Sunday, 11 April 2010

The Value of One Pita...

What's a Pita worth to you? How about if it were during Pesach? What takes precedence in your mind then (Pesach or Pita?) Is it just "days gone by" when the Jewish people simply had to follow the Torah's rules, or are they relevant to us today? Could the eating of one Pita really make the difference in anyone's life today - even if it were being eaten on Pesach?! How many lives could we possibly save - how much goodness could we bring into the world - if we simply refrained from eating a Pita on Pesach? How many lives could actually be destroyed from eating a Pita on Pesach?!

Do we ever stop to consider the real ramifications of our strength in following the Torah as a guide in life - as opposed to the often detrimental consequences from going against it (G-d forbid)? So many of us are crying out for a better world. STOP THE WARS... we shout out. 

The Torah is our ultimate guide to life. In fact, eating a Pita on Pesach can well make the difference to the lives of thousands... That choice (when it comes to eating that Pita then), a choice which shows an apathetic attitude to acknowledging that there really is a Creator of the world can truly mark the difference of bringing life into this world - or G-d forbid, taking it away.

The following story was recently written up in a newsletter of Manhigut Yehudit.

"In the first Lebanon War in 1982, the IDF essentially forced the PLO terror organization out of Lebanon and into exile in Tunisia. The PLO was in complete disarray. One of the prisoners in the Israeli detention camp, Ansar, was a senior terrorist, admired by his henchmen. His name was Salah Taamari and he was a broken man.

In the book about Taamari, Mine Enemy, penned by Israeli journalists Amalia and Aharon Barnea, Taamari told Barnea of the transformation he underwent in Ansar. While in prison, he had completely despaired of any hope that the Palestinians would one day realize any of their territorial dreams. He was ready to renounce the struggle and was well on the way to convincing his prison-mates that they would never defeat Israel. 

Then, one Passover, he witnessed a Jewish prison guard eating a pita. Taamari was shocked, and asked his jailer how he could so unashamedly eat bread on Passover. 

The Jew replied: "I feel no obligation to events that occurred to my nation over 2,000 years ago. I have no connection to that." 

That entire night Taamari could not sleep. He thought to himself: "A nation whose members have no connection to their past, and are capable of so openly transgressing their most important laws, has cut off all its roots to the Land." 

He concluded that the Palestinians could, in fact, achieve all their goals. From that moment, he determined "to fight for everything - not a percentage, not some crumbs that the Israelis might throw us - but for everything. Because opposing us is a nation that has no connection to its roots, which are no longer of interest to it." 

Taamari goes on to relate how he shared this insight with "tens of thousands of his colleagues, and all were convinced." 

Taamari did indeed convince his co-terrorists and breathed new life into the war against Israel. It is hard to exaggerate the damage done by the pita in the mouth of just one Israeli prison guard on the holiday of Passover."

Today's modern "leaders" of Israel are comfortable dining out and keeping "good" company with the rest of the "leaders" of the world - even if it means eating completely non-Kosher. Isn't the main thing to simply fit it, be a part of modern society? Why be different?! Surely we need to show our ability to easily integrate into the lifestyles of others - to become mixed with them, to follow their ways. Surely this will bring peace?

So, what's the value of a Pita to you? Can it make the difference between life and death? Can it make the difference in making this world a better place? That decision, I leave for the reader.

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