Thursday, September 15, 2005

Gush Qatif Memorial?

Yesterday, I heard that at some Merkaz HaRav weddings they've started breaking two glasses, one for the Temple and other for Gush Qatif. On the local e-mail list, there was a discussion of creating a national day of mourning for Gush Qatif. in response, I wrote following:

I am, personally, very uncomfortable with the idea of a Memorial Day for Gush Qatif, despite my opposition to the so-called disengagement and my acute awareness of its implications.

1) History has shown that improvising new holidays and memorial days lessens the memory of the events it records, not the opposite. The Fast of the 20th of Sivan is proof of this. (And since I sincerely doubt that most people have heard of it, that clinches my point).

2) The Rav zt'l was categorically against creating new holidays. Memorial Days are best conflated with Tisha B'Av. So, if people want to recite the qinah for Gush Qatif on Tisha B'Av, I think that would be perfectly appropriate. (Yom HaShoah has yet to prove itself.)

3) There is something very unsettling about the idea. True, Gush Qatif was destroyed and Jews were turned into refugees. Memorial Days in the Jewish calendar, however, recall either events in which Jews were murdered or the Destruction of the Temple. Thank God, no one was murdered here (at least, directly). As for the Hurban, while this step was a serious defeat for us and further undermined our existence militarily, politically and diplomatically- the State has not been destroyed (God Forbid!). There is still what to save and what to build and what to improve and what to reform and what to Judaize. Even Asarah be-Tevet, which commemorates the start of the siege of Jerusalem in the Winter of 586 BCE and the beginning of the end for the First Temple, was only instituted AFTER the fact. God Forbid that we should create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

4) We would be better off to follow the Rav's advice and see what we can do to channel our anger and pain. That's what Elul is for. I might, however, add that if one thing is to be learned from this whole ugly business it is that the Humash is correct and the false prophets are wrong. Our residence here is always conditional. It is conditional on how we act and how our brethren act. True, as Rav Aviner points out, the flowering of the land is a harbinger of redemption (cf. Ketubot 110a). However, again to cite the Rav, while Eretz Yisrael only responds to Jewish efforts, it is also sensitive to immorality and desecration. I think we shoul devote ourselves to those points and not to another ritual day of mourning or breaking extra glasses at weddings and whatever else.

6 comments:

tafka PP said...

Amen. Hope they read your blog...

Menachem Butler said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Menachem Butler said...

Which reason for the 20th of Sivan? At what point did people stop fasting on that day?

settler@zion.org said...

It probably doesn't matter whether it's for the blood libel in France in 1171, or the cossack massacres in Poland in 1648-49, or the decision of the Hungarian Ultr-Orthodox rabbinate that remained in Hungary in 1946 to commemorate the holocaust on this date - almost no Jews alive tody (even most historically conscious ones)have any meaningful associations for this date.

However. MOD's comment re: RYBS on new holidays begs the questions re: Yom Haatzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim! Perhaps Rav Yehuda Henkin's perspective of commemorating and offering thanks for the establishment of the state is best left for Pesach and not an independent new religious holiday?

Anonymous said...

aside from which, the gk evacuation is so far from anything previously comemorated. no one was killed, the people had options and compensation to move to other equally comfortable places, it was not a tragedy that affected all of israel (in this way it is similar to 20 sivan and different from the holocaust and churban bayis), etc.

this should in no way be understood that i underestimate or diminish the pain felt by the gk-ers, who got a really raw deal.
nor the sentiments of the country.

Mycroft said...

I have heard you speak and enjoyed it. But i doubt the Rav ZT"L would have had your take on Gush Katif.