Writing at Forward.com, pseudonymous Ploni Almoni begins by lauding praise upon the rabbi of her Orthodox synagogue. She thinks he’s great. She loves when he talks about the Torah. She’s such a fan, that she can even enjoy his appeals on Yom Kippur and the various Mazel Tov announcements.
But when her rabbi talks about politics, she wishes he “would just sit down and shut up.”
Not on every political point, of course. Jews “need to be sensitized to our connection to Israel” needless to say, and for this Ploni remains grateful for his insights. On pretty much every other political point he makes though, Ploni says her rabbi is “uniquely ill-informed” and, begging forgiveness, “totally wrong”.
Ploni doesn’t tell us what it is she disagrees with her rabbi on specifically, aside from some vague references to voting advice from this “learned person” whose “intelligence and insight” she otherwise deeply respects.
Whether it’s reminding Ploni that God was pretty specific about condemning homosexuality as an abomination, or pointing out that abusing the hospitality of their host countries has a track record of turning out poorly for the Jewish people, or something in between, it has Ploni so upset that she wants to “stand up and stomp out of the sanctuary in protest”.
This would cause quite the scene, writes Ploni, because, as the rabbi is well aware, she sits in the front row. So nobody would mistake the reason for her abrupt and dramatic departure. One imagines everyone in the congregation is entirely too well informed of Ploni’s political opinions, so that might also have something to do with their insight to the cause her protest.
Ploni’s pseudonym, she informs us, isn’t because she is embarrassed of her doubtlessly far Left political opinions. No Jew ever is, of course. She just doesn’t want to embarrass the rabbi.
Embarrassment will be the least of his problems though, she warns, if he won’t shut up about politics.
But if you utter one more word about how you want me to vote, I won’t come back to shul.
And how is it a good thing for you to alienate dedicated members of the shul like me? We will just end up going to another congregation where people think just like us, further contributing to the polarization of the Jewish people, the very same baseless hatred that has historically plagued us since the destruction of the Temple two thousand years ago.
Ah yes, there it is. You knew it was coming sooner or later.
Anti-Semitism, courtesy of the rabbi.
That infernal anti-Semitism really does rear its ugly head in the most pernicious of venues. It is a truly unique species of inescapable hatred. One which has followed this eternally victimized ethnic group everywhere they have ever existed, in every nook and cranny of the Earth, for millenia.
Even in their own synagogues, from their own religious leaders.
Needless to say, there is absolutely no reason for it, whatsoever. “Baseless” as Ploni puts it.
Ploni’s self assurance, hostility toward her religious leaders, and inexcusably willful ignorance of the complaints being made against her people, is frighteningly typical. Perhaps if Ploni and her coethnics paid more attention to their rabbis, this mysteriously stubborn trouble would not follow them across centuries and continents so reliably.
But, if two thousand years of hatred, the story of Hanukkah, World War II, expulsions, pogroms, synagogue shootings, and even an alleged attempt at genocide hasn’t taught them to shut up and listen by now, one doubts anything ever will. Ploni and people like her will blame Nazis, Christians, Muslims, various uncategorized goyim dogs, and even their own religious leaders for the eminently predictable consequences of their conspicuously repetitive actions, refusing to take any responsibility for their own behavior, until fate steps in, and compels their penance.
Perhaps it will come in the form of a charismatic political leader, perhaps in the form of an outraged host population, or perhaps as something more resembling the sort of wrath not witnessed since the stories of her beloved Torah.
But one thing is certain, people like Ploni will not inherit the Earth.
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