By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried
I have always prided myself in being a liberal Jew, embracing all and having faith in the progression of the world forward. I have been shocked and abhorred to see the numerous venomous, hateful marches supporting Hamas and their evil slaughter around the country and the world. The most prestigious universities that, until now, I held as the holy grail of modern thought and society have shocked me by their students’ unions’ statements condemning Israel and supporting Hamas. Massive marches are taking place around us, even in our own Dallas, promoting the murder of Jews and nobody is saying boo! I feel like my world is caving in and like I have been duped all this time. Does the Torah have anything to say about what it happening at this time?
I try to be very careful to stay away from politics in this column as it is not my place to be a political commentator.
That being said, I feel that with what is happening in the political arena and with the current situation, it is far beyond politics to call out what we are seeing for what it is and to look deeply within Torah teachings to gain an understanding and a direction through these stormy seas.
It is indeed quite frightening to observe the level of antisemitism in this country which has been unleashed by the bloodthirsty actions of the Einsatzgruppen of Hamas, quite the opposite of what would have been expected — a lack of compassion, abhorrent to any civilized person or institution!
Let’s not make any mistake here…let’s not be swayed to think this is anything less than the lowest, most despicable form of antisemitism. It has, until now, mostly been hidden beneath the surface and given us the false impression that it no longer exists in this country. Now that it has reared its ugly head, it has exploded into something not unlike pre–World War II Germany. Let’s not get lost in showing differences and once and for all call it out for what it really is.
I predicted years ago that this is where wokeism is going…one of its products has been the demonizing of Israel and the Jewish people in general, proffering them the sin of whiteness. Now we see the outcome of that demonization in the hallowed halls of higher learning, the whitewashing and legitimizing of the lowest forms of murder. As one professor at a prestigious university proclaimed to hundreds of students, that he was “exhilarated” to hear of the carnage in Israel…
It’s a chilling thought to contemplate but one that we must: If, Heaven forbid, there was a Nazi-like pogrom tomorrow against the Jews of America, whose side would these professors, students and marchers be on?
There is quite a bit in our Torah sources about precisely what is transpiring before us and its source from the Nation of Ishmael. We don’t have the space to explain it in this column and perhaps we’ll attempt to capsulate it in next week’s column. In the meantime we need to beseech the Al-mighty to rescue the hostages, protect the Jews of Israel and everywhere and look within ourselves to improve in some way in the way of teshuvah.
Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried is dean of DATA–Dallas Area Torah Association.