"Jerusalem the Holy City" Sign at Protest of Gay Parade in Jerusalem (Image credit: © 2017 N Sher)
“...for it is your wisdom and discernment in the eyes of the peoples, who shall hear all these decrees and say, ‘Surely a wise and discerning People is this great nation!’... And which is a great nation that has righteous decrees and ordinances, such as this entire Torah that I place before you today?”
(Deut. 4:6, 8)
The above is a quote from the portion that we read on the Sabbath of the week of the "gay parade" in Jerusalem. My rabbis have always told me that the weekly portion will always have something to do with current events if you look hard enough. This week, one did not need to look very hard.
What is the world really looking for; indeed thirsting for? Is it another high tech gadget, better entertainment, more money?
I submit that the world either consciously or unconsciously is yearning for a clear voice and example to lead them out of its spiritual quandary and strife. Where is that liberating wisdom to be found - in which book, in which people? We read the answer this week in the Torah portion.
The debate about the desirability of mass "gay" displays in Israel in general, and in Jerusalem in particular, is an old one that may end soon. The forces of "enlightenment" are smashing all opposition.
As I stood among the small group of about 60 people, opposite about as many police (thousands of police were mobilized to guarantee the freedom and security of the parade. Downtown Jerusalem was closed. Why then are the police not able to do the same for Jewish worshippers on the Temple Mount, our holiest site?) and the thousands of marchers, I wondered about many things.
History shows us that not always are the majority right (although it is debatable which side holds the majority in Israel). In fact, they have often led the world to catastrophe. Think of the generation of the Flood, the Tower of Babel, Sodom, World War I and II, and the UN today. The majority often rushes to their own destruction and that of others.
I was amazed by how the powers that be succeeded in demonizing all who would protest against the parade. How well the system works! I wondered how Abraham felt when he was ridiculed and threatened by the establishment when he dared insist that idolatry is wrong?
I stood with a small group of mostly young men and women but also some older leaders and rabbis who had one common aim; to make sure that it not be said that no one protested the rebellion against the will of G-d in Jerusalem. Simple.
It turns out it is not so simple. I was a witness (not for the first time) to how the police try to intimidate those who dare to challenge the establishment; their bosses who can grant them promotions.
For no reason, they pulled one young man out from among us to be "interrogated." It is then that I saw how the seasoned corps of protesters reacted with determination and zeal. Baruch Marzel, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and Bentzi Gopshtain raged at the police. Some younger members began to pull down the barricade. I was terrified. The police swept into the gap and we were seconds away from a physical confrontation.
Protest of Gay Parade in Jerusalem (Image credit: © 2017 N Sher)
The commander then calmly agreed to return the detained youth to his comrades. The officer did not want a riot on his watch. He wanted to go home without having to fill out lots of papers. That is how it works. Sad.
I looked into the faces of the police, men and women. What was behind the sun-glasses? What did their eyes see? I’ve asked the same question on other occasions: Gush Katif, Amona...
How do they describe their day when they come home? Are they aware of the issues that Am Yisroel (the People of Israel) struggles with? Do they care? What are their lives as Jewish souls?
These questions apply to the Jewish cops. Many are not Jewish. Some are Druze, Muslim, and Christian (Arab, Russian, or Ukrainian).
My thoughts turn to deep humiliation at the site of these Gentiles seeing us in our worst hours. Are they smiling to themselves? Are they in disbelief that we can be so stupid? Definitely a desecration of G-d’s Name in the first degree.
And what of the marchers? What are they so excited about? Lots of kippot joined the party this year. The theme was homosexuality and "religion."
It reminded me of the false prophets of the First Temple period who guided the people to Baal worship. Then too, only a handful did not bend their knee and were social outcasts at best. Many had to hide from the establishment in caves. Many were killed.
I believe that our few voices represented the majority of Jerusalemites and Israelis, who are too timid to raise their own voices. We experienced the same phenomenon with the perfidious Oslo Accords in 1993. The king had no clothes then and is still naked today, but who will dare say so? Very few - as always.
I asked myself, what does this “movement” really want? I could not imagine that it was simply to smash the concept of family and marriage as we know it; to sentence children to be raised by same sex "parents"? Could it be?
I do not know what really makes the marchers tick but I am convinced that they are not the majority. The real majority are relieved that there are still some that dare to raise their voice on their behalf, even if they dare not raise it themselves.
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination." (Lev. 18:22). The flaunting and lionizing of this abomination should not be a national value of the Jewish state. The nations of the world expect something more from us than to lead the rebellion against G-d's word. Israel has loftier things to offer the world.
If we do not shine the light to the nations then they really do not have any use for us. We are not the wise nation that the world was expecting and is seeking. We are just Jews seeking to be like them.