“What are you doing regarding planning for the day after?”
That infuriating question regarding Sharon’s Disengagement/Expulsion Plan is constantly being asked and repeated. There are those asking the question out of real concern for the spiritual and psychological wellbeing of those faithful to the Land of Israel. There are others asking the question as a way to ominously remind those faithful that their day is coming.
The simple answer to the question is that the day after will be very much like the day before. The Jewish residents of these communities will continue to sow, to plant and to reap. Yet, they will be doing so with much greater joy.
There are many natural reasons to assume that this Expulsion Plan will not come into reality.
The first is that the Palestinian entity is doing all that it can to hold its terrorist objectives and desires at bay until after the so-called Disengagement. Yet, people that have given themselves up to Evil have a difficult time with limits. They will have an impossible time holding together the facade of a governable and democratic Palestinian entity. It is our prayer that when that meltdown quickens, as it has already started to do, our armed forces, with the help of G-d, will be able to quench those fires quickly.
The second reason relates to Ariel Sharon’s own government. As more and more information becomes available regarding the corrupt and bizarre machinations being employed by Sharon and his sons to keep themselves in power, the whole delicate untenable framework that makes up this government will deteriorate. The Israeli population can stomach only so much and the media can attempt to hide only so much. Sharon and his son’s unusual money-making schemes, the head of the Disengagement Authority’s financial involvement with the lands that the government wants to send the expelled Jews to, and the deteriorating democratic practices of this present administration will destroy what is left of the Sharon government before too long.
The third reason is, in fact, much more poignant. The heads of the army and the police are beginning to realize that after educating generations of young men and women to be ready to sacrifice all to defend the people and land of Israel, it is very difficult for them to do the opposite. The Expulsion/Disengagement cannot be adequately rationalized as an act of defense. They are being asked to do what they have been raised never to do. They are being asked to take babies from their mother’s arms and put on buses residents who have lost limbs or loved ones in the defense of these settlements. They are being trained to split and arrest parents, children and their grandparents, and incarcerate them in hurriedly prepared detention areas. They are being asked to do what they cannot do.
Most importantly, they are being asked to do all this without any definable recompense. No one is suggesting that this expulsion will deter terrorism. No one is inferring that peace negotiations will be forthcoming. In fact, the intelligence reports indicate that this seeming capitulation will fan further terrorism in the future.This is the reason so many psychologists have been sent in to deal with these hapless soldiers and policemen. In essence these men and women, bereft of direction and of passion, will fail in their encounter with families whose souls are aflame with divine and historic vision.
Yet, the question is still being asked. The question is further refined into statements like, “You can’t expect to go against the whole world,” or, “The die has been cast, there is nothing natural that can stop this.” However, all those asking the questions or making these statements forget one very important characteristic of the Jewish people.
In the book of B’reishit/Genesis (Chapter 15), G-d talks to the forefather of the Jewish people, Avraham:
(5) And He brought him outside and said: “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars, if it was possible able to count them”; and He said unto him: “So shall thy seed be.”
Our sages point out that Avraham was being taught a great lesson regarding his children. He is told to count the stars and then he is told that it is impossible. Avraham then goes out and starts counting. G-d says to him, “So shall thy seed be.” That will be the internal strength of your children, Avraham is told. Even though something may seem to be impossible or untenable, that possibility will not deter them from acting on their faith.
In the midst of a recent discussion about faith, one of our neighbors told us of a rabbi he knew from B’nei Brak. When the rabbi was yet a young boy, he was herded along with other members of his family and thousands of Jews into the Birkenau death camp. Within a horrifying short time, he found himself in the concrete sealed “showers”. The young boy looked around franticly for a way out. One of the elder Jews turned to him and said softly, “Say the Sh’ma prayer, our time in this world is almost ending.” The boy looked fiercely at the man and said “No, I’m not ready to die. G-d knows that it is not my time. I’m getting out of here!” The man sadly tried to convince the boy that he must be ready to accept the inevitable reality. The boy turned away.
Suddenly, the doors opened. The Nazis had stuffed the shower with too many people and they were concerned that the poisonous gas would be wasted. They took a sizeable group of people out of the gas chamber. The young boy walked out into his future and eventually became a rabbi in the Israeli city of B’nei Brak.
Five years ago, tragedy struck the Cohen family. Three of Cohen’s seven children — her son Yisrael, 7, and two daughters, Tehila, 9, and Orit, 12 — lost limbs when their bus was sprayed by shrapnel from a mortar shell detonated by Palestinian terrorists as it traveled from the Kfar Darom settlement to their school in Gush Katif. Two teachers lost their lives and Yisrael lost a leg, Orit part of a foot, and Tehila was badly hurt in both legs. Recently, Yisrael and the other children planted trees throughout Gush Katif. Even though Yisrael is still a young man, he is deeply aware that he will not benefit from the trees he is planting. Yet, his core of faith is such that he knows with a certainty that his children and others like them in Gush Katif will enjoy the shade of these trees in the future.
In May of 2004, terrorists murdered the Hatuel family on their way to demonstrate against Sharon’s Expulsion Plan. These terrorists obviously could not wait for Sharon’s plan to be implemented. Tali Hatuel, 34, who was eight months pregnant with what would have been her first son, was massacred in her car by Palestinian terrorists, along with her four daughters, ages 2-11, Hila, Hadar, Roni and Meirav. After shooting them, the terrorists went back to shoot them point-blank to “make sure they were dead.” David Hatuel, the husband and father, was left seemingly with nothing. Yet, the Palestinians and Sharon’s machinations could not vanquish his faith.
On Wednesday night before Passover, he called for a mass gathering of faith in Jerusalem’s large convention hall in memory of his wife and children. The impossible: a man who seemingly lost everything teaching thousands the secrets of faith.
The descendants of Avraham will continue to settle the land bequeathed to Avraham. They will continue to sow, plant and reap. They are celebrating the holiday of Pesach filled with the confidence that nothing stands forever against faith and faithfulness.