God chooses Israel amidst its helplessness, but he still requires obedience: “If you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to me.” Israel is chosen, but must practice obedience to play out its part in the divine story. And what is that part? At the Sea, Israel saw what God did to their oppressors (negatively) and to them (positively), but there was still more—they were commissioned to be a source of blessing to all the earth. The Lord says, “All the earth is mine. And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
Israel’s deliverance from Egypt was ultimately for the benefit of all the nations, that they might know that the God of Israel is the one true and living God. Anti-Semitism, then, proves to be anti-God as well as anti-Jewish. The grandeur of God’s purposes for the Jewish people provokes opposition among the other peoples. Beyond that, anti-Semites, whether they’re aware of it or not, are denying that God has the right to plan, to choose, and to have his own design for human history. Anti-Semitic deeds are specific—the murder of four Jews in the Paris Kosher supermarket, the endless hate rhetoric against Israel, the twisted reporting of much current media—but the opposite of anti-Semitism is very broad: a plan for blessing for the whole human race. Which the anti-Semites apparently just cannot stand.
Parashat Yitro, Exodus 18:1–20:23
by Rabbi Russ Resnik
are those within the ultra-Orthodox Community about whom we are Critical anti-Everyone Else???
We Need a Term of Art…
Editorial: LostMessiah, June 10, 2016
We have written ad-nauseum about the strategic use of the term anti-Semite by many within the ultra-Orthodox Jewish world each time something negative or highly critical is said, written or broadcast. We have questioned the dilution of that term “anti-Semite” by its over-use.
What we have not until now really addressed is the very fact that many within the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community are far more anti-Everyone else, than those of us who voice our opinions and shed light on the ills are anti-Semitic.
In business there are mergers and reverse-mergers. There are stock splits and reverse stock splits. There are buys and there are sells. Why can’t we have a word that equals anti-Semite but refers to anti-non-religious Jews and anti-everyone else at the same time?
You see, for those of us who write these blogs, who express our opinions, who voice our condemnation of the poor behavior of Jews, who fear not being called anti-Semitic but rather the downfall of all of Judaism at the hand of those we criticize, such a word would alter the linguistic universe.
Contrary to the fallback position of the ultra-Orthodox community, that those who criticize Jews because of their behavior are either anti-Semites or self-hating Jews, we believe ourselves to be writing for the benefit of all Jews and voicing our thoughts and criticisms for all of humanity alike.
We should create a single word or term of art that encompasses the phobic pathos of the ultra-Orthodox community of the outside world. We should define in a single expression the insularity, the anti-non-Jew belief system, the Rabbinic decrees of excommunication, the expansionism and blockbusting, the bigotry and hatred and the fear of “otherness” shared by many within the ultra-Orthodox community.
Such word would need to contemplate all of the characteristics of the term anti-Semite. It would be required to embrace the “fear” of those who are different and the pointed hatred and bigotry against those Jews who practice Judaism differently or even don’t observe its laws it all. The word would need to be sharp and caustic so as to convey the true meaning of anti-Semite.
Then, those of us who write and speak, who pray or not, Jew and non-Jew alike who are critical and defiant, outspoken and scrutinizing, who are passionate about shedding light on the poor behavior and ill-gotten gains of our fellow Jews whether in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish world or not would be obligated to ponder how to use our newly created word sparingly.
We would be obliged to hold that word sacred. We would have to restrain ourselves so as not to overuse it, dilute it and dull its sharpness.
Perhaps those who are so quick to throw out the anti-Semite card would stop and think about its antithesis.