Rosh Hodesh of the First Month 5764
The following was written at the mention of "Black-Jewish Relations Week at Princeton." IMHO, it is important that the relationships between the Jewish People and other peoples be re-examined from time to time.
It is within the nature of the Jewish people to be concerned with justice,... with fairness.
The extent of the involvement of Jews in the civil rights movement in the US [& other countries], the anti-appartheid movement in South Africa, and for that matter in the so-called human rights movement world wide, is well-known.
After all, it is written: "Tzedeq, tzedeq, tirdof..." - Justice, justice, you shall pursue..." (Deut. 16:20)
This verse is as much a part of us as the entire Torah, whether Jews realize it or not.
I'm not saying that Jews should not have been involved. I'm not saying that we should not have been supportive. I am saying that we need to be honest with ourselves about where it's gotten us.
Many Black leaders have, and continue to rewrite history. It's the Jews' fault for their continued oppression.
When an African-American donates money or volunteers time to an African-American charity or institution, he's participating in "self-empowerment." When a Jew does the same fo a Jewish organization, he's considered to be elitist or even racist.
In an attempt to appease other such communities, the Jew donates money and time to them. This kind of people-pleasing behavior is a common symptom of what is known as "codependence." The "die-hards" make a point of neglecting their own community, after all they do not see themselves as being worthy. This low self-esteem and compliance are additional symptoms of codependence. Codependence can be roughly defined as 'the dependence on external sources for the fulfillment of emotional needs and self-validation and worth.'
The Jewish identity is the next casualty. Jews neglect learning about their own heritage, try to make it "easier" by re-inventing it (ie the so-called movement of Judaism), or forsaking it all together (G-d forbid).
The cycle continues. Parents are unable to answer their children's basic questions about their heritage. And when it come to why they should marry a Jew or why should they care about Israel, they are at a total loss.
Rav Meir Kahane HY"D provides us with an extensive history of Jewish assimilation, the ultimate codependent act, in his book Listen World, Listen Jew. Through this book and others, he has helped many Jews break out of their codependence; he has returned to them their self-esteem and pride in their heritage.
Eventually, Jews who haven't learn any Torah before actually do. And in the process, they learn the rest of the verse:
"Justice, justice, you shall pursue, that you will live, and inherit the Land that G-d has given to you." (Deut. 16:20)
There is no justice unless we treat ourselves justly. We are worthy. HaShem has given us His Torah, and has given us our Land.
The only external validation we need comes from G-d, not from any other human community.