A man came to the door on Friday afternoon selling God. Nobody talked about prices. The man, Reuven Horowitz, could check my mezuzah, give a blessing for fertility and help with salvation. He didn’t yet live in the moshav, but he was looking. Meanwhile, he was selling God door to door. Rather than scream and throw a pot of boiling chicken soup on him, I said thank you and received with grace a copy of the weekly newsletter. On the first page in the newsletter I learned about the first experiential park in Israel where you can actually feel like you are walking through The Temple. “Priests” guide you in activities on the trails in The Temple. This first park has been opened in the Chabad House, Old City of Safed. For details Tel. 05408432073.
Which Temple? The Third, of course. Just above this item is an announcement that all the Chabad houses in Israel are sponsoring a special course on the Third Templebetween the 17th of Tamuz and Tisha B’Av. The special course is an “astounding presentation,” a virtual tour of theThird Temple, based on the description in Ezekiel. For details Tel. *3770.
I suspect that by next year my local Chabad person will not only have found a refurbished chicken coop in which to live, but will also have transformed part of the coop into Moshav Beit Zayit’s own Chabad House.
After reading the weekly Chabad reader in which Nachman Zoldan is quoted as saying he ONLY builds in Judah and Samaria and ONLY uses Jewish workers, I read the Friday edition of Haaretz. I needed balance. But there I found an article that was even more distressing than Nachman Zoldan’s building policies. There I learned that the Israel Defense Forces is slowly becoming an army with a greater proportion of religious soldiers and officers. These men, encouraged by the IDF Rabbinate, are demanding more modesty from women soldiers and even separation of the sexes in the army. Guess who’s winning this battle?
This Friday’s readings reminded me of the two years I spent in Minneapolis when my children went to Torah Academy, a Torah v’Ora school. One day the children received an invitation in the mail. Chabad was inviting my kids to join God’s Army, Zvah HaShem. That was in 1986. Now, in the summer of 2011, approaching Tisha B’Av when we recall the destruction of the first two Temples, I can imagine the day when the IDF will be renamed Zvah HaShem. The price of salvation keeps rising. For details, call 991-GVALT!
I’ve just edited a paper that refers to a dialogue between David Ben-Gurion and the rabbi popularly known as the Hazon Ish. The question was whose needs were to be given precedence, those of the religious (that is, Orthodox) Jews or those of the secular Jews. The rabbi responded with a parable of two wagoners coming from opposite directions who meet on a narrow bridge where there is room for only one wagon to pass. The rabbi’s view was that the wagon that is empty (of tradition, ritual, etc.) should make way for the wagon that is full (of those elements). And Ben-Gurion agreed.
That is, the religious/secular (or Orthodox/non-Orthodox) divide has not been clear-cut since the establishment of the state. And in a toss-up between women’s rights and the rights of Orthodox men, it is obvious who will win.
We are reaping what we sowed long ago.