Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Senator Diane Feinstein & This Week's Megillah
In a Sunday interview with CNN's "State of the Union," Senator Diane Feinstein was asked her thoughts of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Specifically, did she "as a Jew and as a Democratic Senator" consider him as her "emissary," Netanyahu's self-described role of the Jewish people, in his address to Congress.
"It was a rather arrogant statement," she responded. This is her prerogative and choice. What she further opined "candidly," - "I think that arrogance does not befit Israel," was surely not.
This week's Megillah does not miss naming each one of its characters. All 14 chamberlains and royal
advisors are listed in rapid succession; Mehuman, Bizzetha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, Carcas, Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memuchan.
The pace slows as the next main character is introduced; "There was a Jewish man in Shushan the Capital whose name was Mordechai, son of Yair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjamanite." Mordechai's ancestry
is certainly of interest. Why, though, the dramatic introduction? Was there a thought that Mordechai was anything but a Jew? Furthermore, what relevance does his location, the Capital of Shushan, have to the fact that he was a Jew and that his name is Mordechai?
Senator Feinstein, asked how she felt as a Jew in the Capital, answered; "I think that arrogance does not
befit Israel." She is representative of a Jewry who innocently, but hurtfully, has come to confuse arrogance with pride. Arrogance is unbecoming whether one is a Jew or not. Justified self-pride, deeply rooted and anchored in an unwavering moral compass driven by inalterable truths is, in fact, a badge of distinguished honor.
The Senator went on to articulate a sub-conscious self-depreciation owned, woefully, by so many fellow Jews. "Israel needs to be protected. Israel needs to learn ways to live in peace, side by side with the Palestinians." She further insinuated that Israel must find ways to "stop the bitterness" it continues to
create by its stubborn positions on the world stage.
Many Jews do consider Benjamin Netanyahu, in this particular journey to the US Congress, as their
personal emissary. He declared today at AIPAC; "the time when we remain passive in the face of threats
to annihilate us, is over!" For 2000 years, we were stateless, we were voiceless, we were defenseless
and powerless. That time is over! We now have a voice and we must use it.
For too long, the Hamans of history have dictated to us who we are, what we deserve and when. Where
we are allowed to live and where we are prohibited to go.
Is it not the height of arrogance to scold a tiny country of Jews, situated in the most violently Anti-Semitic region of the world for using its small, lonely voice to appeal for help against the threat of being annihilated?
Is it not the height of arrogance, if not callous, to lecture this miracle of a democracy embedded in a hotbed of ruthless killers, as to our knowing better than they how to ensure their own safety?
The Megillah tells us that Mordechai, first and foremost was a proud Jew. Not only proud of his Judaism in
the Jewish ghetto and in his temple, rather he was proud as a Jew in Shushan - the Capital. In fact he shined as "The Jew" in a city filled with many other named officials of distinction.
Truths need to be defended. Principles won. Enemies defeated. Respect earned and dignity achieved. Mordechai of the Megillah showed us the way.
The Prime Minister faced down unprecedented pressures from within and from afar, yet remained
unbowed as the self described emissary of The Jewish people to march up to the podium of our Capital,
and display to the world not any measure or scintilla of arrogance. Rather, his people's 2000 year old,
G-dly orchestrated badge of genuine honor.
Let us pray that his voice of justice, truth, freedom and G-dly light - be heard.