Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The Torah says that Terach was seventy years old when his son Avraham was born. When Avraham was seventy-five, he received his first instruction from Hashem to leave his home and move to Eretz Yisrael. That meant he had to leave his father, who lived to be 205 alone for sixty years.

The strange thing is that the Torah writes about this in a way that suggests that Avraham only left his father after he died. The parsha of Noach concludes by saying, “And Terach was 205 and he died in Haran.” The next words in the Torah are, “And Hashem said to Avraham, Go!”


It looks as though Avraham left only after his father died. He didn’t.

Rashi offers an explanation. The Torah did not want the world to realize that Avraham abandoned his old father and left him behind. It therefore drew a veil over the fact and tells the tale in a way that people won’t realize what occurred.

Yet that answer makes no sense. Anyone can add seventy and seventy-five and then subtract 145 from the 205 years of Terach’s life and see clearly that Avraham left his father on his own for sixty years.

The real point that Rashi is making is that if you want to draw a veil over the truth it need only be the thinnest of veils, because people don’t look and people don’t think.

The sobering truth that Rashi reveals is problem enough but it is insurmountable when people don’t want to look.

Take for example award winning Irish novelist Sally Rooney. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin she is hardly an unintelligent woman. She also became the top debater at the European University Debating Championships in 2013.

Rooney caused quite a fuss recently when she announced that she is refusing to have her new novel translated into Hebrew as part of her support for the BDS movement. She then issued a statement saying…

“The Hebrew-language translation rights to my new novel are still available, and if I can find a way to sell these rights that is compliant with the Palestinian BDS movement’s institutional boycott guidelines, I will be very pleased and proud to do so.”

That is rather akin to a cat saying to a dove whose wings it has just torn off, “If you want to fly away, I will of course let you go.”

Interestingly, Rooney’s last novel was published by a Chinese State-approved publishing house. Hmm! One million Muslim Chinese in concentration camps doesn’t seem to trouble Ms. Rooney in the slightest.

Perhaps, as she seems to look to the Palestinians for guidance on such matters that’s hardly a surprise.

Who can forget Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s 1989 letter to the Chinese leadership congratulating them for killing so many students (the BBC estimates thousands) in Tiananmen Square?

Arafat expressed, “Extreme gratification that you were able to restore normal order after the recent incidents in People’s China.”

The Palestinian leadership was also sympathetic to the 1991 coup in the USSR to overthrow Gorbachev. They were totally silent on the gassing of the Kurds by Saddam Hussein. There are countless other such more recent examples to illustrate why people like Rooney find them the go-to oracle on moral issues.

In reviewing the book that Ms. Rooney won’t allow the Israelis to read, Fionnan Sheahan of Ireland’s “Independent” newspaper wrote, “The author of Normal People is a self-professed Marxist… her politics seeps through her writing.”

Little surprise then that no matter how intelligent or erudite Rooney may be, like so many Marxists before her, she is adept at performing such intellectual contortionism. She allows her Irish eyes to smile on the incarceration, rape and murder of much of China’s Muslim population, while virtue signaling against Jews.

It is something George Orwell wrote about with disgust, witnessing his fellow British Socialists sanitize and justify Stalin’s pact with Hitler and the purges and extermination of political opponents.

Yet the strangest aspect of this nasty little incident and its vomit-inducing hypocrisy, is the reaction of many of America’s Jews.

Have a look online at Tablet magazine to read them rushing to Rooney’s defense.

So many have now bought into the Palestinian’s re-write of history, that the former Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren recently said,

“The Jewish world is in crisis… At a time of swiftly rising anti-Semitism, vast numbers of Jews, especially young people in the United States, have become alienated from Jewish identity, Jewish peoplehood and the Jewish state…It is shocking. They are steeped in this, on the [Israel] ‘Apartheid State’… They are surrounded by it, marinating in it.”

Well really Michael, “Ya Think?”

Today’s Left is wedded to anti-Israel hatred and increasingly unapologetic anti-Semitism. America’s traditional Jewish population, almost entirely ignorant about their own history and religion are wedded to America’s left. Tell me Michael, what did you think the outcome would be? That young American Jews would become less alienated from Jewish identity, Jewish peoplehood and the Jewish state?

For that, people would have to look at the facts and think about them. As Rashi, recovering from the anti-Semitic slaughters of 1096’s First Crusade, told us long ago, people don’t think… people don’t look.

And just in case like Mr. Oren you find that “Shocking” I have worse news for you. As those of us who do think have learned from Rashi’s time until now…they don’t want to.


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Rabbi YY Rubinstein is a popular lecturer, a regular broadcaster on BBC National TV and Radio, and the author of 10 books (including, most recently, “Jewish Life and Jewish Laughter”).