When a Jewish man puts a ring on the index finger of his betrothed, he tells her the following: “You are hereby sanctified to me according to the laws of Moses and Israel”. Israel (Jacob) was the guy who gave Jews their genes and firmly affixed us in the Lord’s blessing. Moses was the guy who led us from bondage to freedom and secured for us the Lord’s law, the Torah. But who were these two men really? How did they come by their Blessing and their leadership? Well, as to Jacob, he did so by stealing. In Moses’ case, it was murder.
Jacob famously (notoriously?) stole the firstborn status, an extremely valuable commodity because it entitled one to the entire estate of his father, from his brother Esau by praying upon his father Isaac’s old age. Bribing Isaac with his favorite dish, making use of his dim eyesight in the shaded tent, tying a kid’s pelt to his forearm to appear hirsute like Esau his older brother, he stole Esau’s most valuable possession.
Moses, a prince of Egypt who grew up (like Trump?) never wanting for anything, only became God’s greatest prophet because he committed murder, in other words, broke one of the Ten Commandments. Killing is not forbidden in Judaism. Judicial killing by the state, killing in the defense of oneself or one country is certainly allowed. But murder is not. And what Moses did was murder. Upon seeing an Egyptian overseer striking a Hebrew, Moses’s Hebrew genes acted up and in a fit of righteous rage, he murdered the Egyptian. As a prince, he could have commanded him to stop. He could have, possibly, had him tried for the abuse of his power. But he did no such thing. He murdered the guy, which led to his exile from Egypt, the burning bush, and Mount Sinai. It could well be said, that God looked with favor upon Jacob and Moses not in spite of their stealing and murdering, but precisely because of them.
Since then, it could be argued that the Jewish nation saw only three more such transformative leaders, people who clearly enjoyed the Lord’s Blessing. First came David, who saved Israel from certain extinction at the hands of the Philistines and established it as a great temporal power (or at least great enough). The word David means “beloved” in Hebrew, and David certainly lived up to it, being the unquestionable beloved of God Himself. As the famous literary critic Harold Bloom has noted, God was so infatuated with David, that He forgave him nearly all of his many shortcomings, including starting a civil war to depose the incumbent king Saul, philandering, and sending his best friend Uriah to die in a useless battle so he could bed his wife Bathsheba. What I would say, however, is that God loved David not in spite of his many crimes and his irascible personality, but precisely because of them. The Almighty loves rebels and rule breakers, as long as they do it for the right cause. This is why He loved George Washington who committed treason against the British Crown, which he swore upon his honor to defend.
The other two transformative Jewish leaders lived in modern times, one yet living today. David (appropriately named) Green (later known as Ben-Gurion) gave the order to the embryonic Israeli Defense Forces to fire upon the ship Altelena, which was at anchor right off the Tel Aviv shoreline. The interesting part was that Altelena was crewed entirely by Jews and had onboard a shipment of arms destined for other Jews. The problem was that these recipients belonged to a separate Jewish faction. Knowing that just days earlier established State of Israel could not fight the Arabs while not completely united under his command, Ben-Gurion gave the order to fire. Later in the war, Ben-Gurion ruthlessly attacked the Arabs, indiscriminately shelling and firing upon whomever among them he thought needed to die or be made to flee and that is how, at an almost unbearable cost, the first independent Jewish polity was born after almost exactly two millennia.
Finally today, Benjamin Netanyahu has managed to transform Israel from a socialist state with a backward economy forever stalking the corridors of the Capitol and the White House for handouts into a major regional superpower that is a net arms exporter and which designs and produces almost every single critical hardware and software component that is built into everything from smartphones to Chinese fighter jets. And yet Netanyahu is a guy who has not always been faithful to his wife and who likes, once in a while, to keep expensive gifts given to him by his many rich admirers. He milked the blessed memory of his hero brother Jonathan, the killed in action commander of the famous Entebbe raid for all it was worth politically, and he has been conducting ruthless scorched-earth warfare in the always overboiling stewpot of Israeli politics for over three decades. Like his good friend Donald Trump, Netanyahu whines and complains, on Twitter and elsewhere, about how unfair life is and how dirty his many enemies are. Unlike Trump, he all the while beats them at their own game, fighting even dirtier than they can possibly imagine, always outflanking them, always winning against what would seem, to anyone else, impossible odds.
