Friday, September 5, 2014

Bringing Light Into A 'Hall Of Perfect Darkness'

Political Theatre

Shabbat Candle Lighting
Credit: Lubavitch

The United Nations started off with good intentions, replacing the League of Nations, which failed for similar reasons that the U.N. now uncomfortably finds itself in, namely, an inability to abide by its charter and mandate.  The U.N., however, was founded on good principles; one of the chief architects of the Genocide Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is Ralphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew, a lawyer, who emigrated to New York City in 1941. He is credited for coming up with the term "genocide."

But this assembly has other interests, and disregards, ignores if you will, its human rights charter and its founding mandate at the expense of truth and justice. As a case in point, this institution spends an inordinate amount of time finding fault and condemning one tiny state—Israel—while ignoring the many violations of human rights and war crimes from the many other states.

If any other nation, including my own of Canada, would be as scrutinized and put under the lens of opprobrium and mock moral outrage that Israel has been for decades, it would conclude, as Israel has, that the U.N. is not only unfair but a perverse body—not a place where truth or justice will ever be found. In short, the U.N. is a bully, but a weak one.

I came across this article (  recently, which is a speech that Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave at the 92nd Steet Y in New York City on September 24, 2009; it describes an event twenty-five years earlier, when Netanyahu was the ambassador to Israel and his encounter with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, during the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah in 1984 

Netanyahu says in "Truth vs. Darkness in the United Nations":
Then something happened that I will never forget to the end of my life. The Rebbe and his brother-in-law, I think they were both approaching eighty at the time, each took a Sefer Torah, a Torah scroll. They went to the center of the hall, surrounded by all the chassidim.
There was a light shining from the ceiling that bathed them in a pool of light.

I saw these two old bearded Jews dancing in a circle of light with a Torah. I felt the strength of generations, the power of our traditions, our faith and our people.

The Rabbi said many things to me that night. But he said one big thing.

He said, "You will go into a house of lies," that's how he referred to a particular institution.

He said, "Remember that in a hall of perfect darkness, if you light one small candle, its precious light will be seen from afar, by everyone. Your mission is to light a candle for truth and for the Jewish people."

That is what I have tried to do ever since.

This is what we are all asked to do.
Amen and amen.

Darkness covers; light reveals, and even a little light can repel the darkness and reveal. When Jewish women around the world light shabbat candles, as they will all do before sundown tonight, they bring some light and warmth into this world. Shabbat shalom to everyone who is seeking it.