These words are being written shortly after Purim, the festival that celebrates G-d's "hiddenness" and His activity "behind the scenes," concealed within nature and history.   For this reason it is customary to wear masks and disguises on that day.

One must admit that G-d disguises Himself very well--so well, in fact, that many people have come to believe that He doesn't exist  (chas vechalilah!) and that nature is a self-existent, closed system of random causes and effects.  However, occasionally one encounters the phenomenon of a "mask" that is so transparent that it shouldn't succeed at concealing its wearer.  For example, many have pointed out that Superman's "Clark Kent" disguise, consisting basically of a pair of glasses, would not fool anyone in real life.  I myself as a young lad never noticed this (indeed, I barely considered Superman and Clark Kent to be the same person); however, I have recently become aware of another similarly thin disguise.  As with the Superman example, it should fool no one.  Yet for some inexplicable reason, it seems to have fooled everyone in the world except for yours truly!

Has anyone else ever wondered whatever became of that dangerous, fanatical collective of rustic shepherds, farmers, sheep sacrificers, and Canaanite killers known as Israel?  You know, the people who set the standard for religious fanaticism, bigotry against "the other," and other similar characteristics so distasteful to today's liberal elites?  I have never wondered this, because I can see them.  But I must confess my astonishment that no one else seems to be able to.  Because . . . well, basically, they're not even wearing a disguise at all.  Yet every liberal secularist who searches for the contemporary manifestation of the fanatical, "genocidal" Israelite strikes out blindly in all the wrong directions while the Real Deal stands right before him.  And I'm telling you, Superman's "Clark Kent" disguise was a plastic surgery job compared to that the Israelites are wearing.

The Israelites are cleverly disguised as . . . Israelites!

Hard to believe, no?  Yes?

Then let me explain.

The "old testament G-d" (ie, HaShem) has few fans in these "enlightened" times.  People read of the Jealous G-d of Israel and turn away in distaste, far preferring the "new testament 'gxd'" of forgiveness, meekness, and peace.  Fair enough.  I can understand that.  But what I don't understand is the inability of these people to correctly identify the "old testament" Congregation in the modern world.  For when liberals strike out in their wrath at this "brutal" G-d they can't seem to track Him down.  In fury they lash out at any number of likely suspects--the Southern Baptists, the "snake-handlers," the rigid New England Puritans, the fanatical medieval Catholics, the hopelessly rustic and outmoded Amish, the "identity" lunatics hiding in the Idaho woods--at everyone except for the lineal descendants of those "primitive fanatics."

Is this not amazing?  Is this not the Eighth Wonder of the World?

For when they look at The Israelite they do not see Yehoshu`a Bin Nun (`alayv hashalom).  They see Tevye.

Poor little Tevye!  He wouldn't hurt a fly.  He "deedle-didle-diddles" his way through life as the village "freethinker," facing the uncouth mob of religious fanatics who surround him and winning the victory by doing absolutely nothing to compromise his utter harmlessness.  Let the Ukrainians, or the Ku-Klux Klan, or the Pope, or some religious cult in Texas follow that "horrible" (chas vechalilah!) "old testament G-d."  Tevye is nothing like that!  He is a harmless little scholar who loves and forgives everyone.  The chr*stian boors jump on him like Joshua on Jericho, and he turns the other cheek.  And while he doesn't realize it, his brave defiance of convention is "paving the way" for "enlightenment," atheism, "gay rights," and the entire modern world in which "anti-fascists" war against Genesis and the Ten Commandments and advocate the starvation of "useless eaters."

But Tevye is not Israel's only disguise.  A physically very different (but thematically very similar) costume in which he hides in plain sight is that of the famous "canary in the mine shaft."  You've all heard the story.  The reactionary "old testament G-d" and "His chr*stian hordes" threaten democracy and the entire world order that came out of "18th century" rationalism.  And naturally these birds of a feather with Joshua, `Otni'el, Deborah, Samson, Yiftach, Gideon, and similar neanderthals immediately zero in on the Jews--those living, breathing refutations of "old testament savagery."  Hence the "canary in the mineshaft" persona, for if these reprehensible reincarnations of the '30's are not stopped they will soon move on to "forcing their views" on atheists, homosexuals, cannibals, pederasts, bestialists, witches, and other similar beneficiaries of selective non-judgementalism.  Is it not fortunate for democracy that these people seem to have sprung out of nowhere precisely as society's "fire alarm" for the renascent "old testament G-d" and His followers?

Behold how thin is the disguise that Israel wears in our day and time!  A white bearded rabbi prays before the 'aron (ark) in the synagogue which contains scrolls on which are written the "old testament" itself in its original form.  In appearance the rabbi seems no different from Moses himself, yet the enemies of the "old testament G-d" cannot see this.  They see only a brave religious dissident bravely standing between them and the "old testament G-d" in the person of the Southern Baptist Convention.  Above the ark are carved in beautiful Hebrew calligraphy the first letters of each of `Aseret HaDibberot (the Ten Commandments), yet liberals see this only as a protective dam holding back the baleful tide of chr*stian "old testament theocracy" that raises its head everywhere a monument to those same Ten Commandments stands on public ground.

