Saturday, August 13, 2005

From tonight until tomorrow evening it is Tisha Be'Av. on which the destruction of the two Temples ( and some other disasters that befell the Jewish people ) are remembered. Folding a large pile of laundry that had amassed on our bed in the course of two days I watched a part of the evening news on Channel 2. Of course many opponents of the disengagement plan link its implementation ( postponed so that it would not fall within the three weeks leading to Tisha Be'Av, a period with special customs related to the mournful character of this day ) to the destruction of the temples. On live television MK Effi Eitam ( a former army officer and 'ba'al teshuva' - a secular Jew who (re)turns to religion - who became head of the National Religious Party and now heads a break-away faction of that party; recently he moved to one of the Gaza settlements with his family as a sign of solidarity and protest ) used some phrases for Sharon and Peres that I would not expect from a religious person, especially on this day. He basically compared them to Titus and Nebukadnezar, and when the reporter - herself religious if I am not mistaken - asked him if there is not a difference between on the one hand the destruction ordered and carried out by foreign forces against a subdued and beaten people, and on the other an evacuation decided upon by the autonomous governement of the Jewish state, he became aggressive and told her very rudely not to interrrupt him.
On Bloghead I read about a fairly new custom honored by Avraham Burg: in the middle of Tisha Be'Av ( a day of fasting ) he and his family have a "se'udat mitzvah" ( a mitzvah dinner or festive meal ) "since Jerusalem is no longer destroyed, but built up and flourishing, and because the people of Israel control their own destiny." No orthodox Jew would change tradition that easily, but then few will consider Mr Burg orthodox anymore, I am not sure how he defines himself. In the article on Bloghead it says that he prays in a Conservative ( masorti ) synagogue, which could explain the above.
Rabbi Melchior of Meimad/Labor was his usual sympathetic self, arguing very friendly and reasonably with several studio guests, among whom Eyal Megged. When the latter disdainfully spoke of the false Messianism of Peace Now and others, rabbi Melchior pointed out that if there is false Messianism it is on the side of the settlers, who consider every inch of the Land as being holier than the state and the people of Israel.
Anyway, an easy fast for those who observe it. In my humble opinion the impending evacuation of the settlements in Gaza and the Westbank does not even come close to any of the catastrophes remembered today, but hey, who listens to me? We can be certain this is the start of a difficult week, which will be followed by another couple of difficult weeks. Still, shavua tov/gut woch to all of you.

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