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B’Ahavat Yisrael

B’Ahavat Yisrael | Picture featuring Rashi letters

 

A friend recently sent me a copy of an email he got from “B’Ahavat Yisrael.” The email advertised their most recent campaign called “Save the Galilee.” In the email, people are asked to donate money so that land can be bought in the Galilee from Christians and Muslims.

The texts in the email – and in their website – are appalling. They feature a mixture of ultra-nationalism and extreme Pharisaic doctrines; two examples – one of each other are these:

“… because it is time to take our country back…”

"One who purchases 4 cubits (amot) in the Land of Israel is assured a portion in the World to Come" from Midrash Zuta on Megilat Ruth (4:5)

“Here he begins again!” are probably some readers thinking by now. It would be extremely easy to write a furious article about the ongoing crimes by the State of Israel and various organizations related to it. The sources are vast. Justice Goldstone called Israel a terrorist entity.

Yet, I am sure that the readers would find such an approach as tiresome as I do. Instead, today I want to laugh at Israel. Once, I’d seen a CNN interview by Larry King with Mel Brooks, a comedian and moviemaker who escaped Hitler’s killing machine. King asked how Brooks could make comedy based on Hitler, the very symbol of evil. Wasn’t that an attempt to vanquish him from our memories? Wasn’t that an attempt to humanize his behavior? Mel Brooks’ answer was quick, clear and clever. He said that the only thing you can do while standing face to face with such evil is to laugh: laugh at his ridiculousness; laugh at his moustache; laugh until you cannot see him anymore through the tears; laugh until he loses his meaning; laugh until you can turn around and just walk away from him and his nonsense.

I want to bring one text of the website and another one from the email of “B’Ahavat Yisrael” and show their ridicule.

The text appearing at the very top of their website reads:

“We Are About Caring For Each Other Despite Differences”

Merriam-Webster defines caring as:
1 a : to feel trouble or anxiety b : to feel interest or concern (care about freedom)
2 : to give care (care for the sick)
3 a : to have a liking, fondness, or taste (don't care for your attitude) b : to have an inclination (would you care for some pie)

Moreover; the word "ahavat" is the possessive form of "love" (ahava), making thus a subtle alliteration for the readers that understand some Hebrew.

Yet, “care” and “love” are being used by some of the most violent people on the world. The 575 pages of Justice Goldstone report provide conclusive evidence that the word “caring” is used here in a different sense. Hebrew uses opposites to say things that cannot be said openly.

For example, the King James Bible translates Job 2:9 as:

“Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.”

However, in the Hebrew original, the wife says “bless” and not “curse.” Simply, writing “curse God” is a blasphemy to be avoided.

Israel uses its very different language as a protective wall; few outsiders can figure out the vicious violence of that culture. It seems to me the website uses “caring” in the same way, here maybe for the sake of not writing “killing.”

The second text I want to bring is in a picture that was sent with the email to my friend. It contains text that reads "The Land of Israel" written in Rashi letters.

Rashi Letters

Rashi Letters | Designed in France

Rashi is the acronym of Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki (Hebrew uses acronyms extensively; even the name of Jesus was changed by the Pharisees into an acronym meaning “Be His Name and Memory Erased”). A medieval French rabbi, he wrote commentaries in Hebrew letters he designed; some of them are substantially different from regular Hebrew letters. Thus reading Rashi texts is difficult for the average Hebrew reader and such texts look old fashioned.

Here, they were used in order to impart a feeling of old roots, strengthening the ultra-nationalist message of buying lands in Palestine from Christians and Muslims. Yet, it seems the author missed the fact that Rashi didn’t live in Palestine and probably never even visited it!

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