Now don't get me wrong.  I don't really mind the liberals' being that stupid.  In fact, one of my favorite fantasies is some puling liberal opponent of the "primitive old testament G-d" seeking out Tevye to give him some sort of award when suddenly the mask comes off and all of a sudden the liberal's "canary in the mine shaft" is going all Barukh Goldstein on his tachat.  What a Purim joke that would be!

No sir.  That's not the problem.  The problem is that nowadays most Israelites seem to have succumbed to this redefinition of themselves and their mission.  You know what I mean.  "We're Jews.  We don't do that."  "We're Jews.  We don't take revenge."  "We're Jews.  We don't want a silly, pre-rational, outmoded sacrificial service."  "We're Jews.  We don't interpret the Bible literally."  "We're Jews.  We don't believe G-d created the world in six days."  "We're Jews.  We don't believe religion should have anything to do with law or policy."  "We're Jews.  We don't persecute others.  We suffer persecution!"

Indeed, nowadays many Jews think that unless they are truly and properly suffering, they are betraying their alleged heritage of glorious wimpiness.

This new mission of Israel, the hidden true people of the "old testament G-d," was apparently finalized just some sixty years ago after a crime that has been twisted into an act of "religious fanaticism" worthy of that very G-d's ancient followers.  And when this people went home to the land in which its ancestors once worshiped that G-d in the most "primitive" and "irrational" manner (according to our enlightened liberals), it took its new mission with it.  Thus while the Temple Mount still lies under abominable temples of a false "gxd," "democracy" thrives.  Secularism and pluralism are the order of the day.  Yet the new temple, the Holocaust museum (with its awful lesson that the "old testament G-d" must never be permitted to rear His Head again) thrives, drawing from all over the world the advocates of "new testament" meekness as its pilgrims.

Just as the Israelite of old is now disguised as Tevye, the "dissident," or the "canary in the mine shaft," so the Land of Israel, the homeland of the ancient neandherthal Israelites, is disguised as "the Middle East's only democracy."  Jerusalem (which even the most secular Zionists insist on as Israel's eternal and undivided capital) is disguised as the ultimate "multicultural" city, where every faith in the world may erect its temples . . . except for one.  And the most sacred spot on earth, the first part of the universe to be created, the stone on which Abraham once bound Isaac, and which King David bought from a man who was using it to thresh grain is disguised as "the third holiest site in islam."

O, children of Joshua . . . what have they done to you?  To what have you been persuaded?

Likewise, just as the Israelites are cleverly disguised as . . . well, Israelites, so is the original "old testament" similarly disguised.  Perhaps this is the reason that Bible-haters vent all their wrath on translations while staunchly defending the Seifer Torah (Torah Scroll) as a symbol of a quaint and harmless ethnic minority and therefore of the multiculturalism that the "old testament G-d" would surely disapprove of.  What liberal is there who pins the blame for "old testament" fundamentalism on the Torah Scroll?  Those horrible, primitive, racist, sexist, homophibic, speciesist writings are obviously the work of medieval Catholic "theocrats" or of illiterate toothless "rednecks" or something like that.  Certainly little Tevye, the Eternal Dissident, the Canary in the Mineshaft, would never be associated with such "fascism."  After all, isn't he and his quaint little Scroll in imminent danger from people with that narrow worldview?  And what modern sophisticate associates the "redneck" belief in a six day creation with the people who stop everything they're doing every seventh day?  Obviously the latter are just celebrating their "otherness."  It's a wonder all those "old testament chr*stians," with their primitive G-d and all, don't hang Jews from lampposts for behaving so strangely.

Obviously the survival of the Jewish people depends on the destruction of belief in the "old testament G-d" and "His chr*stian religion" with all deliberate speed.  Especially before all those chr*stian Fundamentalists can rebuild that Temple of "theirs."

I know, I know . . . I have harped on these themes before.  How can people who hate the Jewish G-d claim to love the Jews?  How can people who vehemently oppose everything Torah teaches be looked upon as the protectors of Torah observance?  Many have asked why in the world so many people who hate the Jewish people claim to worship the Jewish G-d.  And so do I, though I seem to be the only one asking the flip side of that question.

Is it really so foolish to hope that one day the mask (invisible as it is to me) will come off?  That "gentle, harmless little Tevye" will show himself the Lion his ancestors were?  That the State of Israel will be transformed from "the only democracy in the Middle East" to the Kingdom of G-d on earth?  That the Holy Torah, which alone faithfully preserves the Holy Letters G-d dictated to Moses exactly as they were first written will supplant translations, however beloved and familiar, as the the Ultimate Revelation for which all hearts hunger?  Is it?

May the day come speedily when the secular liberal, hunting for Biblical Israel in the woods of Idaho, will have his eyes opened, when the disguise at long last comes off, when "harmless little Tevye" shows his true identity to all the world as the rustic shepherd warrior whose fear and dread filled the wicked with terror.

And most of all, may Tevye himself remember who he really is.  Because until he does, there will be others claiming his identity, and the enemies of HaShem will be only to happy to take them at their word.