"Women Remain the Best Jewish Leaders" Rabbi Fishel Jacobs
I’d noticed an ad campaign appearing in NY. It read, simply: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
I have no interest in politics. My passion in life is writing books on practical Talmudic law, and fielding the hardest questions in that field from my worldwide readership.
That said, I live in 2013.
To get to 2013, I’ve lived through my years experiencing the Islamic influence on our world. For decades, I served as an officer, lieutenant, in the Israeli army. Then as an officer, a Major, in the Israeli prison service, with thousands of Islamic terrorists under me.
And, of course, I read the news.
So, I read the ad, got it, and decided to send the person/group responsible a note of encouragement.
My research got me to a Ms. Pamela Geller, NY Times bestselling author and head of American Freedom Defense Initiative.
I emailed something like this:
“I just wanted to drop a short note of moral support. I’ve read some of your writings about the dangers of Islam to enlightened society, particularly the U.S. and, of course, the people in Israel. I can not agree with you more. You’re thoughtful and courageous.”
In return, I learned that Ms. Geller was under fire from all kinds of directions and lobbying groups. One, for example was a “1,800 member strong, Rabbis For Human Rights.” That’s a group of Reform and Conservative “rabbis,” a fact which inherently means they have no credible voice, from a traditional Talmudic standpoint.
But, the onslaught, as incomprehensible as some of their arguments were, juxtaposed to Ms. Geller’s clear-minded and fearless position got me thinking.
I remembered that, throughout Jewish history, it has consistently been intelligent and proud females who’ve made critical difference, specifically in the most hopeless times.
Examples, seemingly endless, rushed through my mind. Here are but a very small few examples.
You can’t go much further back, in Jewish history, than the first matriarch, Sarah. She was Abraham’s (the first patriarch) wife.
Abraham and Sarah had a son, Isaac. Abraham also had a previous son, Ishmael, through their Egyptian slave-girl, Hagar. (Monogamy was only introduced through later rabbinic legislation.)
A violent argument erupted around who would continue the Abrahamic tradition. After all, Abraham had been promised that “To you and your offspring I will give the land you are now living in as a sojourner.”
Sarah claimed that Isaac was the rightful heir. Hagar demanded it should be Ishmael.
That debate was interrupted by a Voice which came to Abraham, saying, “Do not be troubled by this boy (Ishmael) and your slave-girl. Do everything that Sarah tells you (Genesis 21:11).”
(As a light aside, many of us in the orthodox Jewish community paraphrase that verse, when we tell our friends to listen to their own wives opinions.)
Fast forward, four hundred years (circa 1393 BCE). The nation is towards the end of the worst enslavement of an entire people in the history of mankind. Four hundred years in Egyptian captitude.
Pharoah’s horrible decrees “to break their bodies” are piling up. Men, women, elderly, ill, and children were working day and night to build the pyramids and cities, through mortar and brick. Bitter slavery in fields under the burning sun, all designed for one thing, to “break them.”
Finally, came the back-breaker of all of Pharoah’s proclamations. Specifically, that when any Hebrew child is born, “if it is a boy it shall be thrown to death in the Nile.”
The husbands decided to divorce their wives, as a cautionary measure to preclude procreation. They reasoned, Why bring children into this world, when they are only going to be murdered?
One head-strong woman, though, thought otherwise. She had hope. And, she inspired a successful counter-movement.
“Pharoah has decreed,” she declared, “against our newborn sons only. But, your decree will stop all childbearing!” Her advice was taken by her husband, followed by the other men.
This woman’s name was Yochebed (according to Talmudic tradition). Her husband’s name was Amram.
They fathered Moses, the man who would, eighty years later, broadcast perhaps the most famous exclamation of freedom ever: “Let my people go!”
The rest is history.
Fast forward, again. It’s circa 355 BCE. The Persian King Ahasuerus (perhaps Xerxes I of Persia) rules over the entire known world, 127 nations.
The Temple, in Jerusalem, had been destroyed almost 70 years earlier. The Jews are in exile.
Haman, the King’s viser, has convinced Ahasuerus that the only trouble in the entire kingdom is the Jews. (LOL, some things never change.)
A decree goes out to annihilate the entire people, “men, women, and children where ever they may be. (Book of Esther)
The story has a protagonist, Mordechai, and a heroine, Esther. Mordechai has secretly positioned Esther into the palace.
You guessed it. At the risk of her own life, she pulled off the salvation of her entire people. That’s the story of Purim.
Fast-fast forward to today. Particularly these last few decades have brought us a juggernaut in the form of an implacable, evil, tsunami of Islamic expansionism swelling up all around the world.
It’s intentional, international and they’re upfront and vocal about their intentions. They’re battling to spread the domination of Sharia law. Anyone who even questions them is an infidel. The movement is called Jihad.
It’s all there in the Quran. Different authorized English versions are freely downloadable. It is required reading today. Read it.
But, we in the Judea/Christian culture are doing what psychology labels “Projection.” It’s understandable and an almost inevitable human tendency to view everything through their own worldview.
Accordingly, our initial reaction is to turn the other cheek when injured. We try to see the good in other people, to appease, to be inclusive.
All this when the relentless aggressors consistently and vigorously declare vehement disdain for all accepted Western values and, supported in full by the societies from which they grow, express their determined intent on our demise.
Anyone who raises a voice in warning against these incessant attacks on innocent men, women and children, from the Middle East to Europe to the U.S., are labeled insensitive, polarizing, bigots.
It is in times like this that the sane mind asks, Where are the voices of reason, of maturity? The voices of courage?
Okay, I realize that we guys may have caused our due portion of screw-ups throughout history. Granted.
But, I for one thank G-d, that there are still people of clarity, moral fiber, and dignity left.
And, like I got thinking earlier. It’s pretty clear to me that women do remain the best Jewish leaders.