Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Six Weeks on the "W"

The good news is, my shrinking continues...

I briefly dipped down to below 220 lbs. After a month and a half, I have thus far lost 15 pounds, and am only five pounds away from my goal. THe strange thing is, I've been going to weddings, gorging myself on Shabbat, and going out a lot, so it's not like I've really earned the last few pounds.

In other news, I stepped outside this morning to find this:

Jerusalem got a whole lotta snow dumped on her this morning. It looked like a blizzard out there. Unfortunately, it was immediately followed by rain, which washed away most of the snow, so now we're left with a muddy slush. Still, this California guy is never going to get over the fact that freezing white stuff falls from the sky here.

In relation to my previous post, my book review of "The Accidental Empire," Norman F left a very well-written comment to the post, which I will re-publish below. My own post was more a point by point refutation of author Gorenberg's pseudo-ethical, often myopic, condemnation of Israel's settlement policy. Norman's response sees more of the forest instead of the trees, tying Israel's settlement drive to the ancient desire of the Jewish people to live in their own home, a drive which predates written history and has overcome seemingly impossible barriers. Gorenberg's historical blindness and spiritual numbness to the existance of the Jewish homing instinct leaves a gaping hole in his book which I did not address. Take it away Norman:

I enjoyed your book review. In a sense, Israel's creation was without a plan. The country grew helter skelter, in fits and starts. Everything was just thrown up all over the country and gradually the Yishuv took root and the same process resulted in the development of what might be termed the New Yishuv in the rest of the Land Of Israel after the Six War.

Yet Gershom Gorenberg, I think misses the divine import behind Israel's birth and explosive growth. The land seems to give the Jewish people strength just much as by their deeds they renew and revive it. Its beauty blooms both by human effort and divine blessing.This is a concept quite alien to the Arab Muslim and Western secular mind. In a way as it were, while Israel is a part of history, Israel is also beyond history. The very idea of the Jewish people clinging stubbornly to a small land in a region filled with millions hostile to their very presence, filled with a depth of violent bloodthirsty hatred that leaves one gasping, should be impossible. Yet somehow, they manage to grow and the same time to thrive.

I feel Gershom Gorenberg's book misses this completely. The settlements - or revanants if we want to employ a less loaded term - came about not out of this or that secular policy but because they embody as it were, the naturalness of Jewish life in Israel, that organically grows out of the country's being. More to the point, that naturalness explains why much of the debate about where Jews live - and where they should live - misses the point.

It is rooted in the spirit of the Jewish people and transcends a particular space and claims all of time and the Galut was merely a series of hiccups, not a decisive break in the flow of Jewish history. That is is perhaps the real untold story about the remarkable rebirth of the Jewish people's sovereignty in their own land in our lifetime.

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