By Getzy Markowitz
This weekend, communities around the world will be discussing the story of two prominent Jews named Abraham. The first fled ancient Mesopotamia, the land of his father. He escaped with the core of monotheism and in the pursuit of G-d’s will. The second broke free from the Soviet motherland, following the path of providence and the dream of raising a family that would freely worship the G-d discovered by his biblical namesake.
Abraham the first set a high standard for generosity and hospitality, while his descendant stands as an exemplar of that excellence, par excellence. Both are patriarchs of celebrated dynasties. The first fathered the Jewish people. The second is father to one of its most beautiful families.
Essays require introductions, while Abraham and Avraham Aaron Rubashkin do not.
In a stirring moment, G-d promised our forefather that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars and sand. The Rubashkins are stars of the Jewish world. They are celebrities for just reasons, and shining examples of just people. Yet the promise alludes to the finest among us rising to stellar heights and others who stoop to filthy lows. It bespeaks people who would agonize for a stranger’s concerns and others who would antagonize them in spite of their loyalty.
To deny who the Rubashkins are and what they represent is madness. To decry this family based on uneducated assumptions is equally irresponsible. I bow my head in shame in light of many of my brethren’s preposterous posturing, and their assaults on this great family. However, as a Jew proud of my upright responsibility, I raise my head and voice to denounce those who would choose the lesser part of a divine promise. I announce my staunch support for people who support so many, and who are being abandoned and abused by their own.
Many of the published and private statements expressing unfavorable opinions of the Rubashkin family are nasty and foul. The originators would like us to agree with their obnoxious attitudes, but it is they themselves who are guilty of failing miserably at our nation’s moral calling.
Given their notable methods, I would say that the Rubashkins do not practice charity, but have perfected it. We are all children of Abraham, but the Rubashkins are some of the stars promised to him. Considering the disparity of minds and values in this contentious arena, they are galaxies away from many of their own. Others choose to soil their souls by lingering in dust. In their bitterness, the latter would like to see these stars fall, notwithstanding that they would be foolishly inviting a meteorite shower that would devastate part of their own world.
As an observant Jew, I am heedful of Almighty G-d’s three degrees of commandments. Judgments are requirements that our own judgment would necessitate. Testimonials are novel yet logical edicts. Human intelligence might not produce these laws, but would certainly understand them. Statutes are supra-rational laws that may transcend human logic, but are obeyed as the will of a transcendental G-d.
In my experience, people too can be divided into three groups. First, there are irrational people who are impenetrable and incorrigible. They could be the devout, but too often are those committed to condemning others. Second, there are reasonable people who can rationalize, as opposed to instantly demonize. Last, there are logical people who know right from wrong. They appreciate the goodness of others, and declare solidarity with them. I join and promote this group, and encourage the reasonable middle class. While I pray for the souls of the bitter first class, who act nothing like it.