Quotes Tagged "judaism"
On Hijacking of Judaism: My sad story of shock and awe, Began three thousands years ago, When calf worship was high and low, As Ben Nebat, the King of Israel, Took off hijacking Judaism, Which is still hijacked by Zionism, But who in his right mind: Could have ever been imagined? That Ben Nebat's dreadful mission, Was the beginning of a long tradition, Of brutal hijackers with ambition, One hijacker following another; Kingdoms competing with each other, Till they left the promised land, To a never-never land, Where Exodus is open-ended, And the true Torah is suspended, As the Sinai Ark of the Covenant, Has for long been apprehended, And the only true word of God, With no clue, or alibi. Is nowhere to be found; Like a pie in the sky
And finally On All Hijackings of Religion. That was my sad story, Of three brethren kings, Hijackers of the mind, Who obviously need no wings, Exploiters of religion, Three monarchs with ambition. But for now my all-time brothers, And sisters reading my sad story, These hijackers have had their druthers, And some even celebrated their glory; But don't ye grieve or be uptight. So long as we all this time get it right; We must reach out and pull one another, So we all can make it through a very long night, Rising above the abyss of dirt and mud, Remembering that with every daybreak, There is a new beginning with God.
As a convinced atheist, I ought to agree with Voltaire that Judaism is not just one more religion, but in its way the root of religious evil. Without the stern, joyless rabbis and their 613 dour prohibitions, we might have avoided the whole nightmare of the Old Testament, and the brutal, crude wrenching of that into prophecy-derived Christianity, and the later plagiarism and mutation of Judaism and Christianity into the various rival forms of Islam. Much of the time, I do concur with Voltaire, but not without acknowledging that Judaism is dialectical. There is, after all, a specifically Jewish version of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, with a specifically Jewish name—the Haskalah—for itself. The term derives from the word for 'mind' or 'intellect,' and it is naturally associated with ethics rather than rituals, life rather than prohibitions, and assimilation over 'exile' or 'return.' It's everlastingly linked to the name of the great German teacher Moses Mendelssohn, one of those conspicuous Jewish hunchbacks who so upset and embarrassed Isaiah Berlin. (The other way to upset or embarrass Berlin, I found, was to mention that he himself was a cousin of Menachem Schneerson, the 'messianic' Lubavitcher rebbe.) However, even pre-enlightenment Judaism forces its adherents to study and think, it reluctantly teaches them what others think, and it may even teach them how to think also.
One of the questions asked by al-Balkhi, and often repeated to this day, is this: Why do the children of Israel continue to suffer? My grandmother Dodo thought it was because the goyim were jealous. The seder for Passover (which is a shame-faced simulacrum of a Hellenic question-and-answer session, even including the wine) tells the children that it's one of those things that happens to every Jewish generation. After the Shoah or Endlösung or Holocaust, many rabbis tried to tell the survivors that the immolation had been a punishment for 'exile,' or for insufficient attention to the Covenant. This explanation was something of a flop with those whose parents or children had been the raw material for the 'proof,' so for a time the professional interpreters of god's will went decently quiet. This interval of ambivalence lasted until the war of 1967, when it was announced that the divine purpose could be discerned after all. How wrong, how foolish, to have announced its discovery prematurely! The exile and the Shoah could now both be understood, as part of a heavenly if somewhat roundabout scheme to recover the Western Wall in Jerusalem and other pieces of biblically mandated real estate. I regard it as a matter of self-respect to spit in public on rationalizations of this kind. (They are almost as repellent, in their combination of arrogance, masochism, and affected false modesty, as Edith Stein's 'offer' of her life to expiate the regrettable unbelief in Jesus of her former fellow Jews.) The sage Jews are those who have put religion behind them and become in so many societies the leaven of the secular and the atheist.