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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Nachamu Nachamu Ami...

Translation:  "Console, console my people..." *

These are the first words in the Haftara (the section of the Prophets that is read after the Torah) on the Shabbat immediately following Tisha B'Av (yesterday).

Tisha B'Av is the date on which many of our national tragedies have occured... chief among them the destruction of the first and second Temples that once stood in Jerusalem... and the subsequent exile of the Jews from their land.

In the wake of recalling such national traumas of destruction and exile, we now begin a period of consolation.

I would never compare the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem and subsequent exile of my nation to recent events.  But if ever a nation  - an entire nation - were in need of consolation... ours would be it.

May all who made the difficult decision to uproot part of a nation's dreams be consoled.

May all who endured the trauma of walking (or being carried) away from their life's dreams be consoled.

May all who were duty-bound to endure the trauma of escorting (or carrying) their brothers and sisters from Gaza be consoled.

May all of us who watched this traumatic chapter in our nation's history playing out before our eyes be consoled.

This is not a time for celebration.  Nobody won... and each of us has lost so much more than homes or land or ideology.

* "Console, console my people says your G-d..."
                                         Isaiah 40


Posted by David Bogner on August 21, 2005 | Permalink


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» Nachamu, Nachamu Ami... from Sollicitudo Rei Socialis
David Bogner (Treppenwitz) reminded me that yesterday was the Shabbat (Sabbath) following Tisha B'Av, the commemoration of many of the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish People, especially the destruction of both the first and the second Temple,... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 21, 2005 5:31:37 PM

» Perhaps the last disengagement post from Kesher Talk
The most original assessment of the Gaza situation I have seen yet. Just read the whole thing. Some thoughts for Shabbat Nachamu. More heartrending photos. A mysterious photo. A few Palestinians are allowing themselves to feel empathy, while continuing... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 24, 2005 9:08:09 PM


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Amen. From your mouth to G*d's ears, with a nation of eavesdroppers along the way.

Continued prayers for Elroi, whose name was passed on to my old congregation in the States pre-Shabbat.

Posted by: jennifer | Aug 21, 2005 3:12:08 PM

Jennifer... Thanks. You're a good egg.

Posted by: David | Aug 21, 2005 4:10:21 PM

amein amein amein selah va'ed.

now why would anyone want to be an egg?

Posted by: Tonny | Aug 21, 2005 4:20:46 PM

My father always says, "You're a good egg in the long run, but who likes long runny eggs?"

Posted by: Dave | Aug 21, 2005 5:17:47 PM

Yeeheyeh tov, or so I believe.

Posted by: Jack | Aug 21, 2005 7:09:03 PM

Hey David,

I'm not celebrating at all....BUT....what do we center/leftists do with the feeling that an enterprise that we felt was a mistake and deeply flawed from its conception (Jewish settlement in Gaza) is ending? Are we allowed to feel relieved?

Posted by: Allison | Aug 21, 2005 7:31:44 PM


Actually, I think we are all somewhat relieved at this point. Though the country is far from "through" the process of Disengagement, we have come through a situation which many feared would turn brother against brother in much more physical (and psychological) form. Certainly the extremists on both sides escalated tensions beyond necessary, but the vast majority of those involved in last weeks events seem to have tapped into pools of inner strength from which the rest of us should never need know.

My heart is equally torn for those whose dreams, homes, communities and businesses were lost as it is for those whose job it was to implement the decision to disengage from Gaza. With few exceptions, I am so proud of my fellow Israelis, and do not believe that any other country could have accomplished such a difficult task nearly as successfully.

I am both profoundly relieved and grateful that cooler heads prevailed and that the hateful rhetoric spewed from both sides did not reign victorious.

From my vantage point, David has never suggested that anyone apologize for a difference of opinion or deny their views, nor has he suggested that people refrain from expressing their emotions. The instances in which he has lost his cool over disengagement issues is where the rhetoric threatened to incite -- and he did it even-handedly with extremists on both sides of the issue. What he has repeated these past few weeks is that words like hate, enemy and insurgent (to name a few) should never be used casually, and especially not in dire times.

During times of political crisis, it is so easy to ignite a raging and uncontrollable fire. I find it beyond hypocritical that the very people who accuse the right of incitement seem to lack the ability to recognize it in themselves. Words are as damaging as any conventional weapon. Words inspired the lynchings, pogroms, and the inquisitions that checker history.

On all sides of the various issues are real human beings who deserve our compassion, our prayers, and our assistance. It saddens me when I open the paper and read that while the majority of "regular citizens" were originally empathetic towards the "good" settlers, that the actions of the extremists diminished their capacity to continue to care. Those extreme acts in no way negate the very real suffering of those who did their best to comply with an edict which negated their life's work.

It is my sincerest hope that those, who like you, feel that the Disengagement marks the end of an experiment gone awry will express their relief in the most sensitive way possible. Those dislocated by the Disengagement will have no choice but to move on. I hope that those who stand behind the decision to Disengage will look toward the future with a complete understanding of the human costs associated with such a decision.

My personal feeling is that we really do want the same things, just disagree on the best means of achieving those goals. I hope that with this painful chapter slowly moving behind us, that we will be able to move forward with mutual respect, even if mutual agreement and understanding continue to elude us.

Posted by: zahava | Aug 21, 2005 8:58:39 PM

Tonny... It's an old expression... much older than you are. :-)

Dave... Your father doesn't do the 'folksy wisdom' segment on NPR by any chance does he? :-)

Jack... More like 'this too shall pass'.

Allison... If you are asking my opinion (which is all I can offer), then I'll tell you how I feel. This past week I witnessed a few of the people in my office celebrating as the communities of Gush Katif were being evacuated... high fives... whooping... whistling... you'd have thought their favorite soccer club had won the world cup! Settlement in Gaza, while a dream to some, was not a national dream like, say, the reunification of Jerusalem was a national dream. But whether or not there was a consensus on the subject, the government of Israel had this essentially valueless land on which it encouraged its citizens to build their dreams amongst the sand dunes. Many of those who accepted the government's offer had already been evacuated from Sinai... and they rebuilt their lives in a place where the government said they could make a positive difference. I have given you this long preamble to my opinion because I want you to understand when I tell you that I am also somewhat relieved. I am relieved because for too long nobody wanted to face the fact that the settlement experiment in Gaza failed. After over 30 years they were only able to attract 9,000 people to share their dreams... so it was not surprising that the government would one day decide to use the land for its value as a bargaining chip rather than as an isolated outpost of Israel. So yes, I'm relieved that (please G-d) it looks as though we may get through this with our national soul scarred but intact. I'm relieved that the overwhelming majority of the actual residents left relatively peacefully and with dignity. And I'm relieved that the overwhelming majority of soldiers and the police sent to carry out the lawful orders of our government did so with so much respect and compassion that I wanted to hug them for being so human in the face of this national tragedy. But when I said that this was not a time for celebrating I meant exactly that. One doesn't celebrate the end of a dream... even if the dream was not your own. One doesn't celebrate people being removed under orders from their houses. And one certainly doesn't celebrate under such circumstances at the downfall of a political opponent's fortunes. The settlers are not the criminals that the government and the press (and much of the left) tried to make them out to be. They were pioneers, once upon a time, and as such were lauded by their government as the very best example of Zionists. Unfortunately the government found it expedient to pretend it had not helped plant the seeds of dreams among the sand dunes... and helped vilify the dreamers who, in retrospect, were silly enough to dream. I too am relieved, Allison. But my relief is not the relief of someone who has seen their soccer team win a narrow victory. My relief is that of a person who has just seen two cars narrowly avert a potentially fatal crash. If this is the relief you are feeling then yes, in my opinion you have every right to be relieved.

Zahava... Well said honey.

Posted by: David | Aug 21, 2005 10:31:21 PM

תפילת "מי שברך" נאמרה בשני בתי כנסת בעיר לידס וכולנו מתפללים לרפואה שלמה לאלרואי רפאל בן גליה

Not sure if you can read my Hebrew script, but just wanted to tell you thath the 2 synagogues in Leeds prayed for Elroie yesterday.

Posted by: savta yaffa | Aug 21, 2005 11:01:09 PM

Savta Yaffa... I can't thank you enough for passing the word to your community. I spoke with Elroi's father today and there was a small, but encouraging sign. Although he is still in a coma, he moved his leg several times and has stirred and slightly opened one eye. The doctor's do not see this as a sign that he is emerging from his coma... but for some reason (maybe one of the doctors out there can venture a guess) they think they may be able to remove him from the ventilator soon. This is not to minimize his condition... he is still considered very serious (albeit stable) and until the swelling of his brain and brain stem goes down they will have no idea of his long-term prognosis. Thank you (and everyone else) for your thoughts and prayers. Please don't stop. His full name again: Elroi Refa'el ben Galia Glynis

Posted by: David | Aug 21, 2005 11:20:13 PM

well said.

Posted by: Faye | Aug 21, 2005 11:22:17 PM

It sickens me to read of the people in your office who celebrated when Gush Katif was being evacuated. How inappropriate and disappointing.

How difficult this week has been. I am looking cautiously to the future with hope.

Continued thoughts and prayers for Elroi ben Galia Glynis. Very glad to hear that there was an encouraging sign, however small. May this be the first of many encouraging signs on his road to a full recovery.

Posted by: Stacey | Aug 21, 2005 11:29:22 PM

Faye... Thank you.

Stacey... I have come to realize that for some people these struggles are little different from a soccer match. Winning is all important. What can you do? By the way... make sure to include the extra name they gave him this past week:

Elroi Refa'el ben Galia Glynis

Posted by: David | Aug 21, 2005 11:36:12 PM

It is so disturbing to me that winning could be so important to some. I have been very happy to read blogs and comments of many others, though, who supported the Disengagment yet were compassionate toward those who suffered the upheaval of their lives.

I am sorry I missed Elroi's new name. (I cut and pasted it, so don't know how I missed it).

I have added him to my shul's misheberach list, so prayers are now being made for his return to health from 300 families in the Dallas area.

Posted by: Stacey | Aug 22, 2005 12:28:57 AM

Celebration??? Who could even think of celebrating after watching the heartbreaking images on TV or worse yet, in real life?

