Rabbi says war calls global culture into question

Rabbi Roberto Feldmann
       Rabbi Roberto Feldmann says the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by the terrorist group Hamas and the all-out war that’s ensued has drained Jewish people everywhere emotionally and mentally, but it has filled them with the resolve to see the gruesome conflict through to victory.       In a second letter to his congregation at Temple Beth El in Odessa since the war began, the rabbi reached deeply into the well of his articulacy in an attempt to express the pathos of the day.       “Biting into the fruit of these times of ours does not make us discern between good and evil,” he said. “It’s the other way around. It makes us not discern at all between surface and intention or between discernment and its unbearable opposite.       “We have been losing freedom in the apparent debauchery in which everyone has a profile and goes viral. What is easy and in poor taste, what is cheap and strident rises today like a tyranny.       “It demands that we affirm and confirm it. And we supposedly can only like it. If not you should shut up. Don’t forget to put a “like” on it. Don’t let the time pass without adding your virtue signal, too. The lighter the better. Thus we are sinking, losing, becoming debilitated.”       The rabbi expressed astonishment and revulsion at the depravity of Hamas.         “The real horror, the absolute demonic evil of the ultimate baseness that is Hamas, the suffering of all the Israeli victims of the most cruel massacre against the Jewish people since the Holocaust is thus sunk in the evanescence of the ‘Let’s say’ of a tenderly North Korean discursive format,” said Feldmann, who lives near Santiago, Chile.        “The words would always have been banal. But today words are no longer the most empty. It is human beings themselves who no longer escape the regulatory nonsense, the foolish norm, the law of massive insensitivity.        “The distance then between pain and shock, all that ocean of emotions and feelings that overwhelms us has no outlet, no osmosis, no relief, no dialogue, There is no logic anymore.”        Feldmann said he is not an American citizen and his reactions were not at all intended to be political.       Referring to President Biden’s response to the crisis, the rabbi said, “From an unexpected actor a light emerged when the president of the United States spoke.       “Old, tired, aged, for some discredited, suddenly his old age became alive and his emotional self became his grace and power. He spoke with feeling and reason. He named everything by its name. He supported Israel without dissimulation or ambiguity and without obligatory diagonals due to political correctness.”       Calling Biden “a politician of the 20th Century rather than the 21st,” Feldmann said Biden “spoke with solid, formidable empathy.        “He did not talk like a politician,” he said. “He did not talk about dollars that he will send or bills that he signed, about things or numbers, he said everything that matters to us Jews, Israeli and decent people around the world with real empathy.        “His speech was a clear statement of Jewish history and Zionism without entering into lectures or lengthy heights. We Jews have our homeland and it is the only one we have. And that is our secret weapon.        ‘Many things will happen, hardships. Many words will be said and tragically, even more blood will be spilled and more boys and girls in the prime of life will fall. I am left with the message of an old man who turned his old age into a voice and his old emotion into a message that is clearer, fresher and more outstanding than all the evanescent marasmus you can read or hear.  “He said it as an old president of a decent U.S.A. and with a decent world of yesteryear that seemed suppressed by the progressive academy that he has  obeyed so often. His was a hug to the people of Israel, which in the context of these times we live in was as miraculous as it was powerful.”       Feldmann said the Israeli Defense Forces are acting professionally in the frame of their ethical doctrine.        “They won’t target civilians, but they will make sure that every single Hamas member and sympathizer complicit in the crimes against humanity committed against the Jewish people and Israel will be hunted down no matter if above the ground or below the ground,” he said. “That’s why it is urging Gaza citizens to move to the south of the territory.       “The IDF has to destroy the huge subterranean city called the Metro. It will be horrible and civilians will die no matter how careful the IDF is, but there is no alternative. The people of Israel must defend themselves.       “Perhaps the old decency of truly empathizing is the way out of the Orwellian nightmare we live in as a globalized, bubbling humanity. May God help us recover it and give us the courage to illuminate it inside us so that we can all perceive it and finally light it inside, powerfully.”