Friday, July 14, 2006

Zreezus and Public Enemy #1


Have you ever had the opportunity to do a mitzvah, but you tarried, and lost the opportunity?

For example, somebody at the dinner table asks for the salt, but the salt is not on the table. Nobody moves. You're thinking, "I hope someone else gets up to get it..."

Still no one moves.

You're thinking, "I've worked hard this week. I'm tired. Someone else should get up."

Finally the person who asked for the salt gets up and goes to look for it. You feel a mixture of relief that you didn't have to get up and shame that you didn't get up.

"Zreezus" or "zreezut" is the zeal to do a mitzvah. The best way to teach kids to act with zreezus is to praise them massively when they do it.

Public Enemy #1

Speaking of zreezus, sometimes the consequences of not acting are so painful that we are goaded into acting.

Take the example of Public Enemy #1. They are bombarding our cities and Israel tries to stop them. France says, "Show restraint, Israel!" Who is a greater danger to the world, Israel or France?

Regardless of what the world says, Israel will do what any other country would do, that is, everything possible to destroy Lebanon’s and Gaza’s ability to fire deadly missiles at Israelis.

1. The Problem

The photo below (CNN) is a supermarket where our friends in Sefat shop(ped).

It was hit by an explosive rocket fired in an unprovoked attack from Lebanon. In fact, nearly 1,000 missiles have been fired at northern Israel in the past 2 days.

2. The Root of the Problem

As reported in today’s New York Times:

In Beirut’s Shiite-dominated southern suburbs, where residents handed out sweets to celebrate the seizures of the Israeli soldiers on Wednesday, residents supported Hezbollah, a Shiite group with close ties to Iran, and insisted that they were ready to sacrifice for the cause. Many pledged their allegiance to Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader. “If things did not escalate to this, nothing would ever be solved,” said Rania al-Faris as she waited for a bus.

But in many other parts of the city, many expressed indignation at having to pay for what they saw as a ruinous escapade. “I’m not anxious because I guess I am just used to war,” admitted Sirine Ahmad, 47, as she stocked up on supplies in the religiously mixed Hamra section. “But this time I feel bitterness, anger and rage because Hezbollah does not have the right to decide to take us back into war.”

3. The Real Problem?

As reported by MS-NBC, the Center for Religious Freedom in Washington has published a study of Saudi textbooks used during the past school year. These textbooks teach that:

* Jews and Christians are "enemies" of Muslims.
* Every religion other than Islam is "false."
* "The hour [of Judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them."
* Jews are "apes" and Christians are "swine."

MS-NBC reports that some of these lessons are finding their way into the Moslem community of Ontario, which may have led to the recent near-attack in Toronto by a group of young people.

These people are acting with zreezus. What do we do about it? Do we sit back and hope someone else will get up from the table and do something?

Shabbat Shalom.


Anonymous said...

About zreezus, my college finance class was learning about the time value of money recently--a dollar earned today is worth more than a dollar earned tomorrow (since you can invest it, or because of inflation, etc). I was thinking about "the time value of a mitzvah"--a mitzvah done NOW is worth more than a mitzvah done later--you already start "earning interest" on the mitzvah, and put yourself on a constructive path of "mitzvah gorreres mitzvah" one mitzvah leading to the next. Why delay that invaluable opportunity? Plus, how do we know the mitzva really will be available later?

Rabbi Seinfeld said...

Beautifully said.