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Loving Your Fellow Jew

Friday, 23 August, 2019 - 3:40 am

Not since Sunday School, Miss Judy’s class, do I remember paying any attention to the story. 

       Two mothers who shared a room came before Solomon (in Sunday School we were not told that they were fallen women). One baby was found dead in the morning and each claimed the surviving baby as her own. This wisest of men rendered judgment: since we cannot prove to whom the baby belongs, we shall split him and give each woman half. One woman spoke thus: Please your majesty, I surrender my part. Just don’t cut my baby.

This woman, pointed Solomon, is the true mother.
 
What was the Wisdom of Solomon here, couldn’t any Fredrick Forsyth protagonist come up with such a solution?
 
Perhaps (perhaps): A mother is naturally protective and sees her baby as an extension of herself. Her intuitive reaction to Solomon’s solution would be to grab the baby. Scream. Pull out her hair, attack the other woman, attack the judge. 
 
Solomon’s test was counterintuitive; a mother’s love is that she is ready to give up her everything -- even her instinct to hold onto the child -- for the child -- and no one can fake that.
 
Gush Katif has been emptied “ahead of schedule” and “with less violence than anyone predicted”. The enduring part of the story may well be beyond the headlines.
 
Consider: practically since their inception, the current Jews of Gush Katif have never been sympathetically portrayed. They know it and it eats at them.   They’ve been called Nazis and Jewish terrorists at worst and the Jewish equivalent of the Michigan Militia at best. 
 
They sustained 4,200 mortar shells attacks. (Imagine how many homeowners would still be in Rancho Mirage after three.) In addition to 12,000 shooting incidents. Their children have been murdered and the lucky ones survived missing fingers, legs or motor control. They feel they have been sold out, cheated by their once-biggest supporter, raped by the army they were a part of and still are, and their hard work awarded to the murderers of their children. They seem to have been emotionally unprepared.
 
If ever a human being had a breaking point, this must be it.   
If ever a people had the ability and the rage to revolt (they are arguably the best-trained and best-armed civilian population on planet earth) this was the time.
If ever a moment is too poignant to be dressed up for the cameras, this must be it.
 
Instead of attacking and revolting, they mourned and wept. They asked the soldiers “how could you? Do you know who you look like? Look me in the eye!”   They locked arms; occasionally, some had to be pried apart and carried, but they never raised a hand. In a very few instances teenagers threw sand (heck! Arab kids did that to me for holding a camera inside a bus!) and paintballs. There was no revolt, no violence; no hand was raised to a soldier and considering the circumstance, barely a harsh word. 
 
These people have a lot of love. More than that, love must be their core. Love of the land certainly, they declared so constantly. But more than love for the Land of Israel, they love the Children of Israel. In this Solomonic moment, they showed that they were on that land foremostly in defense of their people. Argue the wisdom of their position, but the veracity of the love of their people is the most stunning – and least expected – outcome of their last two weeks. And possibly the most enduring, too.
 
The. . .what shall we call them?. . .refugees?. .. former residents of Gush Katif? . ..whatever. They want very much to live together as a group. As I understand it, those who see them as a nuisance do not eagerly pursue the idea, ostensibly believing that spreading them out will deflect further agitation. 
 
They might both be wrong. Wherever they live, these people will influence their neighbors. They’ve been to hell and back in a nightmare they never dreamed. Being stranded in hotel lobbies and stranded in bus stations is not likely to break them.  
 
They have lost everything; we have found something in them they may not have realized they possess. 
 
They love their people more than they love their land. More than they love their most cherished dreams. Even more than their political egos. 
 
We don’t need the wisdom of Solomon to perceive this love. 
We need his wisdom not to squander it.
 
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