Last Shabbos Jerry Bechhofer was standing in shul as always - two rows in front of mine, tall and smiling.
No sooner had Israel launched its offensive against Hamas than the moral arbiters of acceptable behavior were condemning the Jewish state for its perceived abuses in executing its national self-defense.
Like many others, I spent a lot of time this past week agonizing about Israel’s public-relations battles and image problems. And I remain extremely worried.
It takes a time like this for the full fury of Israel’s leftists to erupt in the face of their own country and government. While it’s true that, at least for now, Israel’s anti-Hamas offensive has garnered widespread domestic support, that’s hardly been the case among the country’s left-wing elite.
Our new president seemingly understands something of very great importance: The state of our union is intimately intertwined with the state of our world. Our fate as Americans will ultimately depend upon our willingness to identify more broadly and openly as citizens of the entire planet. Reciprocally, the fate of all others on earth will be impacted more or less by what happens next in American politics. But the final outcome of all such interdependence will be determined by what is ordinarily called "human nature."
"We dreamed that the new state would be a place in which the next chapter of the Bible would be written as a prelude to world-wide redemption. After all, you are the Treasured Nation. We had great expectations. But now look at what you have done."
On a windy day in Boro Park, if you listen closely you will hear the trees ( the few that survived the timberman's axe) rustling praises to their Creator - some in nusach Ashkenaz, others in nusach Sfard - but all rising to the heavens in unison with their human co-daveners.
How many times have you heard it said that the American system of government stems from Judeo-Christian principles? The truth is that the United States Constitution is almost entirely rooted in the Judaic tradition. The government envisioned in the Constitution is structured on a foundation laid more than three millennia ago.
In passing Resolution 1850 on December 19, 2008, the United Nations Security Council solemnly noted that “lasting peace can only be based on an enduring commitment to mutual recognition, freedom from violence, incitement and terror and the two-State solution….”
Rav Pam, zt”l, said the best antidote to divorce is a good marriage. Unfortunately, there is no denying that divorce has become considerably more of a problem than historically was the case in our communities. Thankfully, the phenomenon is receiving some much-needed attention.
For a Palestinian state to be born, only a gravedigger could wield the forceps. Yet in one form or another, a new state of "Palestine" will likely be carved out of the still-living body of Israel. Supported by both outgoing President Bush and President-elect Obama, this 23rd Arab state would quickly seek extension, in judicious increments, beyond the West Bank (Judea/Samaria) and into the "green line" boundaries of Israel proper. This is hardly a controversial expectation, as even the official Palestinian Authority (PA) map of "moderate" Fatah now shows all of Israel as part of Palestine.