Monday, February 13, 2006

Teach Your Children How Evil They Are

Arutz Sheva reports:

Education and Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit (Kadima, formerly of Likud), told students on a visit to a school in Beit El yesterday that the residents of Amona and their supporters were evil.

Sheetrit responded to a girl who read him a letter relating to the events at Amona. The girl asserted that “G-d punishes evil doers.”

Sheetrit interrupted the girl and exclaimed angrily, “To whom exactly are you referring to by the word ‘evil’?”

“Who settled illegally in Amona? Who’s evil?” continued Shitrit. “In other words, you’re the evil one,” Israel’s Education Minister proclaimed to the young girl.
Permalink here.

Now that's how to educate the youth.


Blogger gogalucky said...

okay, but why was she implying that he was evil and that he should be punished? because her parents are miseducating her. his statements are a red flag to her parents--why is their child saying these things?

who can think themselves so pious as to tell other people that they will be punished by g-d???

it was childish, for sure, but i worry about the actual child in this situation more than anything..

Mon Feb 13, 06:37:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Rakdannit427 said...

The particular framing of the article (cropped, of course) leaves little more than a desire on the part of the reader to rebuke the Minister. Afterall, this is a child!

But the above said comments are correct; those who proclaim that G-d is on their side, are quite simply wrong. Everyone can claim that. It's really not that hard. All you have to say is "G-d is on my side!" and POOF it is so. Or is it so?

And settling illegaly is evil, by human standards. Look at all the turmoil it causes for us. Don't blame the conflict on G-d; blame it on the humans.

Mon Feb 13, 09:19:00 PM 2006  
Blogger G-D SQUAD said...

ACTUALLY, rakdannit, NOT cropped. That is the whole article, thank you very much (which, I admit, says something about the depth of the article itself). You can click on either of the links I provided to view the article in its original.

As far as G-d taking sides, it's pretty clear as daylight from last week's Torah portion that G-d definitely takes sides. And G-d has a plan. Now, many people have a hunch that G-d wants Jewish people living in Eretz Yisroel right now, which in some opinions means that G-d wants Jews living in places like Amona and Gush Katif and Jerusalem. According to others, not so. And, sadly, I have to admit, lately it's looked like the latter might be right (except about Jerusalem, until terrorists say they want it).

I know I don't live in Jerusalem anymore, but I'm still convinced that the education system over there is pretty horrible. That was the focus of this post, not so much the settlement part.

Mon Feb 13, 10:05:00 PM 2006  
Blogger gogalucky said...

do you mean that the education minister was horrible or that the girl was horribly miseducated..?

Mon Feb 13, 11:42:00 PM 2006  
Blogger G-D SQUAD said...

ohhh... snap! good one. First of all, in the quote from the girl, as far as I can tell, she's got her head on straight. She said "G-d punishes evil doers." Is that wrong? Are her parents misinforming her? I think not. But that the Education Minister should tell a young girl that she is evil, that's straight up MESSED. UP. And this is who is in charge of the education of the youth in Israel?

Mon Feb 13, 11:57:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Rakdannit427 said...

First of all, I know that the entire article is there. But the portion presented leaves a pretty nasty image of the Education and Transportation minister... on purpose?

Secondly, it's easy to say what happened in hindsight. Perhaps G-d "took sides" in the past. It's not so clear anymore. If one thinks that G-d is control of everything and that everything happens according to G-d, then the disengagement and subsequent disengagements should be praised as the doings of those with blessings from G-d. So if you subscribe to that belief, than the above said should be true.

If you do not - and I for one do not - then all the complexities and nuances of this world are too much to calculate into a fit and trim equation which produces an immediate and universal answer. G-d stopped taking sides after the exile of the Kingdom of Israel.

Take responsibility for your actions and leave G-d out of this squabble.

Tue Feb 14, 12:40:00 AM 2006  
Blogger gogalucky said...

i agree with talia.

and she didn't just say that g-d punishes evil doers. that's watering it down... she "read him a letter relating to the events at amona" and "aserted that 'G-d punishes evil doers.'" (a liiittle different..)

so i think she may have been horribly miseducated... first of all, who says that kind of a thing? so g-d punishes evil doers. that doesn't mean we should go around parading our knowledge of this fact and inform everyone that does anything we don't agree with that this is the case, suggesting that they are, in fact, evil, and that we are completely clear of any misdoings.

i think some things are clear cut, like... oh... murder? but unfortunately we don't have anything as obvious to fall back on for this situation in terms of how g-d might judge us. so it's a pretty crazy thing to go around absolutely positive of the evilness and non-evilness of specific people. that's for g-d to decide; not our job.

Tue Feb 14, 10:20:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Fedora Black said...

“G-d stopped taking sides after the exile of the Kingdom of Israel.”

This is the saddest statement I have heard all year. Who taught you that?

The truth is that G-d is always with us, even if we cannot, or for some, will not, see it. The Shekhina may be in exile, but that does not mean that G-d has stopped taking care of us. Keep in mind that the Keruvim on the Aaron HaKodesh enbraced each other while the Temple was being destroyed, showing how close we were to G-d at that moment. As long as we insist on reducing things to our perspective, we will never see the truth for what it is.

The various nations of the world have an angle that guides and watches over them, Eisav has Samael (the angle that Jakov fought), for example, and Egypt had Mitzrayim (see last weeks parshe for why it is HAD). But we don’t have one, because G-d watches over us himself.

Tue Feb 14, 02:04:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Fedora Black said...

Food for thought:

Purpose of a Leaf

As a young boy, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak (the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe) would go with his father on walks through the woods. One time, as they talked, the boy absent-mindedly plucked a leaf off a tree and began to shred it between his fingers. His father saw what his son was doing, but he went on talking. He spoke about the Baal Shem Tov, who taught how every leaf that blows in the wind -- moving to the right and then to the left, how and when it falls and where it falls to -- every motion for the duration of its existence is under the detailed supervision of the Almighty.

That concern the Creator has for each thing, his father explained, is the divine spark that sustains its existence. Everything is with Divine purpose, everything is of concern to the ultimate goal of the entire cosmos.

"Now," the father gently chided, "look how you mistreated so absent-mindedly the Almighty's creation."

"He formed it with purpose and gave it a Divine spark! It has its own self and its own life! Now tell me, how is the 'I am' of the leaf any less than your own 'I am'?"

Tue Feb 14, 03:17:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Rakdannit427 said...

Fedora black:

please refrain from ad hominem attacks. They dilute your arguments and only show the presumptuous nature certain people have whey they think that theirs is the true and only way toward Truth.

Think about it another way: G-d stopped revealing It's side (please don't use he or He because as a linguist you should know it does make a difference. G-d transcends gender, right...?).

Every person and ethnicity can claim that their god is true and that their god is on their side. What I'm saying is that it isn't so clear. Don't misconstrue my statements as meaning that G-d departed from this earth. It isn't for the ultra-orthodox Jews or the evangelical Christians or Muslim fanatics to claim where G-d stands on human squabbles.

By claiming that "G-d is on my side," you are defaming G-d.

Tue Feb 14, 07:06:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Fedora Black said...

uhhh? What? Ma? Hvad? Que? That's not an ad hominem attack at all. I was expressing my opinion of your statement, and was wondering where you got it from. That is not an attack or ad hominem. An ad hominem attack would be if I said "Rakdannit is wrong because Rakdannit smells" or "Rakdannit is wrong because Rakdannit lives in SC". I don't see any of that here...

As for Truth, yes I do think there is such a thing,indeed that there is ultimate truth and that Torah shows it. And yes, a great deal of it has to do with faith, pure and simple. Of course many groups claim to have the truth, and that is ok. Such claims don't make them right, nor does it make us wrong. We have the Torah, they don' what?

It is clear from the Jewish tradition from Sinai till now that Jew have a special place in creation that others don't. I am not making this stuff up. Some people, many Jews included, may not like it and feel uncomfortable about it, but it occupies a big chunk of Jewish teachings. And just because someone is disturbed by it, does not make it untrue.

That being said, non-Jews have a role to play in the coming of Moshiach as well, and also have a covenant with G-d just as we do. Keep in mind the words of Rabbi Meir in the Talmud in Bava Kama, "A Gentile who studies Torah is like a Kohen Gadol!" Imagine, like a Kohen Gadol! I, who is not a kohen (or a levi for that matter), can never reach that level. But a gentile can!

