Will the Right Hand Forget Its Skill?
By Eugene Narrett, PhD
The primary virtue of Judaism is kindness. "Demonstrate clearly Your kindness [God], You who saves with Your right hand," sang David of the essential merit of Abraham who "kept the way of Hashem, doing charity and justice" (1). The kindness or "right hand" of Hashem is shown in His faithfulness to redeem Israel from "the wicked who have plundered" and "the mortal enemies who surround [her]." Because the right hand of kindness loves mercy, life and peace it is not pacifism. Kindness must fight to sustain the good. "Your right hand sustained me [and] trained my hands for battle," sang David. You girded me with strength for battle" so that "I pursued my foes and overtook them and struck them down" (Psalm 18:35-40). This kindness is the quality of the Lord in His supreme aspect of Mercy denoted by the Name, Hashem who "subjugates nations" beneath the king of Israel so that "foreigners are withered and terrified," amen. Hashem "magnifies the victories of His king... He does kindness with David, His anointed and to his seed, forever" states the verse recited near the end of the grace after meals, right before praising His establishment of peace in the heavens and for His people (2). This verse makes clear that in His mercy, Hashem first gives strength to Israel so that He can establish peace for them, their efforts fulfilling His will for their rule in the Land (3). Because the Holy City is the center of God's sovereignty and moral order, Jews remember the horrors of their exile by vowing that Jerusalem will remain foremost in their hears, or the right hand may forget its skill (Psalm 137). Sometimes kindness requires both war and vengeance on the wicked.
This point is summed up in a familiar phrase, "kindness to the wicked is cruelty" because it enables them to continue to afflict the innocent and good. This is a lesson that many Jews, secular and religious, old and young continue to misconstrue to the sorrow and stress of themselves, their nation and the world. The media-amplified corruption of the path to and nature of "peace" aggravates the natural tendency of Jews to confound self-restraint with self-contempt and the pursuit of peace with pacifism, mistakes that lead to the peace of the grave and the triumph of the wicked. "His right hand is a right hand of kindness" because He smites the wicked and wants His people to do the same. This is in the merit and example of Abraham when he pursued the kidnappers of his nephew "and deployed against them by night, and smote them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus" (Genesis 14:13-16). The ethical teaching Israel brings as his truth to the world is that "the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous, lest the righteous stretch forth their hands unto iniquity" (Psalm 125:3). The state of Israel and many Jews have forgotten this integration of kindness with justice. False to the truth of Israel, their deceits lead not to peace but to death. They confound friend with foe which invites their enemies to trample them, thus mocking God's Name and promise.
This problem manifests itself in small ways as well as great, from the theft of beehives to the false friendship of "Jordan" to the all-encompassing, all-deforming lies of the "peace process." On February 3, the Foreign Ministry "Center for International Cooperation" hosted a celebration of classes it conducted to teach Arabs about bee keeping (4). The Barak government was so proud of its misplaced charity it ignored a protest by Israeli beekeepers who have been seeking redress for 2500 beehives stolen by Arabs in 1999 at a cost of about 10 million shekels, not including lost labor. "They are simply looting us and somehow the nation accepts it," said beekeeper Levy Schneersohn of Kfar Chabad. "We know where our hives are, near Halhoul, but the army will not send soldiers to accompany me [to reclaim them]. It is a national humiliation. They are robbing us blind and we do nothing about it" (5). By allowing Arabs to rob and attack Jews in Israel, the government desecrates the Name, Hashem. Kindness to the wicked is cruelty.
The LORD blessed Israel with heavy rains and snow from January 26-8. Scores of cars were stranded in the Tunnels highway from Gush Etzion to Kiryat Arba. Israeli police instructed drivers to leave their cars and looked away while Arabs stoned Jews who digging out their vehicles and then vandalized the cars. "I could almost understand that they stole my radios, mirrors and ammunition," said one Israeli, pathetically, with condescending and meretricious broad-mindedness. "But why did they have to destroy doors and other parts of the car with absolutely no benefit to them?" This naivete about the enemy is not uprightness. At the Kiryat Arba medical Center a Jew lamented, "at the very same time we were caring for 50 Arabs who had gotten stuck on the roads, and providing them with food and warmth, their townspeople were throwing rocks at us and vandalizing cars" (6). It is very late in the day for Israelis not to understand the magnitude of Arab hatred of Jews. Ministering to those who consider you "the disease of the Third Millennium" and who make Mein Kampf a bestseller is not kindness it is self-contempt and a desecration of the Name (7).
