Colors: Green Color

Elsewhere in this paper, you will find a letter to the editor from my colleague Rabbi Judah Kerbel of the Queens Jewish Center. Rabbi Kerbel respectfully takes issue with my criticism of Anti-Semitism Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt and the ADL for not forcefully fighting anti-Semitism, especially during the current crisis.

Last Thursday, the Queens Jewish Link received a letter from somebody with an assumed pseudonym in which he leveled one of the most absurd criticisms against me. He wondered why I support those rabbis from Lakewood and Brooklyn who condemned the Washington rally the day before it took place. He also wondered why I do not commend the established organizations that arranged for the rally. I believe the editor has decided not to print the letter, though I was fine with them doing so. Although likely the letter was written just to bait me, I will take the bait and run with it.

Years ago, during some other war that Israel was engaged in, the great Shlomo Carlebach began a song with: “The holy people of Israel are all alone. Am l’vadad yishkon!” (“A nation that will dwell in solitude” – BaMidbar 23:9). These words were first uttered by none other than our biblical nemesis Bilaam, who was commissioned by the king of Moav, Balak, to curse the Jewish people.

There is no way to make sense of the world today. A tiny state surrounded by enemies on all borders, composed of the most persecuted people on earth, who were victims of the greatest genocide in history, now stands accused of genocide itself. Why? Because it is fighting back against the most brutal terrorist organization in the world, which committed unspeakable horrors against the tiny country.

The Megillah of Purim tells the dramatic story of the post-First-Temple Jews in Persia threatened with annihilation at the hands of Haman and King Achashveirosh. In the end, under the leadership of Mordechai and Esther, the tables were turned, and the Jews vanquished their oppressors. “V’nahafoch hu... and it was turned about, the Jews gained the upper hand over their enemies (Esther 9:1).” This has become one of the most noted phrases in the Megillah, and a very lively song containing those words is a Purim favorite.