Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Germany, the Laws of Man and the Laws of God

Judaism is about tradition; but more, it is about order. It is about living as human beings and what sets us apart from animals. Paramount among the differences between man and animal are the laws we create or are created for us, at least for those who have faith and believe in a Higher Authority. I do.

I accept that there is a God for so many reasons. As Ben Gurion once said, to be a realist in Israel, you have to believe in miracles. Miracles are not random acts of coincidence. Random acts can happen, here or there, but when on a consistent basis the missiles miss by a few minutes or a few meters, you begin to believe. When a country shoots 39 missiles at a highly populated area, and one person dies...of a heart attack, you know. When you wake up and see this land and what we have done with it, you have faith.

There are, we believe, laws of God and laws of man. Observant Jews believe that laws of God must be followed; laws of man respected when the respect is justified, necessary, agreed upon, and lastly, do not conflict with the law of God. Jews are commanded to circumcise their sons on the eighth day of his life (barring any health issues which take precedence). When the law of the land goes against the law of God, we follow the laws of God because the laws of man can change according to the whim of man.

Germany has just decided that circumcision is not to be allowed in their oh-so-humane country. They, who perpetrated the most barbaric acts in the history of man, believe this simple act is barbaric. The anger that burns inside me has come to a boil and I cannot be diplomatic so I will be honest. To the Germans, I have nothing to say. When I was in Poland, I could not see the living because my eyes focused on the dead. All that I saw was the world they knew. I'd like to go back to Poland some day to see the beauty of the land because for the eight days I was there, I could only see the ashes, the cemeteries, the concentration camps and mass graves. The signs of the living - a young couple stealing a few kisses in a Jewish cemetery; Polish families walking their dogs and picnicking next to the graves of hundreds of Jewish children - these signs upset me, depressed me, and yes, even angered me.

I have never been to Germany; doubt I will ever go. It was painful to go to Poland; Germany would be agony. I have nothing to say to the Germans - they are man, nothing more. They can make all the laws they want. They did in 1933, in 1938, and they will in 2012. Their laws are nothing when compared to the laws of God. Germany has outlawed circumcision. All that means is that it is time for Jews to leave Germany - not just the young ones contemplating having children, but all Jews.

If you are not prepared to uphold the law of a country, you have the option to leave it. If you want to be able to circumcise your son according to the law of God, leave Germany. Now, before it is too late.

11 comments:

Adam Zur said...

In Western civilization following the Enlightenment, there is supposed to be a connection between Man's laws and Natural law (God's Laws). Man's laws are at least supposed to have as a goal to come to Divine law. This started with Saadia Geon who defined many of the laws of the Torah as Laws of Reason. The Rambam took this process further. It ended up with John Locke. The attack of on this Natural Law concept was from Austin. This is what is called legal positivism. After this introduction we can understand Germany. Hegel was the most popular and powerful influence in Germany during the entire 1800's. His idea of the individual being an insignificant part of the State is what led Germany to a radical Legal Positivism. Sadly this same process is happening in America. (I am trying to avoid saying that Hegel was positivist but he sure was on the slippery slop towards it. And his thought led to disastrous consequences in the twentieth century. Despite his depth of thought, it is hard not to see all the tendencies of Nazi and Communist totalitarianism in his thought.

Anonymous said...

Circumcision is genital mutilation that denies the infant his rights to religious freedom and protection from bodily harm. Your God doesn't exist, thank God. Do you also think it's okay to threaten and nearly go through with child sacrifice? Barbarism is out, get with the times.

Findalis said...

It is easier to put it this way:

It only took 70 years for Germany to become Judenfrei. Hitler would be proud.

NormanF said...

Germany doesn't have any right to lecture Jews about morality, cruelty and barbarism.

The descendants of the Nazi perpetrators should shut their mouths! Jewish practice is not illegal and while the Germans are free to decree against it, they will never change the Jewish relationship to G-d. Circumcision is only one symbol of that devotion to G-d that has lasted down through the ages.

In sum, the more things change...

Kathrin said...

Wow, so I'm a human being, but nothing else, if I read that right. Well, thanks.
To clarify the situation: one judge in one court in Cologne said religious circumcision (all religious circumcision, so same goes for Muslims, by the way) should be considered bodily harm. However, this court is on the first level of jurisdiction, so that's far from the last word. In fact, it is highly likely that every other court after that will negate the decision. Also, it was one judge only and I can't wait to read his opinion, clarifying why he came to this stupid conclusion.
Really, one court in Cologne is not all of Germany.

A Soldier's Mother said...

Dear Kathrin,

Yes, one judge in Cologne ruled (not said, ruled) that circumcision is considered bodily harm and therefore not allowed). Until it is overturned, if it will be overturned, it stands as a ruling in Germany. And yes, I know that this applies to Muslims as well.

First - thank you for the comment about this being a stupid conclusion.

Second - I have inside me this feeling that I should apologize...and I don't want to. I don't want to hurt your feelings. I don't want to feel as I do about the Germans - this anger deep inside that threatens to boil to the top at any minute...and does.

And yet...I will be honest - there are certain constants in this world that I do not believe will change. I can be diplomatic, or I can write my true feelings.

The diplomat in me would say there can be peace if...and then list a whole bunch of conditions that we all know will never happen.