It passes for common knowledge across the spectrum of Israeli politics that the 1994 treaty with Jordan is a success. "Normalization" with Jordan is the prize that helps justify continuing the "process." The nation remains blind and deaf to the lesson of the "Isle of Peace" in the Yarmuk River Israel surrendered to Jordan. Early in March 1997 King Hussein issued a public letter castigating Prime Minister Netanyahu for not surrendering land more quickly to the Palestinians. Inflamed by the letter, a few days later a Jordanian soldier shot and killed seven Jewish schoolgirls who were touring the island. Then Hussein toured Israel to "console" the bereaved families, and was exalted as a master of compassion. To confound evil and good in this manner is not kindness but its opposite. The "right hand of falsehood" brings not peace but "the evil sword" (Psalm 144:8-11).
In exchange for surrendering the Sinai Peninsula Israel also has a "peace treaty" with Egypt. The latter nation's view of "normalization" is publishing blood libels and warnings against "the threat of Jewish capitalism," as Henry Ford did. "Arab negotiators must be prepared to use all the cards available to them, including the anti-normalization ground swell" (8). In Jordan, professionals term normalization, "a conspiracy to force Jordanians to accept the existence of Israel" and fear being tarred with this deed. "I have never normalized relations with Israel," insisted the director of a Theatre Group expelled from the Jordanian Artists Association (9). Anti-normalization advocates publish a black list of those who work with Israelis in any capacity, even with Israeli Arabs (10). Jordan's Press Association issued a statement that "fighting normalization is a necessity," because "the fight against normalization prevents weak souls from falling into the [Zionist] trap." The "bylaws of all thirteen associations in Jordan forbid members from normalizing relations with Israel" (11). Jordanian journalists repudiate peace with Jews so utterly that they praise the overt Nazism of Syria. "Frankly," one wrote, "nothing has pleased me more than the Tishrin article" (see above). "This good work was only superseded by what Hezbollah did recently in rubbing the Zionist occupation's nose in the mud" (12). Until two years ago, the government of Israel allowed this "best friend in the Arab world" to control the Temple Mount. Then it heightened the disgrace by transferring control to the Palestinians. So, anyone who speaks of the state of "Jordan" as a friend of Israel speaks with lying lips that preclude peace and afflict the righteous (Psalm 34:14-23).
The Jewish soul is still suffering the trauma of the Great Revolt, and the response to that defeat has been even more crippling than the slaughter inflicted by the Romans. It is essential to God's sanctifying purposes for the world that one guard the tongue from speaking evil and the lips from deceit, but God forbid the soul of a Jew should "be dust" to anyone. Rather, for the sake of His right hand, let Israel "do valiantly, and He will trample our oppressors." "He drove the enemy away from before you and He said, "destroy!" (13).
This is the standard by which Jews must measure their response to all enemies of Jewish sovereignty in all Israel. The Pope plans to arrive in Israel for five days on March 25 and "a senior Vatican official" declares that no Israeli officials will accompany him to "East" Jerusalem. It further was announced that the Pope would limit his visits within "the Green line" to the Western Wall and Yad Vashem, that is, to sites that memorialize the exile, lamentation and murder of Jews. The Barak government limply regretted "that due to circumstances beyond control, the Pope will be unable to dedicate more of his time to study the resurrection and renewal of the Jewish people in the land of their forefathers" (14). Perhaps since he means to insult and deny Jewish renewal and life, the Catholic primate should be barred from the Land. If successive governments of Israel had themselves reclaimed and settled the land this point would be moot. Now the Church spits on one side of Israel's face, and Barak turns his cheek for another gob of gentile sputum.
An Arab who used to work for Israel commented on the results of the state's bowing to its enemies and betraying its friends and allies in Lebanon and Judah. "The GSS has abandoned its collaborators, thrown them to the dogs. We all believed Israel would stand by us," he said. But Israel only stands by those who repeat blood libels and plan to uproot the state. "Oslo is a sham," the Arab noted. "There will never be real peace with the PLO, look at what they did in Jordan and Lebanon. Wherever they go they destroy. Hamas is stronger than GSS and things are dangerous" in part because GSS is pre-occupied with spying on, inciting and persecuting nationalist Jews (15). In this it exemplifies the deranged sentiments of Jewish intellectuals who rail against removing Bedouin from Maon ("I can't even bear to see a dog treated this way") but finds the removal of Jews and demolition of Jewish homes reasonable "since other Jews are taking care of them" (16).
