Seconds often make the difference between life and death and new technology makes the difference…
Pour out Thy wrath upon the nations that know Thee not and upon the kingdoms that call not upon Thy name; for they have consumed Jacob and laid waste his dwelling. Pour out Thy fury upon them, and may the kindling of Thine anger overtake them. Pursue them with anger and destroy them from under God’s skies.
Powerful, frightening, “awe-ful” words.
During the Passover Seder, Jews the world over open the doors of their dwellings and speak these words to God, with the nations as their witness; these words that upon a simple read cry out for God’s vengeance upon those who have harmed us and, by harming us, have demonstrated their lack of understanding of the God of Creation.
For too many Jews, the recitation of the Passover Seder is a backward-looking tradition; a recitation of past events and miracles. For them, it does not speak to modern times and experience. To their ears, the beautiful b’chol dor vador … is little more than a lovely melody.
But for God’s people, the past is never only the past. It is always prelude. The words of the Haggadah speak in the present tense, never just in the past. B’chol dor vador is never simply a lovely sentiment; never just a romanticized notion of the “chain of our tradition.”
Those who fail to take seriously the truth of b’chol dor vador or who deny the Pharaohs of their own day are made uncomfortable by the power and passion of the Sh’foch Chamatcha. During the Victorian age, it was condemned in the London Jewish World:
[A]re we still, on each recurrence of the festival which celebrates God’s compassionate love of His people, to pray to the Supreme, “Pour out They wrath upon the heathen…”?
Are we bound to repeat these and such like imprecations, aimless, purposeless, meaningless in our mouths, which gushed from the lips of our ill-used predecessors which such deadly earnestness? Must our prayer-book continue to be defaced by passages which should never have found entrance therein? Are our children to learn from us that prayer to God for mercy may be accompanied by hysterical entreaties for revenge – bloodshed, fire and destruction – on foes long passed away? In a word, must Jewish worship in the nineteenth and each succeeding century remain stained and disfigured by the blackest fruits of the dark middle ages?
These words cast the Sh’foch Chamatcha as immoral. Were these powerful and passionate words truly out of place in the Victorian Age? In our modern world? Has the world truly turned from those “dark middle ages”?
If so, are the words of b’chol dor vador equally as misplaced?
Let us not ever forget that for the Jew, past is never simply the past. If any Jew would forget that truth, perhaps it would be wise for him to consider approximately twenty minutes of one day in one year in one place.
The time: about a month before Passover 2008. The place: Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem, a yeshiva founded by the great Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook. The Jews: yeshiva students following the example of this gentle, brilliant scholar and leader, immersed in their studies.
8:36 p.m. – A gunman enters the yeshiva and opens fire indiscriminately.
8:36 – The first phone call is received by Magen David Adom from a student inside the building.
8:37 – The first ambulances are sent.
8:40 – The first police car arrives at the yeshiva (the officers do not enter the building).
8:41 – The first paramedic on the scene reports of one person wounded.
8:42 – IDF Capt. David Shapira enters the building.
8:45 – Shapira and Yitzhak Dadon, a part-time student at the yeshiva, exchange gunfire with the terrorist.
8:57 – Magen David Adom operator reports an “end of shooting” and orders medics into the building.
Twenty minutes. In a mere twenty minutes, a scene of scholarship becomes the scene of death and destruction. Eight students are dead. Eleven more are wounded, five in serious-to-critical condition. The perpetrator, a young Muslim, is killed.
The past becomes present. Again.
There is a teaching in Judaism that each life is worth the whole of creation and when that life is lost, so too creation.
About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
All GOP candidates will continue seeking – and praying – for Jewish money with greater success.
The one reason to make Aliyah outweighs all the arguments not to move to Israel.
“We returned to this Land not in order to be murdered, or uprooted. We came here to be replanted!”
Poland’s great Jewish cities where Jewish life had once flourished and thrived, were now desolate
Chief rabbi, Rav Dovid Lau, stated that the Torah community’s turnout in the WZO election is vital.
Iran has at its core the same ideology as that of ISIS but, inaccurately, is thought a lesser threat
An early Yom Ha’atzmaut gathering for Israel’s 67th birthday with Pres. Rivlin of Israel and guests
Israel’s Memorial Day shouldn’t be a day of mourning, it’s a day to honor, not another Holocaust Day
God’s 3 part promise for Israel: to the Avot; a plentiful land; the eventual return home by all Jews
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
“Texans share a lot of the same attitude as Israelis, that we say what we think and we think what we say, and that makes it much easier to communicate,” he says.
The only way to become humble is honesty about our experiences; it’s the only path to true humility
Jews cover the head not as ID but because wearing it makes concrete to ourselves our devotion to God
It’s easier to take Jews out of galus than to take galus out of Jews – Chassidic master
What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.
It is difficult to remain faithful in galut, the ultimate Rorschach test for all Jewish generations
Racheli Frankel: “I didn’t think they were thrown just anywhere. The tears of Hebron embraced them”
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/shfoch-chamatcha-justice-not-vengeance/2009/04/07/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: