Israel Forever

For the week ending 9 June 2012 / 18 Sivan 5772

Summer of Discontent

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

"The people took to seeking complaints; it was evil in the ears of G-d." (Bamidbar 11:1)

The “people” to which this passage refers, comments Rashi, were the wicked who sought an excuse for abandoning G-d.

As Israelfaces its second "summer of discontent" and the renewal of protest demonstrations, it is worthwhile reflecting on the subtle sources of the complaints of the demonstrators.

While there is certainly cause for some of the complaints about the high cost of living and the lack of affordable housing, it is interesting to note that we do not find members of the religious populace taking to the streets to criticize the government. Perhaps it is only when material well-being is the only concern is one motivated to become almost militant in demanding better conditions.

What is particularly disturbing about these demonstrations and the government's response is the attempt to make a sector of the community the scapegoat by complaining that it places Torah study above participation in the nation's security and economy. Such malicious and unfounded complaints, as the above passage concludes, are inevitably "heard by G-d and cause His wrath to flare."

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