Monday, March 21, 2011

War of Words, part IV -- "Incident"

Ok, time to vent about another toxic word that has polluted our vocabulary with regards to last week’s atrocity in Itamar and other horrific jihadist murders of the recent past.

At first glance, however, the word seems rather benign, certainly nothing in comparison to the malevolent expressions used by the inimical world media we’ve discussed in previous posts (i.e. “settlers,” “cycle of violence,” etc.). In fact, I have heard this word used repeatedly by well-intentioned individuals.

Nevertheless, it is my contention that this is the most egregiously insidious of misleading words used with regards to this atrocity.

The word is “incident.”

Last week I called an Israeli friend and told him we were organizing a prayer vigil and memorial service for the Fogels’. I expressed outrage that the media had completely sidelined the story. He responded that he felt that in the midst of the catastrophic events in Japan, this (sic) incident takes a back-burner position. His callous use of this word deeply troubled me. I will tell you why:

The word "incident" implies that the event was "incidental," something of relatively minor importance, or something that happened by chance and was not calculated. Incident also implies an isolated event, one that can potentially trigger a much larger crisis.

The massacre in Itamar was not a mere incident of separate circumstance. It was not an isolated event.

It was part of a well-planned genocidal war which is being waged by Islamofascist leadership.

The fact that the media glossed over it is not incidental either. It is part of an ongoing overt attempt to marginalize and demonize Israel in the eyes of the world.

The so-called incident in Itamar was not a minor event that can potentially sparked a much larger conflict, or that has exacerbated an already-problematic situation. It has not contributed to the so-called “cycle of violence.”

It was part of an already ongoing genocidal war on the Jewish people. It was the most recent offensive in a decades-old war against humanity.

Would anyone in their right mind refer to the atrocities of September 11th as mere incidents?

Etymologically, the word incident comes from Latin incidere, which means to “happen” or “befall.” In means “on” and cidere means to “fall.” It was something just happened to befall us. Out of the blue. By chance.
Last week, Jews gathered in synagogues around the world and read the Biblical portion of “Zachor.” “Remember what Amalek did to you as you left Egypt, when he fell upon you (karcha) on the way…”

The Hebrew word “fell upon,” (karcha), derives from the word mikreh, a happening, an incident that happened by chance. “Mah karah?” means “what happened?” Etymologically, these expressions come from the word “keri”, which means haphazard or random.

Chassidic philosophy explains that the wicked nation of Amalek tried to poison the minds of the fledgling Jewish nation who had recently gone free from Egyptian bondage. After having witnessed awe-inspiring miracles and supernatural phenomena, the Israelites were inspired to proceed to Sinai and accept their Divine calling. Indeed, they were prepared and psyched to become G-d’s chosen people by receiving His Torah.

Enter Amalek, a distant cousin of the children of Israel. Amalek argued that the alleged miracles of the ten plagues and splitting of the sea were no more than random incidents, or should we say, coincidence. Hence, the Amalekites wished to demonstrate to the nations of the world that Israel is not invincible.

Rashi comments on the word “fell upon” (karcha), that it can also be read “cooled off,” from the word kor (קור), cold. Amalek cooled off the nations’ awe of Israel. In addition, Amalek cooled off Israel’s enthusiasm for receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai.

This is consistent with the literal meaning of karcha, “fell upon you.” Amalek cools off the proper emotional reaction to the events of the Exodus by calling them random and coincidental. Everything is random and haphazard, argues Amalek. There is no purpose, no reward or punishment, no rhyme or reason. No reason for a Torah. The polytheistic paradigm of survival of the fittest works just fine. Indeed, Amalek’s philosophy has persisted until modern times. It was most apparent in determinism of the 19th and early 20th century. The whole world is nothing but a “fortuitous concourse of atoms,” G-d forbid. (Its most destructive manifestation was in the Social Darwinism that brought us the Holocaust.)

This is why Amalek is the antithesis of everything Judaism stands for. There is no such thing as serendipity or fortuity. (We’ll discuss what mazel means a different time). Nothing is by chance. It is all by design. There is a deep lesson to be gleaned, a new motivation for growth and increase in efforts that make the world a better place.

Amalek is karcha, apathy and coolness to the suffering of another. Judaism is enthusiasm, warmth and vitality. Compassion and feeling for another’s pain.

All that from a three-letter word, karcha. Do you now see how powerfully instructive a single word can be?

Anyway, back to our dismal topic:

Amalek has reared it ugly head. Murder for the sake of murder. Infanticide. Blood thirst.

The world has been so poisoned by the contemporary Islamofascist Amalekites and their collaborators that we have begun to speak in Amalekite terms.

Don’t get so enraged, says Amalek. It’s merely incidental, a random occurrence that affected a couple of eccentric “settlers” who deserved it because they dared encroach on “Muslim” space. Anyway, this happened in the periphery, not in Israel proper. It doesn’t affect the rest of us.

That’s Amalek speaking. Shall we become his vile mouthpiece?

No, this was no incident. This was a cataclysmic atrocity that dwarfs the most horrendous natural disasters in history, even the recent catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Why do I say that?

I am not trying to minimize the loss and destruction wrought by this calamity. My prayers are with all the poor victims and their families.

However, while the recent tsunami was mother nature showing its ugliest, most destructive face, the massacre of five innocent Jews in Itamar was human nature showing its ugliest, most devastating and depraved face.

Mother nature has no free choice. It was never intended to be “bad” or “good.” While G-d is certainly behind it all, G-d’s involvement is concealed and completely masked within the guise of nature. Nature seems to operate with a mind of its own, at least from our limited perspective.

Mother nature was not created in G-d’s image. But man is.

A tsunami kills old and young, good and bad. It does not discriminate. Humans discriminate.

A human being capable of indiscriminately murdering a baby and young children is a human being gone awry. It is the most degenerate form of human life. It is a human who has devolved to the primitive mindset of a predator animal.

This is a tsunami of blind and depraved hatred that threatens to deluge the entire civilized world if we don’t act now.

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