See Something; Say Nothing

March 1st, 2018 Posted by Susan's Musings 33 comments

Today is Purim. Among other things this means that, this week, many people with an agenda are trying to validate their ideas by quoting verses from the Scroll of Esther. Are you a staunch 2nd Amendment advocate? You can find Scriptural support. Do you think that gun ownership should be outlawed? You can find Scriptural support. This doesn’t mean that Scripture has nothing to say on the topic. It means that the ancient Jewish wisdom that emanates from Scripture can’t be easily absorbed or transmitted in one quick column lacking context, subtlety and serious arguments and debate.

On the other hand, it is Purim, so I am going to join the crowd and link to the holiday, not directly on the gun issue, but on two news media items I saw in the press this week. The first was an article by the editor-in-chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency claiming that the speech given at CPAC by the NRA’s executive-vice-president could exacerbate anti-Semitism. Since Wayne LaPierre mentioned Saul Alinsky, Michael Bloomberg and George Soros, his speech could be seen as a dog whistle to anti-Semites. To the author’s credit, he acknowledges that it is hard to discuss the gun-control movement without mentioning Soros and Bloomberg as leaders in it, but he thinks that it, somehow, well, kind of, shouldn’t be said because even if Wayne LaPierre isn’t anti-Semitic himself, he might be seen as encouraging others to be so.

The second item was a news report that BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) in San Francisco was refusing to share surveillance video showing groups of teenagers terrorizing passengers. The reason? Debora Allen, a member of the BART Board of Directors, reports that, “To release these videos would create a high level of racially insensitive commentary toward the district,” she was told. “And in addition it would create a racial bias in the riders against minorities on the trains.” This is similar to reports from other areas of the country where citizens feel that crime information is suppressed if the alleged criminals are African-American.

The link between these two commentaries is the mindset that if we don’t identify groups, people won’t notice that there are certain group tendencies. I remember hearing from a friend who lived in the old Soviet Union that airplane accidents on internal flights happened not infrequently. However, since talking about them would tarnish the image of the successful Communist state, they were not publicly reported. It is as if when nothing was said, people might not notice that their loved ones never returned home. Note to the Politburo – people did notice.

In the movement to eradicate the First Amendment that has gained momentum on American college campuses, the ruling elites share a conceit that if they don’t acknowledge information, the stupid masses won’t figure it out for themselves. The same idea is seen in other countries. That is blatantly untrue. People do notice and do know that Jews are, unfortunately, disproportionately members of the far-Left and Black teenagers are, unfortunately, disproportionately involved in crime. Recognizing reality makes you neither anti-Semitic nor racist. But acknowledging a problem does help those who wish to counter these pathologies in the Jewish or Black community to do so. Do these realities give support to people who truly are hate-filled? People filled with hate don’t actually need reality to support their feelings. By not speaking openly and intimidating good people to be quiet, you simply drive the conversation underground which is fertile territory for hyperbole, exaggeration and prejudice.

How does this tie in to the Purim story? Do you notice that despite the Scroll of Esther emphasizing that ancient Persia was made up of different and diverse communities, there was no difficulty in identifying either the Jews or the Amelekites?  Each of us is a member of many groups. Our age, gender, nationality, religion, ethnicity, level of education and geographic location are only a few of the ways with which we are labelled. Sometimes we fit stereotypes, sometimes we do not. But it is futile to pretend that if we are not told so we won’t notice identifying features of one another.

I personally find George Soros’ behavior despicable and am frequently embarrassed by Michael Bloomberg’s activities. It is actually not irrelevant at all that Saul Alinsky is another Jew, even if that causes me shame. Neither is it irrelevant that many noteworthy scientists, entrepreneurs and jurists who contribute immeasurably to the world are of Jewish descent. I believe that God’s promise to the nation of Israel means that as a people we have the potential to soar higher or plummet lower than other nations. No one needs to point out either of these realities for them to be easily seen.

 

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33 comments

Karen Boswell says:

God’s people have long been mocked.

Too much lately God, Himself, is mocked

I mourn for those who mock Him

AND I know, if only, in this day and age, we had more Esthers and Daniels, we wouldn’t be in the place we are.

There is a Christian singing group – Jeff & Sherry Easter – who sing a song about Daniel…. I will not bow down…since I can’t post a link here – try bing.com to search 🙂

Karen Boswell says:

the song is “We’re not Gonna Bow”

If only God’s people, in the last 50 years actually stood as Shadrach, Meshak & Adendigo

Annette Landry says:

That’s a wonderful article Susan I would pray others have your insight its very refreshing Thank you

Susan Lapin says:

Thank you, Annette.

Kristin Grose says:

Superb, Susan!! Your insight impeccable as always and always a great read. A no see, no hear, no speak people are low-hanging fruit for revolution and/or a coup of some nefarious sort. God help us!

Susan Lapin says:

It is very disheartening to discover how much of news is manipulated so that we only hear what we are meant to hear.

