There’s been plenty of chatter about the protests and regime-toppling going on in the Middle East and North Africa lately. Much of that (probably too much) has been coming from the US government, which seems to abhor a verbal vacuum of any kind, even if it doesn’t really know what to say. One friend on Facebook, an Islamophile, is delighted to see Mubarak overthrown, and bristles at the suggestion that the Muslim Brotherhood (which glorifies jihad and martyrdom as much as Hamas or Hizbullah) might highjack the revolution and create a new fundamentalist Islamic state.
While we all wish the Egyptian people well, and hope that this revolution succeeds in laying the foundation for the democracy, freedom, and increased standard of living that they want, it’s legitimate to have concerns about the possibility of a less desirable outcome. The peace with Israel has been a cold one, but maintained to a passable degree over the past 30 years. What happens to that peace under a new, as yet undetermined, regime is anyone’s guess.
A couple of weeks ago, our friend and teacher, Rav Binny Freedman, was about to give the weekly English language shiur at our shul. Before he began, he asked who sponsored the kiddush, and in honor or memory of whom. Our neighbor said it was in honor of two friends of hers, and she added, “And so that the events in Egypt should turn out well for the Jews.” Rav Binny chuckled, and observed that there is a tradition adhered to by the more chauvinistic Jews among us that everything that happens in the world is for the Jews. So even though we don’t know whether the outcome will be good or bad for the Egyptians, we are obliged to see it as good for us—it just depends on how. Will it be an easing of our lives by creating a stronger, friendlier, more cooperative neighbor who can perhaps help facilitate peace and stability across the region? Or will it restore a former enemy to our borders, giving us a kick in the pants? We watch and wait.
Sandy Cash, a Beit Shemesh friend and folk singer with a sharp wit, delightful sense of humor, and a knack for turn of phrase, churned out a song (from which the title of this post is taken) and video on this topic that she posted on YouTube, and that has gone viral in the last week. (She even got written up in last Friday’s Jerusalem Post.) For a little perspective, and a rueful (but much-needed) chuckle, here’s the song: