Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ertas, a Sacred Place Below Ephrathah

Dear Jacob,

"As I was returning from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath." Genesis 48:7

Ephrathah. . . since you, Jacob, buried your well loved Rachel in this ground, it has been sacred. It was sacred to you because you lost the love of your life. Looking at it from my perspective, I'd say you lived a primitive life in which you treated women like property and you earned her with the sweat of your brow. I might be tempted to say you didn't really know love because you were a male chauvinist pig. But love is a funny thing and can even creep up on chauvinists in primitive cultures. So you loved her like you loved no other (even though there were others.) Of course the ground is sacred, like the ground where we work out all of our loves, like the homes where we live out those loves, and like the people with whom we stake out our paltry existences.

"I will not enter my house or get into my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Might One of Jacob. Lo, we heard it in Ephrathah, we came upon it in the fields of Jaar." Psalm 132:6

Ephrathah. . . it has been sacred since, here, David said he found a dwelling place for the LORD. David stayed up late over this. He wanted a home, a cozy place for God, and found it in Ephrathah. Of course it's sacred. Sacred and cozy.

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." Micah 5:2

Ephrathah. . . With every "Away in the Manger," we are reminder that this is holy ground. The cattle are lowing about it. Emmanuel set his flag right here on the sacred stones of Ephrathah. It doesn't get any better than this.

So, it is the sacredness then that makes it right to rape and pillage a land? Is it because God doesn't think apricots are sacred? And God's house, isn't it big enough for Palestinians too? Was Jesus, precious lamb, not serious when he said "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him."

"For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." Luke2:30-32

I'm afraid, brother Jacob, that the land is sacred no more. When humans embrace their own neighbors only with giant shovels and Caterpillars, it is death to the sacred. The place will be holy no more, for the light has gone out in Zion. The Lord will move his dwelling place to Ertas where he will sit with the sorrowful* and throw dust on his head.



*Note: the sorrowful include many Israeli people who join with the Palestinian owners of this land to protest the actions of the Israeli government and army.


Josh said...

I have difficulty with this. Obviously, tearing up this family's livlihood is a shame, and worth standing against the government for.

Is this a case of immanent domain (or whatever Israel has)? Is the family compensated, or simply displaced? Is it purely racially/ethnically motivated, or is there another, more necessary, motivation at play, or is this a case of government bureaucracy gone bad?

The linked article seems to be biased against the Israeli government; I did not see any attacks beyond that which was necessary to move a protester from a place impeding progress of the bulldozer.

Nonetheless, this is a shame. What recourse do they have?

brd said...

I have been tracking these events for five years now. The reality is that people who have owned and lived on land for generations are displaced and pushed into refugee situations without legitimate compensation, without being given alternatives in terms of livelihood or living space.

Of course Israel claims eminent domain. They have the power of army and arms. I know many women who have family still in Palestine. The stories they tell are sad and full of frustration. Pregnant women can't get to hospitals, villages can't get water, individuals can't cross walls to get to their places of business or eduation.

The story of Rachel Corrie is shown at this YouTube site. She was a young American woman who was protesting the uncompensated destruction of Palestinian homes. It is unbelievable that this is happening today in Israel, but it is. And the United States closes its eyes to the brutalities.

brd said...

Interesting blog on this general topic from Jewish Voice for Peace is called Muzzlewatch. This is a Jewish based organization. Many of the strongest advocates for change in the relationship between the peoples in Israel are Jewish.