It is a fairy tale we like to tell ourselves that we like leaders who follow the rules, who obey the law. Nothing could be further from the truth. We like, in fact, we NEED leaders who break rules and make new ones, who see no obstacle as insurmountable in their fight for We The People.
George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, were such leaders. Trump could have been, but he fell far, far short. Washington broke the biggest and most important law that had ever existed – that of loyalty to the Crown. In fighting for the British Empire before he fought against it, Washington had undoubtedly sworn undying allegiance to it. And then he broke his oath and it was ok. It was ok because he did so for what he believed was the greater good of his own people and of all humanity and because in this belief he had been justified.
Jackson broke every treaty that he or his predecessors had ever signed with the Indians and waged a war of genocide against them, yet (as Trump himself often acknowledged) he was one of the greatest American presidents because he made America invincible by stretching it across the Great Planes and opening the door to the Pacific and because America, if not Jackson himself, was good. Lincoln, looked at from one perspective, was the greatest mass murderer in American history, causing more than six hundred thousand Americans to die in the Civil War. But without him and without this enormous sacrifice, there would be no America, and America is good. Theodore Roosevelt was a rough guy who aggressively built up America as an empire rather than a nation-state and he never let bloodshed stand in his way. Perhaps becoming an empire was, eventually, fatal to America, but in the century that it was one it saved the world.
Trump decided early on that he would play by the rules. No matter how dirty his opponents fought him, no matter how many times he repeated the phrase “we caught them”, he never as much as dipped his toe into the pool of ruthless and illegal action which would have been required of him to defeat his (and our!) enemies.
In refusing to be like Jacob and Moses, like David (the King) and like David Ben-Gurion, like Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, in refusing to follow the example of his contemporary and good friend Bibi Netanyahu, Trump betrayed the American People and his God-given mission and that is why God hid His face from him when Trump needed it the most.
But in this cowardly behavior, Trump was not alone. We, his supporters and voters, were every bit as cowardly. There sixty or seventy million Trump voters. Just one percent of this number makes up the better part of a million people. Can you imagine what would happen if in ten different cities across America fifty or sixty or seventy thousand people had shown up to peacefully demonstrate against the deep state and the anti-Trump coup d’état on each and every Sunday for the last two years? And no, going to a Trump rally with the security and comfort of being among one’s allies does not count. And no, making excuses about (unlike the libs) having a job and wanting to spend Sundays with the family doesn’t cut it either. The truth is that Trump didn’t show up for us and we didn’t show up for him. In doing so, both we and our leader have proven ourselves unworthy of the Almighty’s Blessing and now must bear the consequences, which will be severe.
God gave Jews a second chance after a brief interval of only two thousand years, years which had been spent wandering in exile from one genocide to the next, so please, my friends, do not hold your breath for any Trumpian second coming. We had our chance in America and we blew it and who knows, we may yet blow it in Israel too. But for now, Israel is a Jewish state as defined by law, while American generals like Mattis are recommending to Biden that he get rid of any vestige of an America First policy in military affairs and elsewhere as quickly as possible, a recommendation that he is certain to follow with all possible vigor.
So what remains, my friends, is to look inward, to be nimble, to acquire easily transportable wealth and skills, and to be ready to move on a moment’s notice because in many parts of America things are quickly going to become rather rough for freedom-loving people. Oh and above all, strike the words “Supreme Court” from your lexicon. The boys and girls there are not your friends regardless of who appointed them. They are conformists who have been betraying the Constitution for over a century now.
Much joy can be found in life even when the public square is filled with filth just like it is now in America. Go and find it!