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Community Blog While Standing on One Foot: A Compassion Practice

By Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

I have spent the last week grieving privately. Horrified — nauseated, actually — by the two murders that took place in Israel last week.

The first victim: Shira Banki, a 16-year-old girl, stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox Jew at the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem last week. She succumbed to her wounds this past Sunday morning.  Five other young people were injured in the attack.

The second victim: Ali Dawabsheh, an 18-month-old from a Palestinian village in the West Bank, burned in a fire set to his house, presumably an act of terrorism by religious nationalist extremists. The other members of the Dawabsheh family are still fighting for their lives due to injuries sustained in the fire.

The two murders have left me — and so many people I know — feeling speechless with horror. Some statements have been issued, some speeches have been made, some blogs have been posted, but, as far as I can tell, the response has been chillingly quiet.

Perhaps there is something important about the quiet itself. We really don’t know what to say. Or anything we might say feels inadequate in the face of these two murders — both victims, children.

Then I woke up this morning and read an op-ed by the Israeli writer Etgar Keret. He described going to a demonstration in Tel Aviv with his 9-year-old son — a demonstration protesting the murderous attack on the Dawabsheh home and family. He described the disturbingly low turnout at the rally, the relatively small numbers of people who had made the effort to show up, to express outrage at this latest expression of religious extremism by “one of our own.” The article ended with the voice of another child — Keret’s own son — who was puzzled. Where was everyone? They must be on their way. 

To his mind, every person who believes that the murder of children and the stabbing of innocent people are wrong should come out to demonstrate against those acts. As he sees it, there should be millions of such people in our country, millions. If people haven’t arrived yet, he insists, it’s only because something’s holding them up. Maybe their kid can’t find his shoes or the babysitter is late. It’s only a matter of time until they come, that’s clear.

“Let’s wait a little longer,” he said, placing his small hand in mine. “Another tiny little bit, just until they come.”

Keret’s response, poignantly ambiguous, was evasive and deeply honest all at once:

“The only answer I managed to mumble: It’s late already and it might take a long time, a really long time, for all the people who should be in the square to make their way here.”

In memory of Shira Banki and Ali Dawabsheh, and in honor of the haunting question asked by Etgar Keret’s 9-year-old son, I want to extend a simple invitation.

Two thousand years ago, a gentile came to Rabbi Hillel and said, “Teach me the Torah while standing on one foot.”

Hillel’s response is well known: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. The rest is commentary. Go and learn.”

I’d like to invite you — whoever and wherever you are — to consider turning this teaching into a daily practice.

Stand on one foot, and recite the words: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.”

Lean on something or someone if you need to. Do it alone or with other people. Say it in whatever language you want — whatever language speaks to your heart. Say it when you rise up in the morning or when you lie down at night, when you’re in your house or walking on your way.

Try it once. Try it once a day from now until Yom Kippur. Try it, with me, once a day for a year.

Take a picture. Shoot a video. Record yourself saying the words. If you’re willing, please share it widely, in any way you can imagine. And if you share it, consider tagging Hebrew College on Facebook and using the hashtag #ononefoot so we can help spread the word.

Perhaps, with practice, we can take Hillel’s words more deeply into our hearts.

Perhaps these words will help us find other ways to show up.

The children are waiting.

Deep gratitude to Rabbi Lila Veissid, Rab’11, for making this blogpost available to a Hebrew-speaking audience.

בשבוע‭ ‬האחרון‭ ‬התאבלתי‭ ‬לבדי‭, ‬מזועזעת‭, ‬בתחושת‭ ‬בחילה‭, ‬משני‭ ‬מעשי‭ ‬הרצח‭ ‬שהתרחשו‭ ‬בישראל‭ ‬בשבוע‭ ‬שעבר‭.‬

הקרבן‭ ‬הראשון‭. ‬שירה‭ ‬בנקי‭, ‬נערה‭ ‬בת‭ ‬שש‭ ‬עשרה‭, ‬נדקרה‭ ‬על‭-‬ידי‭ ‬יהודי‭ ‬חרדי‭ ‬במצעד‭ ‬הגאווה‭ ‬בירושלים‭ ‬בשבוע‭ ‬שעבר‭. ‬היא‭ ‬נפטרה‭ ‬מפצעיה‭ ‬ביום‭ ‬ראשון‭ ‬בבוקר‭. ‬חמישה‭ ‬צעירים‭ ‬אחרים‭ ‬נפצעו‭ ‬בהתקפה‭.‬

הקרבן‭ ‬השני‭. ‬עלי‭ ‬דוואבשה‭, ‬תינוק‭ ‬בן‭ ‬שנה‭ ‬וחצי‭ ‬מכפר‭ ‬פלסטיני‭ ‬בגדה‭ ‬המערבית‭, ‬שנשרף‭ ‬למוות‭ ‬בביתו‭ ‬שהוצת‭, ‬לכאורה‭ ‬בפעולת‭ ‬טרור‭ ‬של‭ ‬קיצונים‭ ‬דתיים‭ ‬לאומנים‭. ‬יתר‭ ‬בני‭ ‬משפחת‭ ‬דוואבשה‭ ‬עדיין‭ ‬נלחמים‭ ‬על‭ ‬חייהם‭ ‬בעקבות‭ ‬פציעתם‭ ‬בשריפה‭.‬

שני‭ ‬מעשי‭ ‬הרצח‭ ‬הותירו‭ ‬אותי‭, ‬ורבים‭ ‬ממכרי‭, ‬נטולי‭ ‬מילים‭ ‬לנוכח‭ ‬הזוועה‭. ‬נמסרו‭ ‬הצהרות‭, ‬היו‭ ‬נאומים‭, ‬פורסמו‭ ‬כמה‭ ‬בלוגים‭. ‬אבל‭ ‬למיטב‭ ‬הבנתי‭ ‬התגובה‭ ‬הייתה‭ ‬שקטה‭ ‬להחריד‭. ‬

אולי‭ ‬יש‭ ‬משהו‭ ‬חשוב‭ ‬בשקט‭ ‬עצמו‭. ‬כי‭ ‬באמת‭ ‬איננו‭ ‬יודעים‭ ‬מה‭ ‬לומר‭. ‬או‭ ‬שכל‭ ‬דבר‭ ‬שנאמר‭ ‬יהיה‭ ‬לא‭ ‬הולם‭ ‬למול‭ ‬שתי‭ ‬הרציחות‭ ‬הללו‭, ‬ושני‭ ‬הקרבנות‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬ילדים‭.‬

ואז‭ ‬התעוררתי‭ ‬הבוקר‭ ‬וקראתי‭ ‬מאמר‭ ‬שפרסם‭ ‬אתגר‭ ‬קרת‭. ‬הוא‭ ‬תיאר‭ ‬כיצד‭ ‬הלך‭ ‬להפגנה‭ ‬בתל‭ ‬אביב‭ ‬עם‭ ‬בנו‭ ‬בן‭ ‬התשע‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬עצרת‭ ‬מחאה‭ ‬כנגד‭ ‬ההתקפה‭ ‬הרצחנית‭ ‬על‭ ‬משפחה‭ ‬דוואבשה‭ ‬וביתה‭. ‬הוא‭ ‬תיאר‭ ‬את‭ ‬מספר‭ ‬המשתתפים‭ ‬הנמוך‭ ‬באופן‭ ‬מדאיג‭, ‬את‭ ‬המספר‭ ‬הקטן‭ ‬יחסית‭ ‬של‭ ‬אנשים‭ ‬שטרחו‭ ‬להגיע‭, ‬להביע‭ ‬זעם‭ ‬על‭ ‬הקיצוניות‭ ‬הדתית‭ ‬שביטא‭ “‬אחד‭ ‬משלנו‭”. ‬המאמר‭ ‬הסתיים‭ ‬בקולו‭ ‬של‭ ‬ילד‭ ‬אחר‭, ‬בנו‭ ‬של‭ ‬קרת‭, ‬שהיה‭ ‬מבולבל‭. ‬איפה‭ ‬כולם‭? ‬הם‭ ‬בטח‭ ‬בדרך. ‬

