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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Mitzvah, Yeah...

This morning, while shopping for a bit of food, I was delayed somewhat in the check out line.
I sighed, "So what else is new?"
Time seemed suspended as an elderly lady debated something with the cashier.
She had what looked like a coupon of some sort in her hand.
The fellow in front of me held two loaves of bread, some milk, cereal, lunch meat and some snacks in a blue plastic hand-carrier.
" I bet you thought you were going to get right in and out, eh?" I smiled.
There were three of us in the store and time was passing as the cashier called for assistance over the intercom.
The man had brown hair, graying at the temples, horn- rimmed glasses and a peaceful expression.
He shifted the carrier to his other hand, “Are you Jewish?”, he asked.
The question sort of surprised me, “Why do you ask?” I queried.
He said, “You look Jewish.”
I didn't know exactly what he meant, but I said “I am.”
He stuck his hand out to shake.
We shook hands. “Are you Jewish?” I asked in turn.
“I am.” he replied.
“Cool.” I responded.
He smiled, “So how are we doing?” He asked.
“oh, I guess we're doing okay, there's still a lot of Antisemitism, but it's not as bad as it could be.
The Arabs are still terrorizing Israel...but Jews have made gains, again, it's not as bad as it might be.”
He looked into my eyes”How are you doing?”
“I'm doing okay, I'm keeping my head below water,keeping the wolf at the door. You know, as long as you have your health, your family...”
He smiled again, “Are you going to lend me some money?”
He seemed like a gentle man asking what seemed an odd question.
“No,” I said, “ I don't really have it. I'm in sort of a trough.”
He looked at me again, “What's a trough?”
“A low spot, financially. A slight depression.”
He ran a slender hand through his graying hair, “Are you a lawyer?”
“No. I'm not as lawyer.”
He sighed, “I am. I'm a lawyer.”
He said his name was John just as the cashier indicated the elderly lady had finally done her business.
The cashier said, “How are you today?” and proceeded to ring up his items.
He gave her a couple of dollars for herself and gestured to the items, “This is my mitzvah for today. My neighbors are having some money problems. I thought this might help a little.” He looked at me with a warm smile, “Could you use a few bucks?”
“No, thanks, I'm ok. It's kind of you to offer though.”
We exchanged pleasantries and went our separate ways.
But he got me thinking of mitzvahs.
So here is mine.
Its about hope.
Its about hope that people will rise above pettiness, and ignorance, and prejudice, and do as these Arabs have done.
There is a web site called Arabs for Israel
which I discovered by typing the words “Arabs” for Israel into the Google search box, just wishing to know if there were any Arabs for Israel.
The site touched my heart.
Now here I am speaking to Arabs who wind up on this site, which lately, a few have, listen to these wise gentle words.
The middle-east is so morally bankrupt, yet it has the ability to turn around completely, not only to take its rightful place in the community of nations, but to be a leader of the world community.
The Jews are ready, nay, eager, to work with the Arabs to lift everyone up, to have peace and love and prosperity.
Here is an excerpt from the Arabs for Israel Web Site:
Who We Are

Who Are We?
We are Arabs and Moslems who believe:
We can support Israel and still support the Palestinian people. Supporting one does not cancel support for the other.
We can support the State of Israel and the Jewish religion and still treasure our Arab and Islamic culture.
There are many Jews and Israelis who freely express compassion and support for the Palestinians. We Arabs also express reciprocal compassion and support.
The existence of the State of Israel is a fact that we accept.
Israel is a legitimate state that is not a threat but an asset in the Middle East.
Every major World religion has a center of gravity. Islam has Mecca, and Judaism certainly deserves its presence in Israel and Jerusalem.
Diversity is a virtue not only in the USA, but would be beneficial around the world. We support a diverse Middle East with protection for human rights, respect and equality under the law to all minorities, including Jews and Christians.
Palestinians have several options but are deprived from exercising them because of their leadership, the Arab League and surrounding Arab and Moslem countries who have other goals besides seeing Palestinians live in harmony with Israel.
If Palestinians want democracy they can start practicing it now.
It will benefit Arabs to end the boycott of Israel.
We can resolve our conflicts using non-violent means. Sending our young people on suicide/homicide missions as a form of Jihad is a distortion of Islam. We can do better.
We are appalled by the horrific act of terror against the USA on 9/11/2001.
