I write these words with tears in my eyes.
As I sit here in front of my computer, Jewish parents are being taken by Israeli police to prison. As I sit here, thousands are gathering in protest in front of the Russian Compound in Jerusalem. As I sit here, young girls who were once best friends, glare at each other in contempt as they hear the others parents scream profanities at each other. And as I sit here, I feel I have no other choice, no other option, no other alternative…but to just sit here.
I just sit here, and debate whether to speak to you about the hatred brewing in the hearts of Jews who consider themselves observant of our Torah. Hatred against Jews who are no different than them, aside from the birthplaces of their grandparents and the color of their skin.
Emmanuel is a town just a bit farther down the road from Efrat, a short drive from the Jewish capital, Jerusalem. The residents of Emmanuel are almost exclusively Torah-observant Jews, and most study in Yeshivot and Kollelim. One can walk down the street, and although it may still be under construction, or an empty soda can may rattle in the wind, can’t help but to smile at the sight of little, Jewish children coming home from school with their kippot and sidecurls, or their long hair and modest skirts.
Yet deep inside the heart of this apparently blissful town, sits a girls’ school, which has been under the spotlight in recent weeks. The Emmanual Beit Ya’akov school – which has committed an ugly and unforgivable crime against Hashem, against the Torah, against the Jewish people, and simply against humanity.
A decision was made to separate the Sepharadi girls from their Ashkenazi classmates, so that the latter would not be influenced by the “impure” former, in the words of one of the Ashkenazi mothers. A wall was constructed down the middle of the school, and the playground split in two by a fence, which the Ashkenazi parents kindly sponsored fabric coverings for, so that Heaven forbid their children should see the girls playing jump rope on the other side. Different uniforms were issued for the girls of the Sephardic school, with which they would walk to a separate entrance constructed for them.
For what reason? Since the grandparents of this girl came from Iraq, while the other’s had come from Poland. Since the great-grandparents of one were flown to safety on Operation Magic Carpet from the deserts of Yemen, while the great-grandparents of those came on ships from the ashes of Europe. Since the ancestors of this girl were murdered at the hands of evil men known as Inquisitors, and the ancestors of this girl were slaughtered by demons known to the world as Nazis.
How ironic that this town rests in the hilltops just outside of Jerusalem. Jerusalem, our capital, the city which was destroyed “due to baseless hatred” between our people, in the words of the Talmud. The Talmud which was written in Babylon since we no longer merited to live in our own land after despising our brethren, our own flesh and blood.
Were our grandparents walking in separate lines when the Romans marched us out of our land? Did they not cry on each others shoulders as they gazed upon the scattered limbs of their children on the dirt road, as Jeremiah told us? Did they not hug and kiss, promising each other that one day they would return home, to their Land, and rebuild their life as it was, with peace and harmony?
Then why do Jews who act as if they follow the Torah not stand up and decry such actions? Why do these Jews have the audacity to consider themselves part of our Nation? Why do these Jews defile our holy Land with their perversions and crooked ways?
It is for this reason that I cry today. I cry as I watch so-called “Orthodox” Jews, in long black coats and furry hats, alongside their rabbis and Roshei Yeshiva, scream in protest as the Israeli police follows through with their commitment to end this abomination. I cry as I hear people who’s lips utter the words of the Talmud in the mornings, use those same lips to teach their children to hate their fellow Jews. I cry, as I watch my people resist the truth, and push away Mashiach’s coming.
My dear friend, come, and learn the word of Hashem with me (Bamidbar, 15:1-2 and 15-16):
One rule applies to the assembly, for yourselves and for the proselyte who resides [with you]; one rule applies throughout your generations just as [it is] for you, so [it is] for the proselyte, before the Lord. There shall be one law and one ordinance for you and the proselyte who resides [with you].”
One rule, one law, one ordinance – one People. Whoever believes otherwise is in contempt of the God of Israel, and in contempt of His Torah. Whoever holds this belief in their heart would be better of renouncing their Torah observance, and continue on to the next portion and read about those who are like Korach and his evil congregation.
To those of us whom the word of Hashem still breathes in our hearts, and to whom the harmony between the Jewish people matter – I call to you “Whoever is to Hashem, come to me!”. Tell people who are wrong, that they are wrong. Do not let injustice and immorality taint the teachings of our Torah. Teach your children that we are one People, with one Torah, in one Land, with one Father.
I end with the solemn prayer in my heart, that Hashem may cause all those who rise against Him to return their hearts back to Him, and may we, together with the entire House of Israel, hear the sound of the shofar echoing from the Temple Mount speedily in our days, Amen!