‭”‬לדעתו‭, ‬כל‭ ‬מי‭ ‬שמאמין‭ ‬שאסור‭ ‬לרצוח‭ ‬ילדים‭ ‬ולדקור‭ ‬אנשים‭ ‬חפים‭ ‬מפשע‭ ‬צריך‭ ‬לצאת‭ ‬להפגין‭ ‬נגד‭ ‬מעשים‭ ‬כאלה‭. ‬כפי‭ ‬שהוא‭ ‬רואה‭ ‬את‭ ‬זה‭, ‬צריכים‭ ‬להיות‭ ‬מיליוני‭ ‬אנשים‭ ‬כאלה‭ ‬בארץ‭, ‬מיליונים‭. ‬אם‭ ‬אנשים‭ ‬עוד‭ ‬לא‭ ‬הגיעו‭, ‬הוא‭ ‬מתעקש‭, ‬זה‭ ‬בטח‭ ‬בגלל‭ ‬שמשהו‭ ‬מעכב‭ ‬אותם‭. ‬אולי‭ ‬הילד‭ ‬שלהם‭ ‬לא‭ ‬מצליח‭ ‬למצוא‭ ‬את‭ ‬הנעליים‭ ‬שלו‭, ‬או‭ ‬שהבייביסיטר‭ ‬מאחרת‭. ‬זה‭ ‬רק‭ ‬עניין‭ ‬של‭ ‬זמן‭ ‬עד‭ ‬שהם‭ ‬יגיעו‭, ‬זה‭ ‬ברור‭. ‬

בוא‭ ‬נחכה‭ ‬עוד‭ ‬קצת‭, ‬הוא‭ ‬אמר‭, ‬ושם‭ ‬את‭ ‬ידו‭ ‬הקטנה‭ ‬בידי‭. ‬עוד‭ ‬טיפונת‭, ‬רק‭ ‬עד‭ ‬שהם‭ ‬יגיעו‭.”‬

תשובתו‭ ‬של‭ ‬קרת‭, ‬דו‭-‬משמעית‭ ‬במתכוון‭, ‬הייתה‭ ‬מתחמקת‭ ‬וכנה‭ ‬גם‭ ‬יחד‭: “‬התשובה‭ ‬היחידה‭ ‬שהצלחתי‭ ‬למלמל‭ ‬הייתה‭: ‬כבר‭ ‬מאוחר‭, ‬וזה‭ ‬עלול‭ ‬לקחת‭ ‬המון‭ ‬זמן‭, ‬ממש‭ ‬המון‭ ‬זמן‭, ‬עד‭ ‬שכל‭ ‬האנשים‭ ‬שצריכים‭ ‬להיות‭ ‬בכיכר‭ ‬יגיעו‭ ‬לכאן‭.”‬

לזכר‭ ‬שירה‭ ‬בנקי‭ ‬ועלי‭ ‬דוואבשה‭, ‬ולכבוד‭ ‬השאלה‭ ‬הקשה‭ ‬של‭ ‬בנו‭ ‬בן‭ ‬התשע‭ ‬של‭ ‬אתגר‭ ‬קרת‭, ‬אני‭ ‬רוצה‭ ‬לפרסם‭ ‬פה‭ ‬הזמנה‭ ‬פשוטה‭.‬

