Friday, August 12, 2011

Crazy pills for all!

I don't know if there's something in the water or what, but it seems like people are having some trouble with understanding the obvious. First it was people claiming that two gay puppets should get married despite the fact that they're:

1- Not gay, and,

2- Puppets,

Now we have something even better from our blogging buddy Tzvi, reprinting a bit of his favorite Rabbi Meir Kahane's "incomparable insight," from a book collection titled "Beyond Words." When I read it, I must admit, I was at a loss for words, though perhaps not the way Tzvi meant.

Here's the thing: Kahane's essay is about the Western Wall. Specifically, about how Jews from around the world come to visit the wall, pour out all this emotion, and then leave. Fine, all well and good. There may even be a point here. But then things get really, really weird:
And, indeed, how does one say goodbye to the Wall? What does one say to It? Does one stand there and daven Mincha, pray the Afternoon service that says: “And may our eyes behold Your return to Zion . . . ” and then say to It: “Well, I suppose I have to go now. The business can’t shut down for more than three weeks. Take care of yourself and let’s hope that He returns soon . . . ?” Does one shake the Wall’s vegetation in lieu of a hand and does one kiss it — kiss it Goodbye? If one knows that the Shechina, the Divine Presence, never left the Wall, how does one say goodbye to Him? What does one, who is leaving Israel for the Exile that we are told finds him with no G-d and worshipping idolatry in “purity,” say to the Divine Presence at the Wall? 
...I also wonder what the Wall says and thinks as It watches the Jews who come to visit as casually as if they were taking a trip (as so many more do lately) to Puerto Rico and Spain and Aruba and Rome. I wonder what It thinks as It looks at the hordes of tourists who come to touch It, fondle It, kiss It, stare at It, memorialize It in their film (still and motion) — and then go back to the lands that they consider their real homes. I wonder what It thinks as It watches the Jews pray and sway and bay at It. I wonder what It thinks as It watches the ritual and idol worship that has been built about It by the American Jewish Congress, the Ministry of Tourism and the UJA. I wonder what It thinks as It watches the Orthodox Jews from New Frankfurt on the Heights and the majesty of Crown Heights and sees all the “religious Jews” on their three-week vacation before going back to idolatry. 
...If one comes to the Wall late, very late at night and listens carefully, very carefully, he can hear the Wall. It weeps softly to itself and says: “Woe unto my people for their humiliation of the Land . . . . ” And it seems to me that the Wall would prefer that those who say goodbye to it, would not bid it hello.
Ok, just to review:

1- We're talking about a wall.

2- Walls are not alive, nor sentient.

3- Even if we accept that God or the Shechina or the Divine presence are at the Wall, that does not mean the Wall can have hurt feelings, or any feelings, for that matter. See Numbers 1-2.

4- If Kahane is saying that Jewish reverence of the Wall verges on idolatry, maybe he shouldn't freaking anthropomorphize it.

5- Why are you trying to use a crying wall to guilt trip people? You don't think an actual person would be more effective? Seriously, was the disappointed Jewish grandmother trope already so played out in 1977 that you had to use a piece of architecture? Hey, someone should really share this idea with world leaders: they could paint a frowny face on the Parthenon, or a single tear running down Big Ben to let their rioters know they're hurting their countries' feelings. We could even commission an update to the Statue of Liberty shaking her finger so we'll all know we've been naughty.

Seriously, I don't understand how this is supposed to be moving. I'm more confused than anything.

No comments: