For What it’s Worth: Warren Hecht

Blind Loyalty Trumps Morality

In an editorial in CT (Christianity Today), which was founded by Rev. Billy Graham, the editor Mark...

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The 13th global siyum, held on January 1 was the fourth such siyum that I had attended. I was at the 10th Siyum HaShas in 1997 at Nassau Coliseum, the 11th in 2005 at Madison Square Garden, and the 12th at MetLife Stadium in 2012. Each one was special. The 1997 siyum was the first time that I had been to a siyum on daf yomi and I was awed by number of people who were involved in the celebration. MSG was special since it was the first time I had been part of the “daily double-sided page” cycle. The crowd in Met Life Stadium in 2005 dwarfed the crowd at any of the prior siyumim. The place was packed with more than 90,000 people present to celebrate the completion of the daily daf. The 13th global siyum that was held at MetLife Stadium was more impressive than the prior event due to the time of year. It is easier for most people to stay outside for a few hours in the summertime. It is a lot different doing it in the dead of winter.

My regular readers know that I rarely write about Israeli politics. I only recall one article. I avoid the subject for two main reasons. It is not my place as an American living in New York to tell Israelis what to do or think. Secondly, it is hard half a world away to get a feel of the players involved, whether it is the elected officials, the media, or ordinary citizens. I must be in Israel and be on top of daily political machinations to be able to have a reasonable basis to comment on the situation in Israel. There are others who feel differently so I will make some general remarks to them.

In an editorial in CT (Christianity Today), which was founded by Rev. Billy Graham, the editor Mark Galli argued that Trump should be removed from office because of his conduct. (“Trump Should Be Removed from Office,” December 19). This editorial caused a big stir; even the president responded to it. I have no illusions that anything I say will have the impact of Mr. Galli’s editorial, but I feel that it needs to be said, especially after reading some of the columns in the Queens Jewish Link’s December 26 issue.

The president and I have something in common: Neither one of us served in the armed forces. Trump got a doctor to get him a medical deferment from serving in the military during the Vietnam War, and by the time I turned 18 there was no longer any draft.

Most people are familiar with the criminal break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in the Watergate Hotel. Another illegal act involved breaking into Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office. Daniel Ellsberg was the person who leaked what was later called the Pentagon Papers (Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force) to the Washington Post in June 1971. At the time that the information was leaked, the Nixon administration went to court to try to stop the Washington Post from publishing the papers. Only a portion of the report was leaked. The entire report was released in 2011.