Allegorical Nonsense

An allegory. Nonsense. Put them together. Okay, not really.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

ושיננתם לבניך

On the same evening that we are commemorating the 11th anniversary of the murder of the former Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, certain haredim are carrying out acts of violence and intimidation against police, journalists and members of the public, over the holding of the annual Gay & Lesbian Pride March in Jerusalem.

It brings to mind all the times I have heard people say that the Palestinians should do something about the murderous acts carried out by their extremists. What the hell are we meant to do? Is it my civil obligation to go out and confront these dangerous criminals in the name of freedom of expression and the fundamental human right to life, family and equality? To form a militia? What have we come to? We live in a democratic state where a bunch of extremist thugs believe that they have the God-given right to throw rocks at citizens driving on the roads, assault police officers, burn tyres, and threaten to throw apples filled with razor blades, on the pretense that they don't want a bunch of people who have carried out acts prohibited in Leviticus to walk together in the streets of the city in which they live. Woe betide all of us when they decide to take up arms against those of us who violate the laws of kashrut, have extra-marital heterosexual relations, or light their stove on Shabbat.

And the police are now deliberating as to whether they will follow the order of the High Court of Justice and permit the march to take place (read, to provide it with adequate protection) or whether to postpone it again or cancel it (read, not to provide it protection). I can't believe that this is even a question. And of course, everyone's calling everyone else Nazis. To be honest, I think we may have bigger problems.

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At 5:13 PM, Blogger Simon Holloway said...

Interesting post title, especially seeing as "And you shall teach them" is an idiomatic (mis)translation of the Hebrew. The root of the verb is not שנה, but שננ. Related to the word שן ("tooth") it means, "And you shall sharpen/whet them for your children". The exposition on this is that the words of Torah should be like barbs in your mouth and that you are always ready to spit them out (ie: deliver an exposition on something when asked). The juxtaposition of this title with a post of this nature is effective; the Haredi community is a little like the barb within everybody's mouth, I suppose. Nice comparison with the Palestinians too.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

The title came to mind while I was looking at photos of the people carrying out the violent acts - primarily children and young people. And when I looked up ושיננתם it seemed all the more appropriate - the line between "educating" your children for life and "sharpening" them for war may be a fine one.

I had a similar thought when I went to the commemoration for Yitzhak Rabin in Kikar Rabin. 95% of the audience would have been under the age of 18 (primarily from the youth movements). And I couldn't help but think - is it possible that the only people naive (optimistic?) enough to believe in peace these days (ever?) are the children? Or is it that children are simply the only ones unafraid enough to go out and show their faces for a cause?

At 6:47 PM, Blogger Simon Holloway said...

Not a bad point: aside from the geriatrics running the country and the children in the army, who is there? The majority of the nation, I suppose, who just want to live in peace. The old make all the decisions while the young make all the noise. I wouldn't be surprised if the situation were not too dissimilar on the 'other side'.


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