Colors: Green Color

As I read these Torah portions, I cannot help but think about the 12 Tribes. We have read about their birth and many of the challenges they faced. They confronted Esav, battled with Shechem and now they are in the midst of the major story with Yosef; his dreams, their response and ultimately their encounter with him in Egypt. The tale of these 12 men are not just some bedtime story… they are the foundation of Am Yisrael! Yet, as tragic as it sounds, as the pages of Jewish history were being written, 10 of these 12 tribes disappeared into thin air. They were exiled from Israel (about 2,600 years ago) and never seen or heard from again. Yes, there are Rabbis and historians today who make various claims about certain people around the world – and these must be verified – but, by and large, the 10 tribes are gone.

Everyone seems to be complaining about politics these days (and there’s good reason for that!), but I want to take a break from that world in order to focus on something far more important. How easy it is to complain about Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, or Bibi Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, while avoiding the one person we can actually change. Therefore, for the next 873 words, let’s stop complaining about every person under the sun and focus on what Yom Kippur is all about: being honest with – ourselves!

Everybody in Israel is going crazy over the recent elections. Yes, the voting part is over…but who won? I realize that in most countries this is a ridiculous question, because by the end of the night either your guy won or your guy lost. However, here in Israel things are a bit more complicated. Gantz and his Blue and White party received two more Knesset seats than Bibi and his Likud party… so Gantz won, right? Well, no, because “winning” in Israel means that you are able to form a government of 61 Knesset members and Gantz only has 33. Therefore, Gantz needs to team up with a bunch of other parties and add their Knesset members to his total. Without going into all the boring details, and assuming that all the leftist/charedi bashers join his coalition, Gantz will have a grand total of just 52. That’s a far cry from 61.

Life in Israel, last week, was full of pressure and tension. According to news reports, “over 400 rockets were fired into Israel” and, if not for the Iron Dome, many of those rockets would have landed on Israeli homes, causing tremendous damage and possibly even loss of life. Everybody is singing the praises of the Iron Dome and how it saved us – yet I am 100 percent against this device and, if I could, I would dismantle every unit and send it back to where it came from. It sounds crazy, so let me explain.

I need to make a confession. I understand the importance of remembering past events, but I have a problem sympathizing with things that happened 2,000 years ago. Yes, I read Megillas Eichah and cringe when the prophet talks about Jewish women eating their children in order to survive. I also spend many hours on the floor reading the kinos – mostly with the English translation – and try my best to take things seriously… but it’s hard. Don’t get me wrong; I fully appreciate the great rabbanim who insisted we cry over the tragic events of Tish’ah B’Av and I agree that a people who does not know, and does not identify with the past, will be doomed to repeat it… but let me be honest: It’s a very hard thing for me to do.