Last night, after a full night at the Hazon David Synagogue, I was unsure as to whether I should spend another night there. We knew it was only a matter of time until the troops showed up to evict us and obliterate the synagogue, but the exact time and date were still a question mark. I decided to sleep at home.
However, the road between Hebron and Kiryat Arba had been closed, with the synagogue site being blocked off by an army jeep, parked horizontally in the middle of the street. They wouldn’t even let the ambulance through. So, I walked a couple of minutes to the site and arrived just in time to witness the huge army D9 bulldozer start to demolish the tent which housed the synagogue.
A while later, when the gates to Kiryat Arba were opened, and others from Hebron were able to reach the site, everyone immediately started ‘rebuilding’ the synagogue. Rocks which had formed the foundation of the structure were gathered and piled one on top of the other, the beginnings of a low wall, encompassing the area of the synagogue. This was too much for the security forces, which again went to work, attempting to finish what they had started. The goal: destroy the wall!
As of this writing, at about 4:00 in the afternoon, the atmosphere has somewhat relaxed. The police know that they are not going to be able to evict everyone – people will just keep coming back, while the Hebron-Kiryat Arba residents know that they will not be able to totally restore the synagogue today, immediately. So, for the time being, everyone is sitting around, waiting to see what the ‘other side’ plans to do.
Despite the horror of today’s actions, it is incumbent upon us to realize what is actually happening. Only hours ago the IDF Chief of Staff announced that other ‘illegal outposts’ would be uprooted. The army is ready to “carry out what it’s required to do.” What does this mean?
These are the ones that really bother me. It is written, that while Moses was still on Mt. Sinai, after having received the Ten Commandments, the Jews far below began worshiping a golden calf. G-d ordered Moses to leave the mount and deal with the people. As Moses reached the bottom of Mt Sinai, he became furious. Not so much due to the fact that the people had built a golden calf and were using it for idol worship. Rather, because there were those who were joyously singing and dancing around the calf. To commit such a crime, that is one thing, but to be happy about it – that is unthinkable. Some commentators explain that this is the reason why Moses threw down and broke the first tablets of the law, because of the merriment expressed by some of the people.
Such it is here too. The legitimacy of this morning’s actions might be debated. It is a complicated political issue, to which there are different opinions. But to be happy about it? That is, in my opinion, equivalent to dancing around the golden calf. But in this case, there may be many more than one calf. There may be many golden calves. And if there are those who enjoy forcibly evicting people from their homes, we are in a very sad state. I hope and pray that the golden calves will be quickly melted down, and that all people will recognize the right of the Jewish people to their land – to Eretz Yisrael – to ALL of Eretz Yisrael. Then we will all have reason to be joyous – singing and dancing together, not around a golden calf, but in honor of our golden G-d-given land.