Thursday, September 20, 2012

Days of Awe, 5773: Sing for Those Who Choose the Wrong Path

By Tuvia Brodie

Israel is a woman who appears to lean upon her two strongest children. One of these children curses G-d with an anti-religious fervour. The other serves G-d religiously with ultra-fervent denial. Israel fears for all her children but neither of these two respond because one hates the other and the other rejects the one. Israel would be completely bereft of comfort but for her younger children. These youngsters reach out to her. They love her. But they cannot comfort her because they are pushed away by their anti- and ultra- siblings. She is trapped between the hate of the anti- and the denial of the ultra-. She wanders, aimless.
Her misfortunes come in pairs. Two Temples destroyed. Two exiles.Two irreconcilable sons. But her comfort also comes in pairs: teshuva as return to faith and teshuva as return to mother-Israel; two self-defensive wars that have miraculously brought freedom and emancipation--the War of Independence and the Six-Day War; and two all-powerful parents, Heritage and Land.
Israel cries because she can see her Future but is powerless to move forward: her two strongest children restrain her and her younger children are not yet strong enough to help her.
Her two most powerful children imprison her. One imprisons through cursing; the other imprisons through denial. Captive, she hears the younger children. They call to her, ‘Awake, awake!  Do not weep!”
She tries to escape her imprisonment. She speaks: ‘I am Zion. My Future calls to me! My youngsters yearn for me!’
Her strongest children struggle to restrain her. One child, the most powerful—the anti-- has controlled her before. He wills to control her now; meanwhile, the other son—the ultra—refuses to speak; he offers no comfort; because his belief is denial, he will offer no help; because that faith is both strong and stubborn, and he refuses to let her move.
Her younger children become restless. They hear her speak. They hear her voice. They yearn for her.
Awake, Zion! Awake for your children’s sake!
Her parents, Heritage and Land, watch their family in sorrow. Their daughter is abused by her strongest children, the anti- and the ultra-, while the youngsters are treated by their elder siblings as unwanted orphans. The strongest grandchild, the one with the most responsibility, rebels by rejecting his entire past, both Heritage and Land, while the other strong grandchild rebels by denying Land, claiming that he descends only from Heritage.  Torah, he cries, is everything. It is the only thing.  Land today is at best neutral; at worst, it is the embodiment of wickedness: Land does not count.
Together, Heritage and Land mourn.  The anti-child hates, the ultra-child denies, and the younger children are spurned.
But Heritage and Land are wise. They can see what the grandchildren cannot. They can see the Future; and they see that only the youngsters, the most scorned, will inherit their Future with the fullest inheritance. It is they who cling to family. It is they who are loyal.
The Future will be theirs.
Today, Israel cries, her Future denied. She cannot move forward. She cannot defend herself. And yet, despite the pain caused by her rebellious older children, she hears her youngsters. Their voices call to her.
Yes, she is restrained. But through those younger voices--so persistent, so filled with hope and joy-- she stirs, reminded of Family, her Lineage. Through those joyous voices, she remembers who she is and instantly understands that her Future does not belong to those who refuse or deny.  Her future belongs to  those who embrace the Land-- and Sing.
Zion, Zion, awake, awake! If your anti-child would destroy and your ultra- would deny, they cannot help you. It is they who are helpless, not you!  Forgive them! Sing to them! Comfort them! If they cannot see how events lead to your Fulfilment, you must turn to them. Draw them near. They are your children. Do not let their refusal tarnish your hope. Awake, awake!
Help them heal; show them the way. Do not be silent!
Awaken closed hearts with Song. Sing with your younger ones. It is they who will lead. It is they who will inherit the fullest. Sing with them. They are your Future.
Your Legacy is Heritage and Land. Your strength is Heritage and Land.  Your past was Heritage and Land. Your Future will be Heritage and Land. Sing, Zion. Remember the Songs of your parents. Sing to teach your stronger children while you Sing for joy with your younger children.
Sing, Israel. Sing now of Heritage and Land so that those who choose the wrong path can return.
Sing before they turn against you forever.

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