August 30, 2014

Erase Me Not

So in the war between good and evil, the battlefield has become a war of words as much as that of guns and bombs. 

If you can't exterminate a people physically, then why not try to do it historically? 

With despots like former Iranian president Ahmadinejad as a exemplar for Holocaust denial, history revisionists now make fair game of rewriting the past, so that it plays their way.

How convenient--if you don't like how something turns out, simply change it in the history books so it never even happened. 

I was surprised recently to see how far this method of verbal warfare has gone, when I happened to look up some information online about the Jewish Exodus from slavery in Egypt and trek to the Promised Land of Israel, only to find that in Wikipedia, this has now been deemed a "Charter Myth."

I wondered how both the thousands year old Jewish Torah and the Christian Old Testament that records my people's hundreds of years of slavery and redemption in the Biblical book of Exodus was now just recorded in the most prominent online encyclopedia on the web as a false belief!

Ah, maybe those pyramids in Giza just showed up one day--and my people didn't build them with straw, mortar, and dead Jewish slave bodies.

Forget about how convenient calling this a myth is to the terrorists who don't want to acknowledge that the Land of Israel was given by G-d to the Jewish people and instead want to believe in Jihad against all "infidels."

My daughter asked me on a recent walk why they hate us? 

And I answered and said, if another people--i.e. the existence of the Jews and their homeland, Israel--is a refutation of their hate-filled "religious" beliefs, then maybe we can understand why they want to get rid of us, the inconvenient evidence.

This same story is playing out in the fighting between Israel and Hamas, where despite incredible destruction to Hamas in Gaza, they are claiming victory on social media. 

The Jewish people are small in numbers, and if millions of religious militants wants to write us off in the history books and on the web, they can certainly try. 

But what Jewish people do that is smarter than trying to erase something bad from history is that we force ourselves to remember it--to learn lessons from it and become better despite what happened. 

That is why we celebrate Passover to remember the Exodus from many thousands of years ago. The same with Yom Hashoah to memorialize the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust, and Tisha B'Av to remember the destruction of the two Jewish temples. 

Even we the commandment to blot of the remembrance of the evil that Amalek did in attacking the our infirm and elderly among us in the dessert in Exodus, we remember this annually!

The Jews are a people of the book--we remember, we study, we learn, we grow. 

In the Bible, there are plenty of people that did bad things, but we would never think to rewrite it or any portion of it. It is sacred and most valuable to learn from--the good and the bad. 

While damning the memory of someone bad is not uncommon among all cultures, it is really more a remembrance of what they did bad, rather than forgetting they ever did it. 

It is far more courageous to remember history and learn from it, then try fledglingly to rewrite the parts that you don't like or are inconvenient to you. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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