In the Names of their Fathers

I have noticed an amazing trend in recent years. It makes sense; it is natural and yet I wonder where it will take us and more, why it seems to fail more than it succeeds. More and more, Israel is seeing the second or third generations stepping forward to take the reigns of leadership. Natural, and yet, in most cases, the son is a pale image of the father.

The most obvious example today, is Avrum Burg who feels it beneficial to wear a kippah while breaking Shabbat. More, apparently he feels he has the knowledge to poskin, to give a Rabbinic judgment on the definition of Pikuah Nefesh for himself.

Pikuach Nefesh, saving a life, is one of the highest virtues of Judaism easily and universally placed above almost all other commandments. Yes, to save a life – yours or another’s – you can eat non-kosher food, break Shabbat, do almost anything…except three things that we hold more essential than life…and joining or showing support for a political party isn’t one of them.

Burg has decided that joining the “predominantly” Arab party, Hadash is his latest mitzvah [commandment]. The left wing, communist party had a meeting that Burg attended on the Jewish Sabbath because, says the self-crowned rabbi of the left, it was Pikuah Nefesh.

If Shabbat had been important to Burg, there were ways he could have still attended this vastly important Hate-Israel Festival that is the Hadash party convention and still kept the Sabbath. He could have stayed nearby; he could have asked for someone to host him. I can think of so many Jews throughout history who have done so much to honor and keep the Sabbath and Jewish holidays, walked great distances or missed important events.

In all honestly, I don’t really care what Burg does and think most Israelis are with me on this. He has long past the point of irrelevance in Israeli politics, and yet, his actions this Shabbat fill me with anger because in his self-centered actions, he has betrayed first and foremoest his parents – his mother, who survived the Hebron massacres in 1929 and his father, a well known Zionist, religious leader.

The fact that he chose to desecrate the Sabbath, and wore a kippah to boot is a sickening reminder that too often in politics, children use their parent’s name while betraying all that they stood for. In allowing himself to be used, and in using his image to make the anti-Israel Hadash party more attractive to left of left Israelis, Burg has crossed whatever red lines were left to him. The kippah on his head became a meaningless piece of tiny black cloth; his ties to anything of his parents strained to breaking as he stood before his chosen following.

That Burg dared to say his desecration was in the name of something holy is pure cowardice on his part. At least let him be man enough to admit his actions rather than attempt to twist wrong into right. He wants to join a party that is anti-Israel, that’s fine and likely where he belongs. But it Pikuach Nefesh and Hadash is not even in the realm of Israel.

And sadly, Burg isn’t the only one who is trading on his family name. Yitzhak Herzog is another. The greatness of Chaim Herzog will never be his.The eloquence and dignity of Chaim Herzog as he fought for Israel as Ambassador in the UN, does not live on in his son. As Israel’s 6th President, Chaim Herzog represented all of Israel, another thing his son will never be able to do after the harsh words he has spoken against large portions of the population.

And then there’s Miko Peled, who regularly trades on his father, General Yossi Peled’s name. Shamelessly, he criticizes Israel as he sleeps permanently in the camp of our enemies. Like Avrum Burg, Peled is a living embarrassment to the memory of his father.

These are men who came from greatness and spend their lives trying to achieve the same level at a time and in a way that makes it impossible. For their personal glory, they align themselves with the enemies of Israel and join in criticizing the actions of those who defend our land. In so many ways, they are mere shadows of their fathers, and in no way is this a compliment.

By contrast, to their credit, neither Benny Begin nor Yair Lapid play the father card. Whatever they seek to accomplish in their lives, at least they have the decency to make their way on their own ticket and their names belong to them.

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