Intermountain Jewish News

Banner
Sunday,
Feb 01st
Home Columns View from Denver Can we really do anything for Israel?

Can we really do anything for Israel?

E-mail Print PDF

REMEMBER the story of Naboth in ancient Israel?

He possessed a lovely vineyard right next to the palace of King Ahab. Ahab coveted that vineyard because it was close and convenient, and offered Naboth to trade it for a better one, or to buy it.

Naboth told Ahab that he could not part with his ancestors’ heritage.

The arrogant king was angry that Naboth had even spoken up to him, let alone denied him the vineyard.

Ahab turned sullen, too angry to eat, and told his wife Jezebel, who said she’d take care of everything. The evil woman indeed did so.

She wrote scrolls in Ahab’s name, sealing them with the king’s signet, declaring a fast, apparently for the purpose of assembling the people to determine what sins had to be remedied.

“Seat Naboth at the head of the table,” she wrote, “then seat two unscrupulous people opposite him, to testify against him [to delineate his sin]. . . . Then take him out and stone him to death.”

And so it happened.

Whereupon Jezebel told Ahab to inherit the vineyard, and he did.

Elijah the Prophet rebuked Ahab sharply: “Will you murder and also inherit? . . . In the place where the dogs licked up the blood of Naboth, the dogs will lick up your blood as well” (I Kings 21:1-19).

Ahab’s guilt is clear.

Jezebel’s guilt is clear.

But what about Naboth? What did he do deserve this fate?

The midrash comments:

G-D endowed Naboth with the most beautiful singing voice of his generation. Three times a year, when the Israelites would make their pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Naboth would sing on the Temple Mount, and all the pilgrims enjoyed the beauty of his song.

Then one day, pride went to his head; he was swayed by the admiration of the crowds. The next time he went to Jerusalem, he refused to sing until the people begged and pleaded with him. He agreed only after the entreaties of ministers and leaders, and finally he stopped singing altogether.

Said the Holy One, blessed be He, to Naboth:

“You had a role in this world, and it was to bring joy to other living creatures. I gave you that talent. I placed this melodious bell in your throat, so that you would ring it and your voice would carry afar.

“But you are withholding from my creatures what they deserve to enjoy, not what you deserve to have. Do not withhold a good thing from its proper owner. I am bringing you back to me, because you have no more goal in life.

“You have not fulfilled the mission for which I designated you.”*

EVERY person has a unique mission; no one else can fulfill it. In the Diaspora, can we really do anything for Israel? Indeed we can.

This one by raising funds.

This one by political lobbying.

This one by organizing rallies.

This one by attending rallies.

This one by praying.

This one by studying Torah.

This one by sending toys to Sderot.

This one by sending gifts of food to the soldiers via countless companies and groups.

This one by writing articles.

This one by explaining the situation to his neighbor and co-worker.

This one by . . . the list is endless. Naboth did not really meet an untimely end; he timed it himself, so to speak, by withholding his unique talent that G-d had given him.

We can all do something for Israel right now via our own unique talent or capacity.

THIS week’s Torah portion reads, “When you beget children and grandchildren and will have been long in the Land, you will grow corrupt and make a carved image of anything, and you will do evil in the eyes of the L-rd” (Deut. 4:25).

Idolatry denies G-d.

Idolatry is evil.

Idolatry comes in many forms besides graven images, such as decadent lifestyles or corrupt ideas. Idolatry stems from being long in the Land — routinized, desensitized, taking things for granted, becoming cynical, empty of confidence in the Land’s opportunities to bring us close to G-d.

Confidence.

Self-confidence — in my power to grow closer to G-d and do His work — confidence in my power to make a difference.

Be not “long in the Land.”

If the Land remains fresh, if the magnitude of its gift from G-d remains awesome, each and every one of us can find a gift of our own to let the Land sing.

Each and every one of us can do something for Israel.

Can make a difference.

Copyright © 2014 by the Intermountain Jewish News

Last Updated ( Thursday, 07 August 2014 03:30 )  

IJN e-Edition

This is only a taste! Get full access to the IJN via our e-Edition, only $14.04 for IJN Print subscribers.

E-Edition subscribers get access to a complete digital replica of the IJN, which includes all special sections.

Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Shabbat Times

JTA News

Cruz, Zeldin press State Dept. on funding for group working on Israeli election

Ron Kampeas “There appears to be a danger that U.S. taxpayer funds are being used to directly shape the outcome of the upcoming Israeli election,” the two lawmakers wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry.... [Link]

Prosecutor: Only Nisman DNA found at scene of his death

Marcy Oster The prosecutor heading the probe into Alberto Nisman’s shooting death said testing was performed on clothes, as well as the gun, pistol magazine, bullets and shell casing. ... [Link]

Polish strongmen partner with group moving Jewish headstones

Cnaan Liphshiz From the Depths and the Polish Strongman Federation launched their cooperation when two federation members helped move headstones for a Warsaw resident. ... [Link]

Reports: CIA, Mossad collaborated in Mughniyeh killing

Ron Kampeas The CIA and the Mossad collaborated in the 2008 assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, the top Hezbollah operations officer blamed for an array of terrorist attacks. ... [Link]

Top House Foreign Affairs leaders urge Kerry to cut P.A. funding

Ron Kampeas Leaders from both parties on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee urged Secretary of State John Kerry to suspend funding to the Palestinian Authority until it withdraws from the... [Link]

Rights groups call on Serbian president to apologize for Holocaust Day remarks

Ron Kampeas Serbian human rights groups called on Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic to apologize for saying at a Holocaust commemoration that Nazis targeted Jews because of their over-representation in “pr... [Link]

UC Davis Jewish frat house targeted with swastikas after campus divestment resolution passes

Marcy Oster The non-binding advisory resolution passed by the student senate calls on the University of California to divest from “corporations that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settle... [Link]

Brandeis University President Frederick Lawrence to step down

Marcy Oster Lawrence, who currently is serving his fifth academic year as president, is one of the country’s leading experts in civil rights and the eighth president of Brandeis University. ... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942
email@ijn.com • larry@ijn.com • lori@ijn.com