The truth that no one wants to hear (including me) is that there will never be peace here in the Middle East...at least so long as there is an Israel. It is not this piece of land the Arabs object to our holding...it is every piece.

The diplomat in me would say that this is a new generation of Germans - and it is. The diplomat would say it is time to forgive. Not time to forget - even the diplomat is not that stupid.

The truth of my feelings is that I cannot forgive. I have to explain - those that did what they did cannot ask me forgiveness. They need to get that from the people they murdered and it is too late for that. They need to get that from the people who survived but do you think anyone can really forgive the barbaric murder of their parents, their siblings, aunts, uncles? I don't.

Do I hold today's Germans accountable...yes I do, in some way. Because I believe that just as the memory and blood of my great grandparents and parents flows through me; and just as the blood and memories of my father-in-law and mother-in-law flow through my husband; the memory and blood and yes, the hatred, of the Nazis flows in the blood of Germans. Does that mean that I am calling you Nazis? Not at all. Definitely not.

It means it is yours to reject, yours to guard against and yes, just as you would take care with a person who has been wounded...you have to take care of the Jews. Yes, that is your legacy and no, we don't need you to defend us. We have our army, our State, our sons.

It means a sensitivity to the Jewish people enough to understand that circumcision is older than Germany and Jews have been practicing it for thousands of years. A ruling that it is not allowed is a ruling that Jews cannot give birth in Germany. Even if you think you are having a girl baby, sometimes modern medicine is wrong. Are you going to take a baby across a border, sneaking out at night, to circumcise him?

A ruling that you cannot give birth in Germany and you are Jewish and want your son to be part of the Jewish people - means Jews cannot live in Germany. That's what that one judge ruled. Jews cannot live in Germany. I'm telling you this as a Jew. Agree with it, disagree with it - that is the bottom line. Sure, there are Jews that do not care...and there are also a large number of Jews who are now thinking, wondering and hopefully, considering leaving.

I'm sorry if that hurts you. I'm sorry if my comments hurt you. I have tried to "get over" this anger. I have tried to accept history as history and not as a thread into the make up of who we are. It doesn't work. You have to live with your past, and I have to live with mine.

Do I believe another Hitler is coming? Not in Germany at this time, though some would argue Ahmadinejad of Iran is close. I would say that another Hitler is far away - but not because of Germany but because of Israel.

And so we get to today's reality. Israel relies on God, not man. And so yes, Germans are but men. There is only one land in the entire world in which Jews must live...and it is not Germany.

Anonymous said...

I think your comments are not justified. This has nothing to do with hatred against Jews. You said yourself that Muslims also circumcise their boys. This is a sign of a godless secular society.
We need to believe in Jesus, who told us to love our neighbor, whether they are Jew or gentile and that everyone is the same before God. Only then there will be peace.

Alan said...

>> I'm telling you this as a Jew

here we go again with the "I have the direct line to God so I can lecture you about authentic Jewish doctrine" schtick.

Please try to recall that not so very long ago, that line of logic led to Sicariim cutting the throats of other Jews in the streets of Jerusalem.

The blog-owner is an actual expert on being a mother of Israeli soldiers. There is no evidence that she is an expert, or even nominally well informed, about the situation in Germany.


She may or may not have private demons about German history. No problem, one's own blog is the correct place to discuss them. It is totally a different question as to whether a third party would decide to take those neurossii into account when making business decisions. The שייטת הצוללות , (for example, see http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/11/world/la-fg-israel-navy-qa-20120511) apparently thought it would be an error. Now, our blog-owner is the mother of soldiers, not sailors. So we forgive her ignorance. She's not to old to learn. She might study at www.navyformoms.com

Everything's ok, because Germany possesses a Hebrew press published by locally-resident Israeli nationals. It's what I look at when I need to know the situation in Germany.

Or I could ask one of the mothers who has a kid stationed at the חיל הים liason office inside the Kiel shipyard!!!

Syria's air defence said...

Like it or not but it's a barbaric custom and Germany is thank God a secular state no a religious one.It's the most sensitive point on a man and you guys are butchering there with you knifes and i don't know.It's torture it's as simple as that.Barbaric oldfashioned torture.Until today i thought Israel were also a secular democratic state but you write Israel relies of God not on laws made by man?So what do you have the Knesset for?When has Germany asked to defend Israel?I've never heard of it so why are you writing such BS?And why do you insist on the 3 billions from US annually when you say you don't need anyone.Do you really believe Israel can survive alone on its own?History tells us something different,the Yom Kippur war was for Israel a disaster it could only survive with massive American help

Alizah said...

Great post paula. You make some interesting points. However, there is something I disagree with. Why should Jews leave the country? I personally don't like the idea of leaving without doing anything about it. It's a stupid law, in my opinion, and we should raise our voices, we have a right to do so. I don't know how they make or change laws in germany but we must believe in change. And only leave the country when we've done what we can and when there's no option left.

Alizah said...

Great post paula. You make some interesting points. However, there is something I disagree with. Why should Jews leave the country? I personally don't like the idea of leaving without doing anything about it. It's a stupid law, in my opinion, and we should raise our voices, we have a right to do so. I don't know how they make or change laws in germany but we must believe in change. And only leave the country when we've done what we can and when there's no option left.

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