When I was growing up, I used to read Olameinu (Hebrew for "Our world"). Olameinu is an Orthodox Children's Magazine that makes learning fun. They used to have Tora theme riddles and one of those riddles was about a Judge in the Sanhedrin (Jewish Court) – the judge, as part of the Sanhedrin, was judging a capital case. If this judge votes "guilty", the man is set free, if the judge votes "not guilty" the man is put to death. How can this be?
The answer to the riddle is that if all 70 judges agree that someone is guilty, it means the case is too perfect and there must be some problem (for example, the defendant wasn’t adequately represented). (Noto bene: the voting is done secretly so no one knows what the other 69 judges will vote.)
One of the things I’ve always liked about Judaism is that our heroes aren’t perfect. Look through the Tanakh (Jewish Bible) and you will see that nobody, not Avraham, not Yitzhak, not Yaakov, not even Moshe, was perfect. They all made mistakes. Other religious groups don’t have that. They portray their heroes as perfect, flawless, someone not to be questioned. From the perspective of a former Yeshiva girl, that seems ridiculous. In Judaism, only G-d is perfect (and even G-d can be questioned, even argued with – Avraham and Moshe both argued with G-d and won).
The consequence of the "Our Heroes are Perfect" syndrome, in my opinion, is that people spend too much time trying to bury their mistakes and never giving their lapses a chance to teach them anything. Most Millionaires have in common that they failed in business (often multiple times) before they succeeded. They learned from their fiascoes.
Georges Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." I would add to this "Those who cannot admit their mistakes are condemned to repeat them." If you cannot admit that Neville Chamberlain made a mistake in handing over land to the power hungry Adolph Hitler, if you cannot admit that Ariel Sharon with his unilateral, "no concessions asked" withdrawal from Gush Katif (Gaza) made a huge misstep, if you cannot understand that ending the Gaza War without surrender from Hamas was an error of magnificent proportions, then you will continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over again.
Placating terrorists doesn’t work. Whether the terrorist you’re talking about is head of a governmental body of a sovereign nation (like Hitler) or an organization that co-opted its people’s election to get voted in as their leader, despite their lack of a country (like Hamas) terrorists aren’t looking for logic or negotiations. Terrorists aren’t reasonable people. Terrorists haven’t even thought through what things would be like if they got their demands met. For example, what would Hitler have done if he had, G-d forbid, succeeded in killing every Jew on the planet? Do people really think he would have left his job, bought a nice little house in the country and retired there with Eva Braun? That’s highly doubtful. More likely he would have turned to Catholics or Baptists or Quakers or homosexuals or disabled people or _________ (fill in the blank with your idea of a group). Hitler’s thirst for blood would never have been quenched.
Because the Muslim faith looks at Muhammad, "The Prophet", as perfect and infallible, Islamists can never admit that something they did was wrong or bad. They have to continue along their road believing they are totally right and totally good, no matter how many people they murder. And why should they question their deeds when most of the world lauds them and condemns Israel?
Why indeed. Yet there are some Muslims who are beginning to question. In addition to high profile people like Salmon Rushdie, Nonie Darwish, Irshad Manji and Sheikh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi, Director of the Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community, there are organizations of anti-terror Muslims like Muslims Against Sharia at http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com and American Islamic Forum for Democracy at http://www.aifdemocracy.org/. These organizations and others like them are beginning to be heard.
Many anti-terror Muslims and Muslim organizations are trying to spread the word about the dangers the West faces from pro-terror Muslims and Muslim organizations. We need to listen to them. We need to realize that we are not perfect and that we need to learn from our mistakes (and the mistakes of European governments). We need to stand up for our freedom and our democracy. We need to fight the tyranny, despotism and oppression left in the wake of terror activities. We need to fight for ourselves and the rest of the world, including the people under the rule of the terror organizations. We need to find a way to reeducate people who live under these regimes, who feed them a steady diet of hate. We need to plan our future and the future of Western civilization. If we don’t, that civilization will cease to exist.
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