As for G-d no longer showing his side in things, it is very fitting that we are talking about this a month before Purim. The scroll of Ester is the only book in the Tanakh that does not contain G-d's name even once. One can see the story as simply driven by a series of random (the lots) and human driven events. We don't see G-d at least on the surface. As I was talking to a non-Jew at work about Purim, he said, "So unlike all the other books, that one is just a historical document?" I guess for those who choose not to see G-dliness it would be.

Regarding my use of "he" when talking about G-d, I am (i) following standard English usage. While we do have the word "it", it is not a true neuter, and is usually used about items and things, so it seems a bit disrespectful. If English had a better word I would use it. And (ii) Hebrew uses "hu" as a pronoun for G-d more times than I care to count, and "he" is a direct translation of "hu". Also, in many ways Hebrew is "worse" than English, as it has no possible neuter, since it lacks "it". I agree G-d has no gender. This would in fact follow flawlessly from the Rambam's 13 principles.

Also note that I gladly use neutral langauge when possible, for example, "Each student took their book" and not "Each student took his book". The latter is actually considered correct by English language nitpickers when talking about an all male or mixed male/female group of students. The former is seen as really bad by English nitpickers, but I think it's just fine. I am sure a majority of English speakers will agree with me.

As for saying that I should know better because I am a linguist, now doesn't that see a bit ad hominem?

Tue Feb 14, 08:35:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Rakdannit427 said...

On ad hominem:

"The phrase now chiefly describes an argument based on the failings of an adversary rather than on the merits of the case: Ad hominem attacks on one's opponent are a tried-and-true strategy for people who have a case that is weak. Ninety percent of the Panel finds this sentence acceptable. The expression now also has a looser use in referring to any personal attack, whether or not it is part of an argument, as in It isn't in the best interests of the nation for the press to attack him in this personal, ad hominem way."

It seemed like an ad hominem attack because it questioned my credibility before segueing into the actual argument itself. The "you" in "who taught you that?" refers to me - moi - and not a general "you" that could apply to other people. The tone is full of ridicule, as implied by the statement, "that is the saddest thing I have heard all year."

Seems pretty ad hominem to me.

Wed Feb 15, 01:57:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Fedora Black said...

oy, should I even reply to this?

Arab kid says, "Jews are evil".

Now, if I say, "That is the saddest thing I have heard all year!" and add "Who taught him that?", am I making fun of the Arab kid? Not at all. I am expressing my emotional state regarding his comment. If I am questioning anyone, it would be the person who taught him.

As you seem to enjoy grammar, I am sure that you are aware that the "you" in "Who taught you that?" is an object pronoun. "Who" actually fills the position of a subject, and can as such be regarded as a subject pronoun, as it fills the same space as one in terms of syntax. So the question "Who taught you that?" is not about you at all, it is about the "who" that told you “G-d stopped taking sides after the exile of the Kingdom of Israel.” I just wanted to know which Rabbi, teacher, friend,and so on told you that, or which book you perhaps read it in.

So stop thinking things are about you.

By the way, I suggest trying another online dictionary, such as The entry you posted is actually flawed. The claim "Ninety percent of the Panel finds this sentence acceptable" is not ad hominem. If anything, it would be the fallicy known as "appeal to authority".

Have a nice day!

Wed Feb 15, 08:59:00 AM 2006  
Blogger G-D SQUAD said...

rakdannit, um, ok i'm about to say something which i don't think is an, em... er... "ad hominem attack," but just some of my personal insight. so i myself usually don't use gender-specific pronouns when conversing about G-d (although, of course, in prayer and in Torah G-d is almost exclusively refered to in the masculine e.g. הוא אלוקינו, הוא אבינו. but obviously, like there are different attributes of the revealed state of G-dliness in this world, there are also different "gender" aspects of G-d's attributes revealed in this world. It's a whole kabbalistic thing, which is way above me, so i won't go in-depth. but the same way "elokim" and "hashem" are used to denote different of G-d's qualities, (namely strict judgement and compassion), so are masculine and feminine pronouns used to denote different attributes, which reflect masculinity and femininity in our world, but obviously, as you duly and most studiously noted, G-d does transcend gender ;P But i agree with fedora that calling G-d "It" is a diss, like it was for this kid.

Wed Feb 15, 01:15:00 PM 2006  

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