Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hot-line to Heaven

I’ll admit it – I’m a bit confused.

If Israel has been blessed with leaders who fully comprehend the will and the ways of The Holy One (Blessed Be He), then why do we need to pay the salaries of other so-called “leaders” to mis-lead us in fulfilling the Divine Path?

Yes, apparently we have Members of our esteemed Knesset with a Hot-Line to God Himself. Government officials here on Earth with an intimate knowledge of Divine Justice, yet our parliamentarians still feel the need to “debate” issues, as though the pathetically “human” thoughts and ideas which they have to offer really matter with the realm of the World Stage.

I refer to a very enlightening statement made this weekend by MK Ya’akov Katz of the National Union. MK Katz was discussing the current investigation of Police Commander Uri Bar-Lev, who has been accused of sexually harassing a woman who had worked as a police adviser.

According to Mr. Katz (or perhaps I should refer to him as Messiah Katz), Commander Bar-Lev’s current situation is a punishment from God for having been involved in the infamous Disengagement from the Gaza Strip back in 2005.

As further proof that God is meting out justice, Mr. Katz has reminded us of the fates of several other leaders who had been at the forefront of the Gaza withdrawal:
• Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma since suffering two successive strokes in late December 2005 and early January 2006
• Then IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, who resigned after the Second War in Lebanon in July-August 2006
• Former President Moshe Katzav, who is currently on trial for several cases of sexual harassment
• Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is currently on trial on charges of corruption

To me, this is absolutely amazing. Earth-shattering, even.

Wow! I really missed the boat on all of these.

I had very naively assumed that Uri Bar-Lev’s and Moshe Katzav’s sexual harassment charges were a result of their inability to keep their pants zipped up, their hands to themselves and a civil and respectful tongue in the mouths.

Likewise, I was under the misguided impression that Ehud Olmert’s current difficulties had stemmed from his greed and dishonesty.

And how was I to know that Ariel Sharon’s health problems were not because he extremely overweight, in terrible physical condition, under enormous pressure as Prime Minister of Israel and nearly 80 years old at the time?

Nope. All of the problems that these men have had is because God is punishing them for a political decision, which they made believing it to be in the best interest of Israel!

Whether or not the decision was in fact in Israel’s best interest is a topic for another time, but what is relevant right here and now is that according to MK Ya’akov Katz, God did not approve of the decision, and He has made his disapproval very clear.

I am a little bit concerned that the intimate understanding of God’s ways demonstrated by MK Katz does seem to go against one or two “minor” details which I have always understood to be cornerstones of Jewish thought.

For example: In the Book of Isaiah (55:8) God tells us (I thought very clearly) that God’s thoughts are not like our thoughts, nor are our ways like His.

To me this means that we are very much mistaken if we think that we can apply human logic and human understanding to anything that God does (and does not do). God has His own thought processes and His own ways and reasons which are completely foreign to us – we can never hope to understand them.

This message is further emphasized by the Book of Job.

Very VERY brief summary for those less versed in Scripture…Job, having lost everything dear to him – his children, his health and his wealth, demanded an explanation from God. His 3 friends all tried to comfort him, by explaining that if all this bad fortune had befallen him, it was clear that it was a punishment from God for having dome something wrong (does this sound familiar, MK Katz…?). Job refused to accept their explanation and continued to push for an answer from God.

When God finally answers Job, he asks him (in paraphrase): Where were you when I created the world? How can you possibly understand the Laws of Nature that I put into play, and the reasons anything happens in this world that I created?”

Yet, for all of God’s chastisement of Job for believing that he deserves explanations or can understand the Divine meaning behind them, He chastises Job’s 3 friends even more harshly. God rebukes very harshly for not having spoken properly about God the way that Job did. What does this mean? Job, unlike his friends, did not presume to understand God’s ways and God’s reasons. He wanted to – he felt that he had a right to, but ultimately he internalized what his friends never did – which is that, as mentioned already from Isaiah – God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and our ways are not His.

It would seem that MK Katz has found a way around this bothersome limitation.

God’s thoughts and those of Mr. Katz are one and the same. Mr. Katz is able to point to specific occurrences on Earth, and tell us that God is punishing certain political evil-doers.

I for one would be ready to welcome a bona fide Earth-bound representative of God’s thoughts and ways except for one problem: It seems to be to be borderline heresy.

Other than that, I’m fine with it….

But no – the Books which we have been given as the basis for our relationship with God have specifically told us one thing, while MK Ya’akov Katz is trying to tell us another.

It’s difficult enough when people try to use God as an explanation for the inexplicable, MK Katz is now using Him for things that really are explicable – and relatively easily so.

Perhaps the parliamentarian is not secure enough in believing in the “right” of his political stance that he can only justify it by invoking God?

I would think that arguments – both before disengagement as well as since it happened would have provided enough ammunition.

1 comment:

  1. We live in a time of hester Panim. There might be divine retribution in certain situations [e.g., "...Don't tell me how to punish her."], but we mere mortals can't evaluate it. Though if something happens to Achmadinjad, I might be tempted...