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Sunday, August 08, 2004

Eyewitness to desecration

Kiwi Bob on the scene in Wellington, New Zealand
The Silent Running contributor? editor? Kiwi Bob was at the Makara cemetery in Wellington just hours after it was attacked. He has photos, and the names from the damaged headstones. Go see and read, lest we forget . . . Wellington.

Kol hakavod to Bob and Silent Running for the good work. What an incredible mitzvah you've done.

UPDATE / Commentary from the Voice of Judea

Every 'Good Exile' Comes to an End

New Zealand Jews are in a panic. Could it be that there was such serious dormant anti-Semitism that was just waiting for an excuse to explode? While it is clear that the NZ Prime Minister's remarks and behavior concerning the alleged Mossad passport scandal triggered off the recent rash of anti-Semtic incidents, the intensity of the backlash has caught the Jewish community entirely off guard. And it seems, G-d forbid, that the worst is yet to come.

One can not turn a blind eye to this development. Just as much as one cannot deny that anti-Semitism is not a logical science. In other words, there is no way to know when and what the trigger will be in any society, however comfortable and safe the Jews there might feel. It is all an exercise in acrobatic illusions and delusions. Every "good Exile" comes to an end, and sometimes in the most abrupt way and at the least expected time.

To quote an appropriate story brought down in last week's "Shabat BeShabato" journal on Ekev,
"The story is told of Rabbi Rabbah Bar Bar Hanah concerning one of his journeys at sea: We were once traveling on a ship and saw a fish that sat with sand on his back, and grass growing on it. We thought that it was land. We ascended on to it as we baked and we cooked on his back. The back of the fish got hot and he flipped over. Had the boat not been close by we would have drowned."

Prof. Rosenberg continues, "The immediate associations provoked by this story are articulated by the Maharsha who pointed out the usage of the words - 'we thought', 'we ascended', 'we baked' and 'we cooked' - to be 'symbolic of the Jew who has assimilated within the nations as if he is no longer in Exile'. The Ein Yaakov preceded him in this thought; he (Rav Yaakov Bar Shalomo Eban Habib) was exiled from Spain in 1492, later escaping to Portugal. There he was also pursued until he wandered to Greece, where he compiled the Ein Yakov.

Rav Yakov explains that this is a hint that Jews will find comfort and serenity in their Exiles. The fish/land represents the great historic illusions that blind the Jew into believing that the foundations of his new strange land are firm and stable. The fish that flips over represents the revolutionary flip-flop and change. The 'land' that seemed so stable is exploding and trembling, and we have to try and get back on the ship."

Indeed, it is time to come home to Eretz Israel.