The words of Ecclesiastes, There’s nothing new under the sun, were reverberating in shul when I heard the horrific news. If there was ever there was a time to draw in the sand, I think this recent massacre did just that. Yes, the line was drawn a long time ago when G-d said in Devarim 30:15 “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil.”
Since the world’s inception, G-d has presented us with the gift of free choice, placing before us the stark options of right vs. wrong, of good vs. evil, of righteousness vs. barbarianism. The Torah teaches us this crucial and painful life lesson, as we quickly observe a common theme surfacing in the Torah. Cain was pitted against Abel, Ishmael against Yitchak, Eisav and Lavan against Yaakov, Pharaoh against Moshe. And so it goes.
Whether it be Amalek who comes in the form of a Haman, Hitler, Black Lives Matter, Nasser, Saddam Hussein, Arafat, ISIS, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, Farrakhan, AOC, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib, there truly is nothing new under the sun.
For some, the lines between good and bad have become obscured by the media, and by our own emotions. When I was a child, it didn’t take me a long time to figure out there was evil in the world. The first movie I saw in theaters was “Superman” in 1978, shortly followed by “The Empire Strikes Back.” Darth Vader in his back shiny scary helmet-head and that voice, along with Lex Luthor’s deviant mind matching his bald head, made evil easy to spot.
Why is it so hard for so many to come to terms with the fact that evil is very real? Why are people shocked to find so many haters amongst us in our workplaces and social media? Rabbi Meir Kahane once suggested that Americans, being a kind-hearted people, find it almost unfathomable that people could hate you for no other reason other than you are a Jew. Israelis are seasoned veterans. They know the drill. When my parents took us to Poland many years ago, I got another 6 million reminders of just how far evil can go as I stared at heaps of shoes, glasses and suitcases.
There are so many other people who are showing their truest colors, as bloggers and haters are revealing their inner hate in a grotesque display of anti Israel sentiment after this horrific attack. Of course, there have been moments that have pleasantly surprised me. President Biden, who I rarely compliment, humbled me with his strong show of support for Israel, along with many other brave politicians. As someone who has never been a huge fan of CNN or CSNBC, I was humbled by their fair reporting during the initial week of this tragedy. In a few cases, non-Jewish reporters were overcome with emotions, with some even breaking down in tears over the attack. That’s not to say that next week they will not be returning to their regularly scheduled programming, but perhaps even for just one moment in time, the powers of right and wrong were clearly in alignment.
The masks came off, as vicious, as well as veiled attacks, made their ways through social media. When statements of condemnation against terror end with “but we must also understand that the Palestinian people are oppressed” – STOP! You just choose the side of evil. You took off the mask of sincere concern for humanity and shamefully attempted to justify Satan’s work. Please spare us. Your words mean that you condone the massacre of innocent women, children, and babies. From beheadings and raping to pillaging and kidnapping, you turn a blind eye or, worse, defend a defenseless position. And when all else fails, play the victim card, why don’t you? Even in the face of heinous crimes against humanity, hate mongers will ignore facts and common law that get in the way of their evil agenda.
There’s a name for you hidden ones that secretly hate Jews. It’s called the Erev Rav, the mixed multitude of Egyptians who left with the Jews yet were mostly responsible for the constant resistance against Moshe, culminating in the Golden calf. Eventually, Moshe was done with them as he stood in the entrance of the camp, saying “Whoever is on the L-rd’s side, come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.”
The newspaper that prints slanted news turning public opinion against Israel is just as responsible as the reporter who shows the plight of the poor Palestinians after they maim innocent babies. Make no mistake. The line has been drawn. Whether you’re a skinhead, a terrorist, or just a good ol’ fashioned Jew hater, I suggest you rewatch “Superman.” Pick your favorite version, because it all ends the same way. The powers of good may sometimes be caught off guard, but in the end, they always prevail. Hitler with his fancy tailored suits ended up with a self-inflicted gunshot wound because he lost and couldn’t face the music. Eichmann, Goering and the lot of them thought their power would last forever, but instead spent their last days humiliated as they were tried for crimes against humanity, and eventually killed. The same fate awaited Sadaam Hussein, while Bin Laden was lucky enough to be executed by Navy Seals in the comfort of his own bedroom.
Billionaire drug lord Pablo Escobar was killed on a rooftop, while his pal El Chapo sits in prison for life. These guys had it all but forgot that in the end, justice always prevails. Because justice is the execution of goodness which stems from Hashem, the source of everything.
Look, choosing the right side isn’t always easy, and in fact, sometimes very lonely. Nevertheless, G-d empowers man with the ability to choose right from wrong, elevating ourselves along the way. We are truly in the middle of a historical moment where the Jewish people are united as one, k’ish echad, b’lev echad. The degree to which Arabs outnumber us and out money us is unfathomable. A simple glance at a map of Israel and its surrounding neighbors (aka sworn enemies) gives food for thought. At least, from a logical standpoint. But then, logic would also dictate that Pharaoh would have finished us at the sea. Lucky for us, G-d had other plans which defied logic. Plans involving sea-splitting, for one thing! Our very existence defies logic. The Six Day war had no logical reason to happen, unless you can logically deduce that it was nothing short of a miracle. Victory seemed bleak at the start of the Yom Kippur War, but once again, Hashem came to the rescue.
When asked who he would love to meet, Albert Einstein responded, “Moses and I would say to him, Did you know your people are still around after all of these years?” To the smartest man in the entire world, our very existence was a miracle.
A tiny people who has been harassed, hunted, murdered and tortured since our birth as a nation should logically not exist. The Byzantine, Mandarin Chinese, German, Austria-Hungarian, Ottoman Turk, Japan, and British empires all faded into nothingness. But this little Jewish nation of ours keeps chugging along, defying logic, and believing in Hashem. We know it is He who protects our soldiers and continually brings us victory. What an absolute zechus to be part of this glorious nation, on the right side of history. Mi k’amcha Yisrael.