It will be better for Arabs when the Arab media ends the incitement and misinformation that result in Arab street rage and violence. We support the Arab media providing coverage of ways that people of all religions are and can live together in harmony.
We are eager to see major reformation in how Islam is taught and channeled to bring out the best in Moslems and contribute to the uplifting of the human spirit and advancement of civilization.
We believe in freedom to choose or change one’s Religion.
We cherish and acknowledge the beauty and contributions of the Middle East culture, but recognize that the Arab/Moslem world is in desperate need of constructive self-criticism and reform.
We seek dialogue with Israel. We invite you to join us on a path of love.
We are NOT:
Anti-Islam, Anti-Arab, confrontational or hateful.
We remember with deep sadness and respect the brave Arabs, known and unknown, who were killed or severely punished for promoting peace with Israel; a special thanks to President Anwar Sadat of Egypt who was killed at the hands of Militant and Radical Islamists after he signed the peace treaty with Israel.
We salute and commend Arab and Moslem writers, scholars and speakers, who found the strength, commitment and honesty in their hearts to speak out in support of Israel. We thank you for being the pioneers that you are and for holding such sophisticated and advanced views in the realm of Arab and Moslem thinking. You are inspiring us all.
ARABS AND MOSLEMS WHO WISH TO POST THEIR VIEWS IN SUPPORT OF ISRAEL CAN DO SO BY EMAILING US. WE WILL THEN POST THEM ANONYMOUSLY, IF THEY WISH. Please send all correspondence to: nonie@arabsforisrael.com
Quran:28:4 Behold, Pharaoh exalted himself in the land and divided its people into castes. Asad(28,3) [3] One group of them he deemed utterly low (The Children of Israel); he would slaughter their sons and spare (only) their women: Asad(28,4) [4] for, behold, he was one of those who spread corruption [on earth].
Quran: 28:5 And We (G-d) wished to be Gracious to those (The Children of Israel) who were being depressed in the land, to make them guiding lights for others and make them heirs.
A message from T.Hamid: If G-d himself wants to be gracious to the Children of Israel should not I also be Gracious to them! May G-d bless them all and keep them for the world to make it better and better.
Israel in the Quran
2:47 Children of Israel! call to mind the favour which I bestowed upon you, and that I preferred you to all other nations. 2:122 O Children of Israel! call to mind the favor which I bestowed upon you, and that I preferred you to all other nations.
7:137 And We made the children of Israel, who were considered weak (and of no account), inheritors of lands in both east and west, - lands whereon We sent down Our blessings. The fair promise of thy Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel, because they had patience and constancy, and We leveled to the ground the great works and fine buildings which Pharaoh and his people erected (with such pride). 17:104 And We said thereafter to the Children of Israel, "Dwell securely in the land of promise": 10:93 We settled the Children of Israel in a beautiful dwelling-place, and provided for them sustenance of the best: it was after knowledge had been granted to them.
20:80 O ye Children of Israel! We delivered you from your enemy, and We made a Covenant with you to give you the right side (the blessed side) of Mount Sinai, and We sent down to you Manna (special food) and quails.
26:59 Thus it was, but We made the Children of Israel inheritors of such things (the promised land)
45:16 We did aforetime grant to the Children of Israel the Book the Power of Command, and Prophet hood; We gave them, for Sustenance, things good and pure; and We favored them above all other nations.
44: 32 And We have chosen them (the Children of Israel) above the 'Alamîn (mankind, and jinns) and our choice was based on a deep knowledge.
32.23] And certainly We gave the Book to Moses, so be not in doubt concerning the receiving of it, and We made it a guide for the children of Israel.[32.24] And We made of them Guiding Lights and leaders to guide by Our command as they were patient, and they were certain of Our communications.
[17:104] And we said to the Children of Israel afterwards, “ scatter and live all over the world…and when the end of the world is near we will gather you again into the Promised Land”.
(Comment : This last verse proves that the Quran is declaring that it is the will of G-d himself to gather the children of Israel again in their promised land before the end days. Accordingly, No Muslim has the right to interfere with gathering the Jews in Israel again as this is the will of G-d himself. In addition, Honest analysis of the Quranic verses above leads to the conclusion that the West Bank and Gaza are better called the “occupied” Israeli land.
Tarek Hamid
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