לפני‭ ‬אלפיים‭ ‬שנה‭, ‬בא‭ ‬נכרי‭ ‬אחד‭ ‬להלל‭ ‬הזקן‭ ‬ואמר‭ ‬לו‭: “‬למד‭ ‬אותי‭ ‬את‭ ‬כל‭ ‬התורה‭ ‬בעודני‭ ‬עומד‭ ‬על‭ ‬רגל‭ ‬אחת‭.” ‬תשובתו‭ ‬של‭ ‬הלל‭ ‬מוכרת‭ ‬מאד‭: “‬מה‭ ‬ששנוא‭ ‬עליך‭, ‬לא‭ ‬תעשה‭ ‬לחברך‭. ‬והיתר‭ ‬הוא‭ ‬פירוש‭, ‬צא‭ ‬ולמד‭.”‬

אני‭ ‬רוצה‭ ‬להזמין‭ ‬אתכם‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬מי‭ ‬שאתם‭, ‬באשר‭ ‬אתם‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬להפוך‭ ‬את‭ ‬השיעור‭ ‬הזה‭ ‬לתרגול‭ ‬רוחני‭ ‬יומי‭. ‬עמדו‭ ‬על‭ ‬רגל‭ ‬אחת‭, ‬ואמרו‭ ‬את‭ ‬המילים‭: “‬מה‭ ‬ששנוא‭ ‬עליך‭, ‬לא‭ ‬תעשה‭ ‬לחברך‭.” ‬אתם‭ ‬יכולים‭ ‬להישען‭ ‬על‭ ‬משהו‭, ‬או‭ ‬על‭ ‬מישהו‭, ‬אם‭ ‬יש‭ ‬צורך‭. ‬אתם‭ ‬יכולים‭ ‬לעשות‭ ‬זאת‭ ‬לבד‭ ‬או‭ ‬עם‭ ‬עוד‭ ‬אנשים‭. ‬לומר‭ ‬את‭ ‬המילים‭ ‬בכל‭ ‬שפה‭ ‬שתרצו‭. ‬בכל‭ ‬שפה‭ ‬שמדברת‭ ‬אל‭ ‬ליבכם‭. ‬אמרו‭ ‬זאת‭ ‬בקומכם‭ ‬בבוקר‭ ‬או‭ ‬בשכבכם‭ ‬לישון‭ ‬בלילה‭, ‬בביתכם‭ ‬או‭ ‬בלכתכם‭ ‬בדרך‭.‬

נסו‭ ‬זאת‭ ‬פעם‭ ‬אחת‭. ‬נסו‭ ‬זאת‭ ‬פעם‭ ‬אחת‭ ‬ביום‭, ‬מעכשיו‭ ‬ועד‭ ‬יום‭ ‬כיפור‭. ‬נסו‭ ‬זאת‭ ‬יחד‭ ‬איתי‭, ‬פעם‭ ‬ביום‭, ‬למשך‭ ‬שנה‭. ‬

צלמו‭ ‬את‭ ‬עצמכם‭. ‬הסריטו‭ ‬בוידיאו‭. ‬הקליטו‭ ‬את‭ ‬עצמכם‭ ‬אומרים‭ ‬את‭ ‬המילים‭. ‬אם‭ ‬תרצו‭, ‬שתפו‭ ‬בכל‭ ‬דרך‭ ‬שתעלה‭ ‬בדעתכם‭. ‬ואם‭ ‬תשתפו‭, ‬אולי‭ ‬תתייגו‭ ‬את‭ ‬Hebrew College on Facebook‭ ‬ותשתמשו‭ ‬בהאשטאג‭ #‬ononefoot‭ ‬כדי‭ ‬שנוכל‭ ‬להפיץ‭ ‬את‭ ‬העניין‭.‬

אולי‭, ‬בעזרת‭ ‬אימון‭, ‬נוכל‭ ‬לקחת‭ ‬את‭ ‬מילותיו‭ ‬של‭ ‬הילל‭ ‬יותר‭ ‬עמוק‭ ‬ללב‭.‬

אולי‭ ‬המילים‭ ‬הללו‭ ‬יעזרו‭ ‬לנו‭ ‬למצוא‭ ‬דרכים‭ ‬אחרות‭ ‬להגיע‭. ‬הילדים‭ ‬מחכים‭.‬

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