The failure of modern Israel shows how leftwing secularists resemble some of the orthodox against which they rail. Both have made a career of crippling Jewish self-respect and twisting the meaning and path to peace of the Torah of life. MK Eli Yishai of Shas agreed to support Barak's latest surrender of Land to the Palestinians when the government promised to restore EMT ambulance service to Yesha (17). This kind of "orthodoxy" accedes to surrendering Judah and Jewish lives to aliens so long as Magen David Adom can scrape up the bodies. Just as on the Tel Aviv to Jerusalem road in 1947-8, the doctors and nurses also can expect to be shot. The Holy One did not tell Israel to settle and possess their inheritance only if the Arabs didn't mind. He told us to settle the Land and "drive them out." Since the liberation of Jerusalem in June 1967 the Rabbis should have led with public prayer and song in redeeming the Temple Mount and all the city's ancient Jewish synagogues and neighborhoods.
Fortunately some non-religious Jews grasp the congruence of faith and sovereignty in Israel. One noted that the Temple Mount is "a site of Jewish prayer and a symbol of nationhood" and quoted the Gerer Rebbe: "when Zionism came, we left it to the secular, and when the repentance movement came, we left that also for the secular." Perhaps, commented the man, "the secular also will have to build the Beit HaMikdash." And he added, "the Zionists were a minority among the Jews, those who came to the Land were a minority among the Zionists and those who actually worked the Land were also a minority. I hope we will soon be leaders" in reclaiming the Temple Mount as a place of Jewish prayer (18). If as Rabbis Porush and Benjamin Elon hope, the rally for Jerusalem occurs soon, uniting all Jews in renewing the pledge of Psalm 137, Israel will merit His "right hand, arm and the light of [His] countenance," and He will "command the salvation of Jacob. Through Your Name we will gore our foes; by Your Name we will trample our opponents" (Psalm 44:4-6).
It is inevitable, "good and pleasant" that Jerusalem again become the sacred place and cause that brings Israel together, "for there the tribes ascended, the tribes of God" (Psalms 122, 133). The threatened surrender of the Golan to the Nazis in Damascus, the betrayal of the faithful in Judah and Benjamin and the dismemberment of the Holy City can prompt Jews to follow a man who will redeem their soul from a government of fraud and violence. "And their blood will be precious in his eyes... until people blossom forth from the city" (Psalm 72:14-16). This was David's prayer for Solomon, and it remains Israel's prayer for its promised dominion. "Let me hear Your kindness at dawn, and with Your kindness cut off my enemies... You, Hashem, Who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war" (Psalms 143:8, 12, 144:1).
1. (Psalm 17:7), (Genesis 18:19). The title paraphrases Psalm 137:5, "If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill." This is the pledge of all exiles beginning with those who wept "by the rivers of Babylon," 137:1.
2. (Psalm 18:46-51) and Birkat HaMazon: HaTov uMeitiv, baMarom, HaRachaman.
3. Psalm 29:11.
4. Foreign Ministry Press Release, with note from IMRA, Feb. 02, 2000.
5. Arutz-7, Jan. 17, 2000.
6. Arutz-7, Jan. 30, 2000.
7. Kheir al Wadi, Al Tishrin, Damascus, Jan. 31, 2000. Al-Wadi called "Zionism worse than the Nazis" in its "massacring of the innocent," etc.
8. Mohammed Sid-Ahmed, Al Ahram Weekly, Sept. 2-8, 1999.
9. Dina Hamadan, Jordan Times, August 28, 1999.
10. Dina Hamadan, Jordan Times, Oct. 05, 1999.
11. Alia Shukri Hamzeh, Jordan Times, Nov. 18, 1999.
12. Editorial, Al-Dustur, Amman (in Arabic), Feb. 02, 2000, p.3. The editorial also supported the claims of Holocaust denier David Irving.
13. Amidah, epilogue, Psalm, Deuteronomy 33:27, 29.
14. Arutz-7, Dec. 19, 1999, Jan. 12, 2000.
15. Arutz-7, September 08, 1999, anonymous interview with Haggai Segal.
16. Arutz-7, February 03, 2000.
17. Arutz-7, Jan. 25, 2000. The Jew-hating "humanitarian" is Prof. Sammy Michael.
18. Arutz-7, July 21, 1999, Ahuvyah Tabenkin of the group, "With Causeless Love We Will Be Re-Built," interviewed by Ariel Kahane.
Eugene Narrett teaches at Boston University.