Disengagement, Disenchantment & Disbelief

I have a piece, or more accurately,a couple of pieces, on the recent issues in Gaza. If you happen to have stumbled upon this site and are somehow unfamiliar with what’s been happening, look at the recent archives on jpost.com for about an hour, then come back here.

I started this effort, which now seems much larger than it is, because I had free time on Tisha B’Av, over a month and a half ago. I had to write something, anything, about my feelings on the Gaza tragedy. I was tired of the political arguments, ’cause, as important as it is to argue about things that matter (and boy, did this matter), by then, it was a foregone conclusion, barring a miracle. (And as much faith as I have in God to bring one, I’m not sure how much faith I have in the Jews these days to deserve it.) And what bothered me personally more was that I couldn’t decide which side of the argument I was on. Now, acknowledging that this stuff may be just a bit dated, I still wanted to share it.

(To be continued. Check back at this post later.)

Update: I had a bunch of ideas to present here, but as the whole episode drifted further into the past without my having time to comment on it, I felt like my words would be less…less…not relevant. No, that’s not the word…Maybe less impacting, less immediate. It didn’t feel like it fit any more. I intend to incorporate the ideas* I had in thinking about this into other pieces, but for now, I think I’m putting this issue to rest. (Writing-wise, that is. My heart and prayers are still with those who were, justly or not, displaced from their homes.) If you want to understand the basics of how I feel, look at the comments.

* Destruction and its purpose, accusing God of wrongdoing, the mental and halachic status of an onen (i.e. a very recently bereaved mourner), the concept of an emotional refractory period, and a few others.

17 Responses to “Disengagement, Disenchantment & Disbelief”

  1. Cuz Dys says:

    Nice to have you back.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m new to this blog and I am too lazy to read all the past blogs to understand your position, so may I just ask where did you stand on the disengagement before it happened and what do you think of it now?

  3. ilan says:

    Well, anonymous, as much as I appreciate your sincere efforts to understand the viewpoints of others, I don’t have a simple answer for you. I mean, I was wavering back and forth between reluctant support and regretful opposition, up until the whole saddening affair was over. I haven’t changed my opinion now, though I’d say that it’s a bit less relevant after the fact.
    – i

  4. Anonymous says:

    “I’m not sure how much faith I have in the Jews these days to deserve it.” …That bothers me. Even a little faith goes a long way, and ahavat yisrael takes us even further. No matter how bad we are a Father doesn’t abandon His children. (And with the amount of teshuva going on these days, we’re not all that bad.)

  5. ilan says:

    Hmmm…you know what, anonymous, you may be right. We’re not all that bad. And while I have faith in the nation, we haven’t been putting on the best show of our midot lately. What I said was that I’m not sure we deserve a miracle right now. But one day, we will.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “We haven’t been putting on the best show of our midot lately.” Ilan, where have you been? Did you not just see what happened in Gush Katif? I was moved to tears by the beauty of how our brothers and sisters treated each other. The way they cried together and pulled each other through tough times, despite the fact that they were supposed to be on opposing sides was beyond touching. The worst way they expressed themselves was by throwing paint! How much more outstanding could a persons midot be? The ahavat yisrael I saw inspired me more than I ever had been. So when you say,”I’m not sure we deserve a miracle right now,” it’s a stab in the heart.
    (Oh ya, and the greatness of how they pulled through the evacuation seems even greater in comparison to how the other nations have acted in rough times. Have you not seen the nasty things going on in New Orleans after Katrina? All you have to do is click on a local news channel to see.)

    ~R

  7. ilan says:

    You know what, R? You’re absolutely right. As emotionally wearying as it was, I actually saw the same things you did, and was just as impressed as you. I was cringing, desperately fearing such hatred, such enmity, that all hell would break loose. And you know what? Whether the disengagement ought to have happened or not, the Jewish People as a whole decided that there are some lines you just do not cross. That a Jew simply does not harm another Jew. Maybe Hashem will write all of us in the proverbial Book of Life after all.
    Thank you, R, for you positive words. Maybe some of us just need a little reminder now and then of just how powerful, just how sublime, the Jewish spirit can be.

    This could be a good year after all. Kein yehi ratzon.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Amen. 😉

    ~R

  9. Anonymous says:

    Are you planning on posting again soon? You probably have a hectic schedule like most people, but, hey, there’s an audience waiting out here to hear what you have to say!

  10. ilan says:

    An audience? You flatter me, dear anonymous.
    But I do plan on posting, and much more regularly, come next week, when my schedule will have gotten back to normal.

  11. cuz dys says:

    I would like to respond to R’s comment. I think that while the actual evacuation was ok, when you hear stories of Roshe Yeshiva saying that it is ok to destroy Army equipment, and boys throwing caustic soda on the soldiers, not to mention, yes, the physical struggle, I do not think it is as simple and as beautiful as that. The Jews who stormed the roadblock in Shavee Shomron and tore it to peices did not demonstrate proper behavior. Yes, I too was moved to tears by the images I saw, but there was plenty of behind the scenes that were a lot worse.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Cuz dys, off course they did many things that were wrong. Terrible. Yet in comparison to what other people may have done in that sort of situation, they were pretty amazing. I used this example before and I’ll use it again: While we watched the people of New Orleans after Katrina, yes they may have helped one another in many ways, yet there were also many stories of rape, theft, and police corruption. These things were done by one victim of the hurricane to the next victim. If man is capable of treating another man who is in the same boat as himself in such a way, I am only left to wonder what they would do to the person who was causing them both that particular pain. (Yet, off course, the victims of Hurricane Katrina could not do anything to cause pain back to Katrina. But what would they do if such a thing were possible?) Does that make sense? The people of Gush Katif could have done much worse to the soldiers, the people who were causing them their pain. Even if just one evacuee and one soldier were to embrace and feel one another’s pain that would have been a lot. Not to mention, that hundreds of evacuees and soldiers did that.

    ~R

  13. cuz dys says:

    R, I respect what you said, but disagree with most of it. A couple thoughts: I dislike comparing Jews to anyone. I am not sure what your religious orientation is, if any, but as an Orthodox Jew, I fully believe “Mi Ke’Amcha Yisrael, Goy Echad Ba’Aretz – Who is like the nation of Israel? A unique nation in the land.” This is also the difference between the standards I hold Israel to versus the standards I hold other nations to. Yes, Jews are special and different. The world expects more, and I expect more. Particularly, I think the Katrina comparison is incorrect. One problem is that we were only exposed to the crimes, because, let’s face it, thousands of people calmly accepting their lot to camp out in the Superdome makes for really boring news. The stories of humanity during, and after the Hurricane are comparable to anything that happened during the disengagement; you just have to look harder because few are interested in them. To look back at the disengagement there was also the lead-up before the disengagement that did give people time to acclimate to the idea, even if they tried to refuse to accept it. I think that that was also a large factor that helped stop violence. When you look at statements made at the start of the year with regards to the disengagement, they are very, very scary. During, I also disagree that there hundreds who embraced the soldiers. There was not, and probably will not be any study, but the scattered pictures were saw are certainly for me overwhelmed by the stories of pain, tears and suffering both sides experienced and directly caused the other side. Please understand me – I love Israel, and cried what I was able to along with the evacuees. However, I do not think that Religious Leaders handled it correctly with exceptions, nor do I think much of the Religious public handled it correctly.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Cuz dys, I agree with what you said in the beginning. The comparison I made does come with a huge “L’havdil.” And perhaps showing all the crime going on in New Orleans was propoganda. But the crime did happen and that can’t be overlooked. Yes, off course there were a lot of stories of people helping one another, and that can’t be overlooked either. But the point I’m trying to make is that whether news stations purposely showed that crime or not, the crime did happen. It wasn’t false propoganda. (“The stories of humanity during, and after the Hurricane are comparable to anything that happened during the disengagement.” I believe that that must also come with a “L’havdil.”)
    You said that the settlers had time to get used to the idea of leaving their homes and communities, and that that was a factor that helped stop violence. Do you really think that if I were to tell you that I’m going to come down to your house in about a year and throw you out, you would just get used to the idea and allow me to do so when I arrived? No way! You’d beat me to death when I came. I can give you all the time to get used to the idea of leaving your home, but if you were determined not to ever leave you would stick up for you family and home with all your life when I would arrive. Imagine with what hate you’d try to get me to leave you alone (and imagine that the police and government were on my side.) Many of those settlers were not planning on leaving their homes (so much so that some didn’t even pack). So when the soldiers came to tell them to leave wouldn’t you have expected them to fight more violently than they did? Those Jews, many of them orthodox, whom you said did not handle the situation properly, truly arose to the occasion. They did not cause as much harm and destruction that would have been expected. Off course it would have been greater if they didn’t behave violently at all. But how much more can you expect, especially with the anger they were harboring? You see, as an orthodox Jew, I love to have a great sense of “Ahavat Yisrael.” So when you say, ” I do not think that Religious Leaders handled it correctly with exceptions, nor do I think much of the Religious public handled it correctly,” I’m going to give you the same advice you gave me for the Katrina example: “You just have to look harder.” You have to look deeper into the situation and see how great your fellow Jew was.

    ~R

  15. cuz dys says:

    R – you responded very cogently. I disagree with your emotional argument about the ability to get used to an idea. One thing to think about that proves my point, I think, is who we consider the nation of the Palestinians. If you keep saying it, it must be true and people accept it. This is a psychological tactic that works. But anyway, the issue I was focusing on that you seemed to have missed is the approval that criminal behavior enjoyed from a huge section of the Religious population. That is what upsets me. Everyone will agree that the looting after Katrina was wrong, but in Israel, there are Rabbis and Communities that condone the actions of the protesters. I do not accept this, and feel that the Religious Israeli communities did not speak out as one against the violence and destruction caused by their own.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Cuz dys, your last sentence states, “…the Religious Israeli communities did not speak out as one against he violence and destruction caused by their own.” Again I say that nobody is perfect, people have emotions, and the “violence and destruction” that the settlers caused was much less toned down than anybody expected in the first place. I have a feeling we’re gonna be going in circles with this argument.
    Anway, sorry Ilan for taking over your blog and talking too much even though I am a complete stranger to you. You deserve it anyway after you forced me to have to stop eating a certain food (i.e. balogna.) 😉

    ~R

  17. cuz dys says:

    Wonderful talking with you, R. Thanks for your Blog, Ilan. Iz kickin’!

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