I don't know whether disengagement was a right thin or a wrong thing; but I do know that I would not wish the kind of duty IDF soldier carried out so gallantly on anyone in the world. : (

Posted by: Irina | Aug 22, 2005 1:09:08 AM

You write beautifully.

Posted by: Jew Speak | Aug 22, 2005 1:44:02 AM

My first response to this was Amen. I guess that it wasn't terribly original. What a nice post.

Posted by: JC | Aug 22, 2005 3:57:35 AM

Stacey... Yes, for some winning isn't just the most important thing... it is the only thing. Watching the mechanics of Israeli politics at work has been a sobering experience for me. I fear that a close friend's words might be true in the end: "Why are you worrying about a civil war? The civil war has been going on for some time now... don't you know?"

Irina... There was no good side of that to be on.

Jew Speak... OK, you only get to make me blush once before you get banned... and now you've used up your turn. Thanks. :-)

JC... Don't worry, originality isn't my strong suit either. :-)

Posted by: David | Aug 22, 2005 8:47:25 AM

Jack... More like 'this too shall pass'.

Just like the Sox winning the series. ;)

Posted by: Jack | Aug 22, 2005 9:42:18 AM

Thank you for writing, and continuing to write, with such passion and dignity about your view from Efrat of the disengagement, and of different responses from within Israel of it. I share your sadness and concern at the degree of sinat chinam we are seeing. I see your contributions as part of the ahavat chinam that is so much needed. I've circulated the two minyanim in London that prayed for Elroi Rafael last week to renew their prayers for him this week. Please keep us posted on his progress, and again please tell his parents we are thinking of them as well as him.

Posted by: Judy | Aug 22, 2005 9:46:19 AM

Just to confirm that the correct full name of Elroie was used in prayer.

Posted by: savta yaffa | Aug 22, 2005 11:05:20 AM

console console my people says your g-d

you certainly have the poetic impulse alive and kicking in you.
beautiful lines.i have never read them before.


Posted by: richard | Aug 22, 2005 12:09:09 PM

Regarding the people whooping and exchanging high-fives: I find it appalling that anyone would celebrate any aspect of this tragedy. It's one thing if such rejoicing takes place in the privacy of one's own home, but it's very distressing to imagine it going on at a workplace. I would have liked to ask the people who were whooping and exchanging high fives: Excuse me, but would you mind explaining exactly what you are celebrating?

Maybe this is stretching things a bit -- or a lot -- but perhaps they were reservists who were delighted that they would not have to return to Gaza? That's the only thing I can think of that anyone might possibly celebrate in all of this. Any other reason is just too awful to contemplate.

Posted by: Rahel | Aug 22, 2005 2:37:23 PM

Jack... Hold on a sec, I need to go check the standings............ OK, I'm back with some bad news. My Red Sox handed your team their proverbial ass last night and leads them in the standings as well. Unless you are looking to up the ante on our little wager I'd pipe down if I were you! :-)

Judy... I saw your emails and I am very touched. I have continued to print out every mention that people make about keeping Elroi Refa'el in their thoughts and prayers, and have written approximately where the person lives so that his parents can see tangible evidence that they are not at all alone in this vigil. Thank you so much for passing along his name and I will of course keep you informed of any developments.

Savta Yaffa... Thanks for the confirmation. :-)

Richard... If you are referring to "console, console..." I hope you realize I didn't write that! :-) I'm good, but not that good! :-)

Rahel... I wish I could tell you that there was even a small chance that the scenario you described was true. No... these people are the sort who were angry at the left for not coming up with a color scheme sooner because they were really fired up to 'fly their team colors' (their words, not mine). This was about winning for them, and all victories deserve a celebration.

Posted by: David | Aug 22, 2005 4:05:28 PM

Amen! Beautifully put.

Posted by: Essie | Aug 22, 2005 4:39:48 PM

Jack... Hold on a sec, I need to go check the standings............ OK, I'm back with some bad news. My Red Sox handed your team their proverbial ass last night and leads them in the standings as well. Unless you are looking to up the ante on our little wager I'd pipe down if I were you! :-)


They split a four game series and have a narrow lead in the standings that has been exchanged all season long.

71-51 to 71-53 (>a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/standings?type=expanded">click here

Not looking to up the ante, but just pointing out that the Sox Series win was a fluke that will not be repeated. I wouldn't want to be disappointed when the Yankees walk over them and the Angel cruise by both. :D

Posted by: Jack | Aug 22, 2005 4:49:22 PM

That was a very touching post. My thoughts and prayers go out to those involved in this situation. You are correct to say that no one wins. May the healing begin soon.

Posted by: The Complimenting Commenter | Aug 22, 2005 10:19:54 PM

hi david

i meant it takes a poetic impulse to recognise the great poetry in these words of isaiah

i wish you well

Posted by: richard | Aug 23, 2005 12:53:04 AM

Caustic soda, it was caustic soda that was thrown at the policemen and soldiers. Console my people, for it comes from within and one madman is just like another madman...

Posted by: Lioness | Aug 23, 2005 6:44:28 AM

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