K A H A N E
The magazine of the Authentic Jewish Idea
March-April 1989 Adar-Nissan 5749
Arrogance of Ignorance
In day days when men were humble enough to know what they were – and what they were not; what they knew – and what they did not, the ignoramus knew his place. Whatever arrogance existed was the province of those who were, at least, nominally scholars. And so, while ignorance and arrogance are both attributes to be shunned, their separation was at least a small favor for which to be grateful. But, times have changed and we are today, victims of the ultimate curse – the arrogance of ignorance. The unabashed and haughty readiness to display one’s abysmal and absurd ignorance before people and congregation is the symbol of our wretched times.
The latest exhibitionist of sheer nescience is one Yitzhak Ro’eh, a leftist writer for the Histadrut Daily Davar. What prompted his latest outburst of superficiality was anger. Mr. Ro’eh is angry.
And why is Mr. Ro’eh angry? Because, following an attempt by four Arab terrorists to infiltrate into Israel and murder Jews, the Israeli Army superbly met them and eliminated all of them. And then – and this is what causes the blood to rise in Mr. Ro’eh’s head – and then, photographers were allowed to snap photos of the dead terrorists who had sought to murder Jews.
“Gevald!” shouts Mr. Ro’eh who – as we will soon see, is a very moral person. What an outrage against decency and morality to rejoice and exhibit the bodies of four people who attempted to murder Jews and were killed by the Jewish army. Or in his words:
“Every person and his own associations. When I saw the large color photos of the four terrorists who were eliminated in Lebanon, the following line from the Passover Hagada, began to ring in my ear: ‘The work of my hands are drowning in the sea and you sing?’”
And Mr. Ro’eh then spends the next four paragraphs detailing all the things that were outrageous about those photographs, and concludes: “All this adds up to a growing insensitivity, a deepening dulling of the senses… The one who wrote ‘do not rejoice when your enemy falls,’ would, probably, agree with me: When your enemy falls do not be photographed with him.
One hardly knows where to begin to plough through this trash heap of utterly foul ignorance and arrogance. But we shall try. To begin with, the words, “the work of My hands are drowning in the sea…” do not appear anywhere in the Hagada but are to be found in the Babylonian Talmud (Megila 10b and Sanhedrin 39b), an area of Jewish knowledge that remains for Ro’eh the ignoramus, a dark, exotic, virgin area, untouched by him or his study. Indeed the utter superficiality of the man leads one to wonder whether, when he writes “the one who wrote ‘do not rejoice,’ etc…,” does he really know who did write it.
In any event, one more thought before disposing of the arrogant ignoramus. I am always impressed by the intellectual fraud that is an inevitable part of all the secular haters of Judaism of observant Jews. They are blessed with an amazing ability to selectively choose what they wish from the very same books of Judaism that are filled with verses, sayings, concepts and laws that run counter to the most basic things in which they believe. The very same religious books they despise for “racism,” “cruelty,” “barbarity” and “obscurantism,” suddenly become proper repositories of truth when they spy in them a thing that apparently agrees with their own warped concepts. Intellectual honesty was never the strong suit of the schizophrenic secularists, leftists and Hellenists who lack the courage to entirely drop the Jewishness they so desperately despise.
In any event, back to Mr. Ro’eh, so that we can dispose of him before the same people and congregation in whose presence he so arrogantly displayed his naked ignorance. The need to do this is compounded a thousand times over by the fact that the ignoramus Ro’eh is joined not only by so many semi-ignorant others, but worst of all – by so many tortured Moderdox types who cannot bear to accept the stark truth of authentic Jewish values
As always, the Ro’ehs (and others) of the world selectively and very partially quote the Talmud. The selection they bring down really begins with R. Yeshoshua ben Levi starting his lecture on Megilat Esther with the verse “As the L-rd rejoiced over you (“sas”) to do you good, so the L-rd will rejoice over you (“yasis”) to cause you to perish.” (Dvarim 28). And the Talmud asks: Does the Almighty then rejoice over the fall of the wicked? And to prove that he does not rejoice, the story of the angels asking to sing praise is brought. And this is where Ro’eh, the ignoramus, stops. But there is more. The Talmud continues with answers as follows:
“Rabbi Elazar said: it is true that He does not rejoice, but he causes others to rejoice.”
Ah, what a difference. And a clear answer to the obvious question: If G-d does not want us to rejoice and praise Him when our enemy falls why in the world does it say: “Then Moses and the children of Israel sing this song unto the L-rd…?” (Shmot15)
And a clear answer to why the rabbis say: (Mechilta, B’shalach, II): “The L-rd shall perform for you miracles and glories and you will stand and do nothing? Said Israel unto Moses: What are we to do? Said he unto them: You will glorify and praise and give song and glory and greatness to the One to whom wars belong.”
Of course the Almighty, the totality of compassion, the Father of all, grieves for His children – all of them. He does not sing. His angels, who are not of this world, do not sing. But the Jews do. Not only are they allowed to, they are commanded to… For the very same reason that the very same Almighty, though He does not sing, does destroy the work of His hands because they are evil.
Yes, of course He grieves. He grieves that those who were made in His image have so perverted and destroyed the greatness of that image. That those who were made in the image of good, were so evil. And so, He grieves for the perversion of His purpose in making the world, for His works that have so gone astray. And in His grief He does not have pity: He destroys them: He knows that evil and He cannot share the same world, as our rabbis say: “As long as the wicked rule in the world, the Holy One Blessed be He, so to speak, cannot sit on His throne.” (Yalkut Tehilim, Chapter 47).
And so, because the arrogance of the enemy of the Jewish people, their brazen persecution of the people of G-d with no fear of G-d, is the very essence of Hillul Hashem, the Almighty in wrath destroys them and the Children of Israel must sing and glorify G-d. And thus do the rabbis declare (Shmot Raba 23): “then did Moses and the Children of Israel sing,” this is what is meant by the verse (Psalms’ 9): “The L-rd is known by the judgment He executes.” This speaks of Egypt whom G-d smote at the Red Sea.”
The seal of the Almighty is truth and only that truth will emerge from His lips and His teachings. One imagines the agony of the soul that Ro’eh must endure every Purim as all the misguided and insensitive and sense-dulled Jews celebrate, rejoice and drink to the death of their enemy, Haman. One sees the lonely Ro’eh the lost of the Just sitting gloomily alone in his apartment, bemoaning the spiritual fall of the Jew and the spread of Kahanism among us all. Even as the Jewish people rejoice on Purim. Mr. Roe’h sits with the following ringing through his ear: “The work of My hand…”
Donkey, Immoral Moralist, Arrogant Ignoramus. He opposes rejoicing over the death of those who would destroy us. The Donkey of Morality – Yitzhak Ro’eh.
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