Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Shimon Peres....The Man I Loved to Hate

Shimon Peres - Baruch Dayan Emet

It is what we say when a Jew dies. How strange, right? We say "may his memory be blessed" and we say, "may his family know no more sorrow" and "may they be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem".

We have all these phrases we say and they are all obvious and clear. Even the "may God avenge his blood" that we say when someone is brutally murdered. May God do it, so that we don't have to. Or, may God do it because some murderers can't be avenged, sometimes perhaps even most of the time, the truest justice isn't in our hands at all and so in those painful minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and even years, we turn back to God and say - please, you avenge his murder. You make the justice happen. What justice can there be, what punishment strong and right enough for the killers of little Hadas Fogel and her family, for Dafna Meir, for Koby and Malkie, and Tsvi and Gilad and Naftali and Eyal and so so many others?

Baruch Dayan Emet - Blessed is the True Judge

It seems almost ridiulous a phrase. Some correctly ask - what is the connection between announcing ssomeone's death and praising God. Of all times, is it logical to praise God upon someone's death?

To confound things more, it is said for the Jewish equivalent of saints and sinners. It doesn't matter - and that's the point. Whoever you are, whoever you were - ends with death. You carry with you your greatest accomplishments and your greatest failures for the most important interview of your life...even if you are dead. You go before God and God judges you.

Baruch Dayan Emet - the truest of words. It was never for me to judge you, Shimon Peres. In my limited and modest way, against your towering personality and deeds, I fought against the path you tried to take Israel on. I disagreed with your politics and always felt that you brought the ghetto with you everywhere you went. I couldn't fault you because how many Jews really were able to get over the Holocaust, the devastation of their youth? After such a crippling start, losing so much at such a young age, the fact that you and so many others were able to walk, talk, my God, fall in love and have a family - that in itself is an amazing accomplishment.

That you helped found a nation, were there from the beginning. Who can fault you? How can anyone criticize you? I do. I did. I'll have to continue but I'll do it with sadness now. Ultimately, you may have helped father a nation but beyond that, you were a husband, a father, a grandfather and a great grandfather. You leave behind a family that mourns for you and a nation that does as well.

You helped thousands...and hurt thousands. You rallied behind a nation...and abandoned a part of it in a cruel and shocking and needless way. You became the voice of Israel to those who do not know us. You were graceful and a gentleman throughout.

You were not the strongest of leaders or the strongest of men but you were steadfast in your love of Israel. No one can say you didn't love this country. Those you wronged, those you hurt will find no comfort today in your death. What they will do, what I will do, is wish you well on this next journey you take. Baruch Dayan Emet. In life, I felt it was my obligation to write against you.

When you were awarded the Medal of Freedom, I wrote that you should give it to Jonathan Pollard.

Sometimes, I wrote in gratitude. For example, once you were questioned about the rockets being fired at our cities from Gaza and your response was simple and perfect. You said, "Either they will have to stop, or we will have to stop them." And when you went on CNN and spoke of the rights of Israeli mothers to sleep at night without fear of incoming rockets, I recognized and praised you for your words.

I have friends who suffered, and continue to suffer, for the policies you initiated or supported, for the words and for the damage you caused in pursuing peace to the point of war. But at the moment of death, we are all freed from this world and on the path you now take, you deserve to go with our blessing. God will judge you, as He judges all of us. Only He can make a true accounting. Only God can weigh the good you did against all the rest - the bad, and the good not done. 

For the truly evil, there is nothing we can do to avenge the agonies, the cruelty that man can cause to others. 

For the truly good, there is nothing we can do to praise or reward a lifetime or even a single moment that transcends the expected. 

For those who did the best and the worst, ordinary man (and woman) and leader alike, it all comes down to letting go and letting God take it from here. Trusting Him as the ultimate Judge.

Shimon Peres is correctly being mourned by a family that loved him, and by a nation that owes him for decades of service. Few people can stand before God and say they were perfect; few can even say they did the best they could.

Shimon Peres was a product of the society that birthed him and was never able to leave behind those formative years. For those who hate him for what he did, it's time to put your faith forward. We who care about those harmed by Shimon Peres must stand forward and be the loudest to say, "Baruch Dayan Emet" - Blessed is the True Judge. May God bless the memory of Shimon Peres and reward him for the good he did for our nation, for the kindness, for the gentle man he was.

In anger, we spoke of his policies, and that can continue. In anger, we condemned him, and that has to stop. We will never forget the bad, but we have to remember the good. More, we have to trust. We have to take our faith and show that it transcends all. God will judge Shimon Peres. Man is left to mourn the father, grandfather, husband, Jew, Israeli...the man he was.

And no, I can't say that I hated him exactly. I was angry at him, I resented his using his power in a way that hurts others. Hate is a powerful and crippling emotion. It is one that you should spend your life attempting to avoid. There are people that I hate - both in the current time and historical figures that I'll go to my grave cursing.

Shimon Peres may deserve our anger, but I don't think he deserved our hatred. 

Baruch Dayan Emet.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.ravaviner.com/2016/09/expressing-immense-gratitude-to.html

Batya Medad said...

This post is included in the Last Havel Havelim of 5776

Shanah Tovah!

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