today

  2. Anonymous says:

    It is hard to think of a leader who tainted his legacy so utterly so close to the end of his life than Sharon. Without the expulsions, he would be remembered very differently. Israel should remember Prime Minister Shamir above all others as someone who quietly defended and settled the land of Israel.

  3. Gil Gilman says:

    Agreed, but if death is a punishment for Sharon's wickedness, then all those less wicked will be punished in the same way, unless you've found a way around it…

  4. Douglas Kent says:


  5. Was death a punishment for Sharon?

    Since we were told that his brain registered activity, perhaps the greater punishment was 8 years of being locked in his mind, and having no way to communicate with the rest of the world. even to grunt.

    Seems to me that Death would be a relief from the solitary confinement of a coma where he could hear what was going on around him, but was unable to communicate.

  6. I have the feeling that Sharon regretted his decision about the Gaza strip that he was just showing the world that he wanted peace with the palestianians but when they were so ungrateful and burned down the synagogues he knew he made a mistake and fell ill. May He rest in peace.

  7. Melvin Waslo says:

    We should look at the fact that as leaders there are times that when an opportunity to make decisions for the good of the majority involves the sacrifice of the few, although in the case of Ariel Sharon he thought he will achieved that goal of peace for the whole of Israel but failed to realized that he bargains with people who does not even keep a promise like the Palestinians. All great leaders of Israel had their big and bad achievements, let me site, Joshua failed to consult God concerning the Gibeonites, what about Gedion, Samson, David and Solomon? But they are heroes in Israel, so is Ariel Sharon! I salute him, shalom!

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