In an ancient myth, the Greek gods condemn Sisyphus to roll a great rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone will inevitably fall back of its own weight. By imposing this terrible judgment the gods had prescribed the dreadful punishment of interminable labor. But they also revealed something vastly more difficult to understand, namely, that even such useless labor need not be altogether futile. Such labor, they knew, could also be heroic.
Undeterred by the Heathrow shutdown, I turned up for the Aug. 10 night flight to Israel. I had no business there and no formal holiday plans. I just felt I needed to be there, perhaps to help out friends and family whose breadwinners had been called up for reserve duty.
As the Hizbullah-Israel war wound down last week, pundits were quick to label winners and losers. Some said Hizbullah won because it survived, bombed Israel with 4,000 rockets, and earned the applause of the Arab "street." Others maintain that Israel won because Hizbullah was partially crippled, its leadership is in hiding, and the Lebanese will emerge from the dust furious at Hizbullah for a war they did not seek.
Our beloved Israel is engaged in an existential fight for survival. From the moment of its birth in 1948, Israel has been under constant siege. This latest war, however, feels different. It comes upon Israel after decades of non-stop terrorist attacks, large-scale military battles, and endless international boycotts and condemnation.
A general mood of depression has gripped Israel since the cease-fire in Lebanon came into force on Monday, August 14. It is unjustified. True, we again lost many precious sons in the quagmire of Lebanon. A large number of our soldiers and civilians are still crowding the hospitals, some of them seriously wounded. Our cities and settlements in the North suffered gaping wounds that will require months of rehabilitation.
On the advice of his halachic authority, Rabbi Slifkin refused to recant his books until he would be able to meet with the rabbis condemning the books.
It is as unpleasant as it is impolitic to point out - in wartime, especially - that, despite all protestations to the contrary, the emperor indeed has no clothes. Neither spin nor sloganeering can conceal from the Jewish public and world opinion the obvious deterioration of Israel's security situation.
With mounting evidence that Hizbullah-fired rockets can cause Israel considerable damage, one point should stand out glaringly above all others: Under no circumstances should Iran be allowed to reach the stage at which it could launch nuclear weapons.
Although we have been pressured into accepting a cease-fire, which will only give our enemies an opportunity to rebuild their war machine meant to destroy the Jewish people, this war has not come to an end. As with our previous wars, beginning with the war of liberation in 1948, we are continually forced to fight for the very existence of our people and the independence of the Jewish homeland.