James says:

Your observation is well taken that one can oft apply scripture without wisdom to support whatever cause or outcome one wishes to engineer. One sees this in many splinter sects of Christianity. Your last paragraph says it all so eloquently. The Hebrews had a monolithic encounter with God in the desert, which molded them as a people and shaped their destiny for generations upon generations. They received from that encounter a Divine gift of frightening potentiality. Even those who have forsaken God and His ways retain that potentiality, for good or for ill. This realization and your argument serve to remind us that yes, belonging to certain ethnicities does matter, even if the ‘equality’ crowd or the Party seeks to hide ethnicities and gloss over their good deeds and their misdeeds to serve its purposes. Thank YOU for not belonging to the number who have forsaken God.

Susan Lapin says:

James, the idea that we do have personal free will but we are also born with certain qualities or tendencies is as hard to wrap one’s mind around as the nature/nurture combination.

Rebecca Stine says:

In my opinion I have come to believe there are two groups of people. Those who are believers in the word of God, try to obey it learn from the truth,and desire to solve our problems using the instructions,and the love God gave us to do so. Then there are those who are searching for God and may not even know it, or those who don’t believe, or choose not to believe. I don’t think it matters what ethnicity,age,gender etc. That being said, we all still have problems, we’re human and live in this fallen world. Yes, I support the 2nd amendment whole heartily. All this political talk about guns is no more than that..politics. I may not be popular for saying this, but I think our government run schools should be defunded.Parents should really take a serious look at what these kids are being taught and exposed to. I don’t have kids in school anymore but when I did I kept informed as to what was going on.If there were any situations I was concerned about, I respectfully addressed it. That was before all the political correctness. Having mutual respect, and concern for the kids usually solved the problem.That was a different time.It isn’t that way now. Im sure if I had school age kids now they wouldnt be attending public school. Guns are not the problem.Lost people and evil in the heart is . Jesus says seek first the kingdom of God…We have to pray all the time. 800 + babies aborted every day, death from drug overdoses daily, not many from the media talk about it. With corrupt, self centered, uncaring, borderline lunatic government, and authority figures Is it a surprise that many of our young people are the way they are. Yep, I pray daily and ask God to help us fight and win this battle. Sorry for long post. I watch news very little anymore, I don’t think it’s healthy. Spend more time praying,reading my Bible. But I do love to watch Ask the Rabbi, it’s refreshing. Thank you

Susan Lapin says:

Rebecca, everything has its time. There was a time that government schools were a tremendous gift to many children, providing an excellent education for most. It is tremendously sad that so many of the schools today provide little education in poor areas and a lot of indoctrination in rich ones.

Andrew says:

When I read articles like this I want to reply “four legs good, two legs bad” to be comical, but far too often people miss what I’m getting at, so I will just say this article was great. I enjoy the book of Esther and can’t help but wonder if Haman believed in his own superiority to his undoing. So many seem to want to follow suit. Unfortunately for them, there will always be those who can think for themselves and see through the murky waters.
Thanks again for your insights. I really appreciated this one.

Susan Lapin says:

Andrew, Haman’s self-importance is definitely part of his downfall. Esther brilliantly uses this character trait to set up his downfall.

Mark says:

“. . . even if Wayne LaPierre isn’t anti-Semitic himself, he might be seen as encouraging others to be so.”

Wow, that is really some imaginative, hair-splitting logic on the part of that editorial writer! Saying someone is not anti-Semitic, but is encouraging others to be so. Good grief! If that were the standard, then no one could feel confident about ever saying ANYTHING, since there will always be someone who will interpret something in a way which was never intended by the person who first said or wrote it.

Susan Lapin says:

Exactly, Mark. And Wayne LaPierre did NOT say, “…those Jews…” He simply spoke about the leaders of the movement. It, quite frankly, is not his fault or responsibility that they are Jewish.

bob aronson says:

the 2012 Pew Poll on US Judaism did not hesitate to label the 80% of godless humanistic jews that they polled as “Nothing Jews”….. so something was said!…. but nothing has changed with US Judasim, in fact i would wager that its even greater than 80% 6 years later.

Susan Lapin says:

Bob, I am wary of polls because I know how easy they are to manipulate. However, there is a huge lack of Godliness and God-awareness among the Jewish community that is tragic.

bob aronson says:

Pew polled 4000 US Jews in 2012 …. 80% replied that God had no relevance. O yah, that is, in your words above, a huge lack of Godliness for US Judaism….I live in NC where the “Jewish faith community” (that’s what they like to call themselves, even though its a faithless faith) has allied with the progressive “Christian faith community” which is a a pro-Palestinian anti-Israel strain of christianity….I am not certain if there is even a one Orthodox Jewish congregation in NC.

GeoInSD says:

IMO, Progressive Christian faith is an oxymoron.

Randy Gabert says:

Two verses come to mind when thinking about this topic. Proverbs 16:4 “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” and Esther 4:14 “and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” We need to be sure that we are doing what God has given us to do in “such a time as this”!

