Friday, May 31, 2013

Biblical Record, Excerpt, Bamidbar 13-14

From the official biblical record, as recorded by a duly appointed stenographer, Bamidbar 13-14


Gen. Moshe Rabeinu: Gentlemen, what happened?  I’ve been hearing rumors that it didn’t go well.

Maj. Shaphat Ben-Chori: Sir, it’s all there in our report. The land is beautiful, but the cities are heavily fortified. As you can see from the grapes we brought back, everything grows big, and that includes the people. We saw a group of men, they must have been thirty feet tall! I recommend we exercise extreme caution.

Lt. Calev Ben-Yefunah: We can do it Sir! Give me a platoon, I’ll clear out the whole country!

Maj. Ben-Chori: I’m afraid that’s not realistic, Sir. We’re going to need artillery to knock out the city defenses and close-air support to deal with the giants. Even then, I’d say odds are they’ll crush us like a bug. Anakite armor could roll over us like a man stepping on a grasshopper.

Capt. Gadi Ben-Susi:  We may have to abort the entire operation, head back to Egypt.

Lt. Yeshoshau Ben-Nun: General, Sir, with all due respect I think that my superiors are overstating the danger. The land is great, I think it’s well worth the risk.

Lt. Ben-Yefunah: Give me a squad, Sir, and I’ll take their capitol by nightfall!

Gen. Rabeinu: That’s hardly realistic…

Lt. Ben-Yefunah: Give me permission, Sir, and I’ll conquer the whole land by myself. Just say the word!

Maj. Ben-Chori: Lt., have you been drinking?

Lt. Ben-Yefunah: I’ll rip them apart with my bare hands! I don’t need air support! The President said we could do it, and I believe in him! Starts singing patriotic song.

Gen. Rabeinu: Sgt., please remove the Lt. and take him to the stockade.

Lt. Ben-Yefunah is removed from the room by MPs. The phone rings.

Gen. Rabeinu: Yes Mr. President?

President Gd: What does the recon team report?

Gen. Rabeinu: They say we can expect heavy opposition, and victory is in serious doubt. We may have to abort the whole mission.

President Gd: WHAT?! After everything I’ve done for this nation, they don’t think I can lead us to victory? Why, I ought to have them lined up against a wall and shot! In fact, I ought to have all defeatists shot! I’ll notify the secret police. How dare anyone doubt me!

Gen. Rabeinu: Sir, don’t you think that’s a bit extreme? What will the Egyptians think? They saw you lead us out of  Egypt and they know that you’re administration is still in power. They’ll say that you’re executing people because you can’t lead us to victory, and you’re hoping that people will be too scared to call you on it.

President Gd: Oh, fine. I won’t have the recon team executed. But I’m not going to help. Fat chance you have of winning without me!

Editors note: An assault was attempted the next day, but was pushed back by elements of the Caanani and Amaleki Defense Forces. This may have be due to the inability and/or unwillingness of Gen. Rabeinu to oversee the operation, as he felt his first loyalty was to the President. Or it may simply be that the local defense was too formidable for the Israelite forces, as the recon report suggested it would be.  Another attempt wouldn’t be made for an entire generation.

Yated Endorses Palestinian Policy

In this week’s Yated, the editor bemoans the insufficient respect accorded to the Gedolim by their political opponents. He writes, “…how dare they attack the Torah, its leaders and its followers with wide smiles on their faces. How do they pontificate in all varieties of media, promoting their own political futures by bashing shomrei Torah umitzvos? “ and says that it doesn’t matter if accusations are true, any criticism of the Gedolim is wrong, “The complaint against [Miriam] was not that she spoke untruths and not that she fabricated a scandal about Moshe, but, rather, that she lacked the requisite humility, reverence and awe when discussing the gadol hador, the k’dosh Hashem, theav hanevi’im.”

The notion that someone should be immune from criticism because of their position is perverse and dangerous. If anything, those in positions of power are the ones who we need to be the most critical of, as mistakes they make have the potential for catastrophic consequences.

What’s really interesting, though, is that apparently the Palestinian government agrees with the Yated that one must never be disrespectful of one’s leaders.

According to this article,a 26year-old Palestinian was sentenced to a year in prison for posting a picture of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with a humorous caption. He was sentenced for “cursing the president,” which apparently is illegal in Palestine.

The thing is, he didn’t “curse” the president, he was merely insufficiently respectful.

This is exactly the sort of thing advocated in the editorial. Not prison per se, but the attitude that making light of a leader is a grave offense. Apparently Israel’s opponents are, at least in this area, morally refined, while the non-Chareidi Israelis are disrespectful cretins. Either that, or enforcing unquestioning respect of leaders is an element of all repressive societies, and the Yated is just doing its part to shape public opinion and enforce unquestioning respect.