Armchair Zionists

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Excerpt from this day’s program:

…Israel-bashing has been common behavior since there was an Israel, I guess. This nation is unique in so many ways, one of them being the participation of so many of its people in the Jew-bashing style of the day.

In about the year 100, the classic Jewish prayer called the 18 Blessings was modified and a 19th clause was added that was no blessing but the opposite. In Rabbi Sachs’s Koren translation, “For the slanderers let there be no hope, and may wickedness perish in an instant. May all Your people’s enemies swiftly be cut down. May You swiftly uproot, crush, cast down and humble the arrogant swiftly in our days. Bless are You, Lord, who destroys enemies and humbles the arrogant.”

And his commentary calls the 19th “Against Informers.” “The original object was the sectarians that split the Jewish world during the late Second Temple period,” which description I find a bit too polite. In the Nusach Ashkenaz version, there is no reference to the minim/the sects but is there in Nusach Sefarad.

And for sure one of the hostile sects in mind at the time were the Christian Jews, as scholars call them, the first Christians who were all Jews living here for about a century with their drive to dejudaize the religion. They were perceived enough of a threat to trigger the insertion of this 19th clause meant to drive them from the synagogues. And in the end, after they truly betrayed the people they were born into by siding with Emperor Hadrian and his Romans in the Bar Kochva revolt, they were persona grata in Eretz Yisrael. And in fact turned to the gentiles to spread the new faith…