Susan Lapin says:

Ah, if we only came with personalized instruction booklets, Randy.

GeoInSD says:

I would like to say that, while I am not a Jew, I am very grateful to the Jewish people. Through them we got the prophets, ancient Jewish wisdom, our traditional American values that made the USA the most free, most prosperous, and most powerful nation the world has ever seen. I see bad guys like Marx, Alinsky, and Soros as bad guys, not Jews. Their actions and ideology are not rooted in their Hebrew heritage, so I don’t associate their actions or ideology with their Hebrew heritage.

Susan Lapin says:

I appreciate the thought, George (taking a guess at your name here), but I think there is more to it than that. Their choice of actions aren’t rooted in following their heritage, but the desire to impact the world is implanted in them. The closer to the source they hew, the better the actions, but in my opinion and looking at history, Jews have a proportionally greater taking action ration than many other groups, both for good and for bad.

GeoInSD says:

I reread your response, Susan (if I may call you Susan, I figured it is ok since you called me George). I missed your point in my previous readings, which is that their (people like Marx and Soros) desire to impact the world is implanted in them. That sounds like an interesting topic for a future Rabbi Lapin podcast. (Hint, hint.)

James says:

Bingo! That’s what I tried to say (above). Even those ethnic Jews who have abandoned the ways of God still retain some of that frightening potentiality gleaned from encountering Divinity out in the desert so early in their history.

Susan Lapin says:

And many use that for good while others use it for bad.

Lisa says:

Sounds more like a Elijah v Jezebel issue than a Purim issue. PC (political correctness) has always been an idol to worship in itself along with first amendment rights and the right to bear arms rights. Money makes a terrible god. So do guns make a terrible god. So many things to worship yet there is still only one God.

Mary Johnson says:

Not that people are dogs, but my black lab fetches. The black lab I had before her fetched. The one I will have after, will fetch. Dogs are bred a certain way and don’t really have much choice in the matter. People from families who never met have similar traits like, behaviors, intellect, or talents. This is how we were created. Males are stronger, women are smarter (sarcasm). Anyway my point is, unlike dogs or other animals, humans have the ability to choose for the better. We can all choose to be a force for good or a force for evil no matter the circumstance we were born into.

By the way, I would never have noticed that the three men mentioned were all Jews until you pointed it out to me. I saw only deceit when their names were mentioned.

Thank You Susan for another great musing.

Bonnie Kennedy says:

Superb Article Susan! Loved it…..God bless you and yours!

GeoInSD says:

>Jews have a proportionally greater taking action ration than many other groups, both for good and for bad.

While I agree with that, still, my point is that the Hebrew heritage of Marx, Soros, Alinsky, etc. is the least of my concern. Their actions and impact on the world is of a far greater concern of mine than the fact they descended from Jacob. But I will say that I have certainly noticed the high impact of people of Hebrew heritage compared to their proportion of the population, for good and for bad, as you note. I don’t think this is coincidence, but that is a different discussion. It is hard not to notice the high impact of the descendants of Jacob. But even so, I care far more about people’s actions than their ethnic background, and that is my point.

I will mention that I am a religious person, but not a Jew. It is a basic part of my religion to be grateful to the descendants of Jacob for their part in G-d’s purposes. A major reason I listen to Rabbi Lapin’s podcasts (I don’t miss a single one) is that he helps me to understand my own religion better. He seems to express much of our principles better than people in my religion.

Diana says:

Thank you for the sharing your insights and wisdom, truly a blessing, and food for thought. From beginnign to end I was reminded of one of my favorite verses in the what I know as the Old Testment: Esther 4:14.- Thank you!

-I like the Bible definition of a Jew, as given in Romans 2:28-29. Being Jewish is a state of moral consciousness and relation to God, and not any state of physical fleshly existence. I do not mind if Jews call themselves “God’s chosen people”, as long as everybody understands this to be a divine responsibility, not a divine privilege. Unlike all other nations, Israel was given to the Jewish people on condition of a covenant relationship with God. Otherwise, in the flesh, Jews have no special racial “leg-up” over anybody else, because just likje the Gentiles, they too are under sin.

Lawrence K. Marsh

Susan Lapin says:

Lawrence, I’m sure you’ll understand that I don’t share your definition but I do agree that ‘chosen’ is for responsibility. Judaism is clearly not a racial identity since conversion is possible as is choosing to leave the group.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Dear Lawrence–
The huge “leg-up” that many Jews do enjoy relates to a more correct understanding of money. This is why, although there are ‘poor’ Jews, the people of Israel, the Hebrews, are disproportionately good with money. We ought to be represented by about 6 Jews on the Forbes annual list of the 400 richest Americans but we are always between 60 and 100 instead. Not because of any special privilege or hidden blessings but simply as the result of knowing the ancient Jewish wisdom that I teach for everyone of every background in our books Thou Shall Prosper and Business Secrets from the Bible. (See our store or Amazon)
Cordially
RDL

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