In a few weeks’ time, we will be reading Parshas Korach, which of course relates the story of the rebellion of Korach and his followers against the leadership of Moshe Rabbeinu. Remarkably, Korach opens his salvo of accusations with “For the entire assembly – all of them – are holy and Hashem is among them; why do you exalt yourselves over the congregation of Hashem?” (BaMidbar 16:3)
Moshe Rabbeinu was the most modest person on the face of the Earth, as described by Hashem (BaMidbar 12:3). Where does Korach get the chutzpah to accuse Moshe of being haughty?
The S’fas Emes (to my understanding) explains that this was no accident. The tendency of wicked people is to accuse others of exactly what they themselves are guilty of. In other words, turn the tables. This tactic seems to work well.
I remember back in the late 1980s, when the AIDS epidemic began to grow in the sexually misbehaving community, that the affected people were dying at a fast pace. Included were many innocent people who were infected by others, unbeknownst to them.
Since the Catholic Church took a strong position at that time against this type of promiscuous and reckless behavior, it became a major target of the wrath of the guilty. Churches were desecrated, and bags of blood were spilled on cathedral doorsteps.
The motto that was adopted was “Silence = Death!” In other words, all those who did not speak up in favor of these people were considered guilty of accelerating the disease. Yet, they continued to behave recklessly and refused to take the necessary precautions to halt the spread of the disease. And they refused to allow anyone, even a possible victim, to be told of the presence of the disease in any individual.
My wife’s obstetrician, a very fine but assimilated liberal Jew, complained at that time that if he came across a patient who had the disease, that he was not allowed to inform the partner, even if, by not informing the partner, it could result in the partner’s death. It was too much for the doctor to fathom.
So, who was “silent”?? But the offensive worked. Everybody else was accused, especially religious institutions, of being silent as the guilt was spread – with the media, of course, playing right along with it. They turned the tables.
The Arabs have managed to turn the tables, as well. They lob bombs into civilian neighborhoods. Their terrorists murder innocent men, women, and children in homes, places of worship, and on the roads. They do not allow Jews into their territories. They expelled Jews from their countries in 1948 and will kill any of their own who sells property to a Jew.
It is Israel that defends itself against terror by minimizing civilian casualties. Israel is an integrated society where Arabs sit in the Knesset and even on the Supreme Court.
Yet Israel is accused of ethnic cleansing and Apartheid by the clueless Left. They turn the tables.
Now we hear from certain ethnic communities that they want billions of dollars in reparations for a system of slavery that ended in a civil war well over 150 years ago.
What about reparations for the businesses that were looted, cities that burned, and synagogues that were defaced just two years ago? They turn the tables.
The Left, throughout the globe, including in Israel, decries “bigoted talk” in any manner. Naturally, you cannot say a word about LGBTQ people without being accused of hate. You cannot even refer to terrorists who kill families as “beasts.” That, too, is “hate talk.”
Yet these same people have no problem in cursing the entire community of chareidim. One Israeli anchorwoman even referred to the chareidim as “bloodsuckers,” a term borrowed from the Nazis to depict Jews. No problem: The tables have been turned.
Online, thankfully, there is some strong reaction to all of that by individual secular Jews. We as halachic Jews must live by the Shulchan Aruch (literally “the Prepared Table”). Let us make sure that at least we can detect when the tables have been turned.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi Emeritus of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.