There is a war being waged right now in Eretz Yisrael and Medinat Yisrael. It is a very ugly and tragic war. It’s a war that is inflicting many casualties and minimally, injuring us all. It’s a war that is holding our nation hostage. I, like so many Israelis, am both a perpetrator and POW of this war; my experiences are first hand.
I had wanted to leave names out but I don’t think that the message will be powerful enough if I do.
“.ההחלטה לפרוש מהחיים הפוליטיים אינה שלו, אלא של הציבור שמאס בו והקיא אותו מתוכו”
MK Betzalel Smotrich said the following about PM Naftali Bennet’s decision to leave politics, “The decision to leave political life is not his, rather, its the public’s (decision) that is repelled by him and vomited him out.”
Friends, here you have a leader – and he is one among many leaders – who is both a perpetrator and prisoner of this horrible war. It is embarrassing for any Jew to ever speak like this under any circumstances. (I specifically chose Smotrich because I wanted to use someone that represents my political interests.)
Deep seeded hatred being expressed from one politician to another is an outward sign of this war and unfortunately we hear and see it all the time from Israeli politicians across the board.
Other signs include:
Five elections in three years, FIVE ELECTIONS (This is dysfunctional beyond belief.)
A Knesset which has turned into a chaotic forum comprised of verbally violent individuals. (Maybe the constant elections do the nation a favor that embarrassing Knesset sessions are minimized to the greatest extent possible.)
Jewish families quarreling and fighting over the political stand-still leading to more corruptive negativity and causing division and schism in families.
What’s the war we are talking about?
Before I do my best to describe the war, and it will not be easy, let us first clarify that the war is not between right wing vs. left wing, it is not between Yes Bibi and No Bibi, it is not between secular and religious, and it is not between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The toll of this war is much heavier than any of those other clashes and conflicts.
The Jewish People in Israel are at war with the Yetzer Hara. What is the nature of this “evil drive”?
Am Yisrael, having received the Torah was created to bring light to a very dark world, to be a “Light for Nations.” Our outlook is meant to be infused with goodness and an עין טובה – a positive eye. We are meant to lovingly respect fellow human beings and judge each person favorably as a reflection of our cherished values. While the world is vastly complicated, our essential commitment to positivity and an eyin tova must always remain intact. This has been one of the deep secrets of our eternity.
This “evil drive” which is engaged at war with us is overtaking our society. Politicians (who are certainly not leaders) are engaged in constant power and ego battles. The flow of negativity that we see and hear from elected officials is constant. We have almost arrived to the pre-flood low point, where the Torah describes that generation as being, “only evil all day” (Bereshit 6:5). When evil, negativity and an eyil rah (negative eye) prevail to the extent we are seeing, it creates utter dysfunction and nothing can be accomplished. And the proof is self evident – nothing is being accomplished!
As hard as this is to admit, let us not forget for a second, that our leaders are simply a mirror image of ourselves. They are our representatives.
What’s the solution to this painful situation?
We must temporarily step away. If we continue at the pace we are at now, the yetzer hara will consume us in this war. We must now find a way to break the cycle, pull away and realign our focus.
The mind and the heart must be reinfused with an eyin tova, seeing goodness. We must work toward seeing the goodness in our fellow brothers and sisters, who might be on the opposite side of the political/religious spectrum, but either way deserve common decency and respect. Living in Eretz Yisrael and partnering with God to build Medinat Yisrael is a blessing and must be known and expressed explicitly and implicitly at all times.
What makes good Jewish leaders? Jewish leadership means seeing reality with a positive eye and finding the essential good in others. I call on all Israeli politicians to wash their brains and relearn this essential principal.
As this horrible war in Israel ensues with yet another election period, let us all pull away from the corrosive battle ground and put our valuable energy into that which truly builds – the eyin tova.