07 August 2016

It Doesn't Get Any Sadder Than This

4 Av 5776

I would imagine that there are many more like her who are too embarrassed to admit it publicly. And they are usually the same people who talk about how Jewish unity is everything. She's got one thing right. There can be no "unity" - no kinship - between real Torah Jews and people who espouse sentiments such as these.

As they say, "read it and weep." We're in the Nine Days.

Why I’m not fasting on Tisha B’Av

...I’m not fasting because the oldest symbol of that so-called “unity” — the Western Wall — is a battleground for religious pluralism, and I imagine that if the kohanim were still around, they would be on the side of the Haredim, not on the side of those women who, like me, want to be full participating Jews there with tallit, tefillin, and Torah.

I’m not fasting because I’m afraid of what it would look like for women if we actually rebuilt the Temple.

And I’m not fasting because, ultimately, the destruction of the Temple lent way for the democratization of Judaism, wresting power and authority out of the hands of an elite and corrupt priesthood and placing it in the hands of scholars, and then rabbis, who represent the people. Eventually in our day, all Jews have the authority to be their own priests, to hold holiness in their own hands, to read their own Psalms as they ascend the stairs of their synagogue, to lead their own prayers, and even to make their own halachic decisions. I celebrate that democratization. It doesn’t make me sad, even though my husband and sons are kohanim and would, in the time of the messiah, be those powerful priests again. (And I’d get to eat from their terumah as the wife of a priest. As a vegetarian, it doesn’t appeal to me. As a feminist, I don’t want to eat their leftovers.) I don’t mourn the loss of a hierarchical, inherited caste of priests — I would, however, mourn the loss of democracy.

...And I’m not fasting because I believe we are already living in the third period, in the time of the sovereign nation of Israel, and though the Temple doesn’t exist anymore, Israel certainly does. I am a Zionist. I don’t mourn the loss of our sovereignty, because we finally got it back. I feel blessed to live in the era of the “flowering of the seeds of our redemption.”

God forbid! If this is what redemption looks like, we are truly and completely lost and there is no hope left.

Clarification required: It has been brought to my attention that the foregoing statement could unfortunately be misunderstood. I thought readers of this blog would understand without my spelling it out. I should have continued and said "but" that is precisely NOT what our anticipated redemption will look like. The State of Israel as it is today is NOT the fulfillment of the promises, ergo, there is endless hope for a glorious future with a full and complete redemption for the entire world.