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September 16, 1983 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-09-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

12 r Friday, September 16, 983


Jonah and Repentance

Detroit Chapter



program topic .. .

Current U.S.-Israel Relations

Political - Economic


speaker ..

Hon. Oded Eran, Ph.D.

• Counselor for Congressional Affairs, Embassy of Israel, Wash-
• Former Deputy Director Egyptian Division and Deputy Director
Middle Eastern Division, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
• Former First Secretary, Embassy of Israel, London
• Graduated Hebrew University, Oriental and Political Studies
and London School of Economics, Ph.D.

program moderator . . . Dr. Joseph N. Epel

President, American Technion Society-Detroit Chapter and Former
Director, Plastic Research & Development, The Budd Company -

7:45 p.m. Monday
Sept. 26, 1983


21550 West 12 Mile Rd., Southfield



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(Continued from Page 1)
no avail. The sailors call
him forward, asking for
his identification.
All Jonah can say is, "I
am a Hebrew, and I fear the
Lord God of heaven who
hath made the sea and dry
land." This basic statement
of faith is important be-
cause it indicates to God
that Jonah is ready to con-
tinue his mission. For the
sailors it means that Jonah
is responsible for the storm,
and as much as they do not
want to, they have to cast
him into the sea.
After a brief sojourn in
the belly of the "large fish,"
Jonah is spewed out safely
on shore and continues to
Ninveh to complete his mis-
sion. Upon entering the
city, he announces publicly
that in only 40 days Ninveh
will be destroyed. Unlike
the generation of the flood,
the people of Ninveh take
Jonah seriously, donning
sackcloth and ashes and
indicate their contrition.
The king himself sees his
subjects' reaction, takes off
his royal garments and
links himself with them
through sackcloth and
A proclamation is is-
sued to all-in Ninveh urg-
ing the inhabitants to
change their evil ways,
concluding with these
memorable lines: "Who
knoweth whether God
will not turn and repent,
and turn away from His
fierce anger, that we
perish not?" The merciful
attribute of God comes
forward when it is clear
how the people are trying
to change their ways.
Ninveh and its inhabi-
tants are saved.
Jonah is in a dilemma. He
had predicted destruction
but there was none. He feels
betrayed because he be-
lieved that he was carrying
out God's word. The element


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One of the many classical paintings of Jonah and
the whale: "And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it
vomited out Jonah upon the dry land" (Jonah 2:10).

Use of Term `Ashkenaz'

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of mercy is missing in man, as if the evil man
Jonah's character. To bring were evil in essence and
this quality out of Jonah, beyond hope, con-
God causes a gourd vine to demned forever to be
grow which shelters him wicked and with no road
from the sun. Then to
of repentance open to
Jonah's dismay, God sends a him."
worm to destroy the plant.
This interpretation of the
The conclusion is evident — story of Jonah really speaks
just as Jonah was concerned both about the significance
for a plant that he in no way of his plight and about the
brought into being, surely essence of the day of Yom
God should be concerned Kippur. Jonah failed to see
about human beings, the man's ability to do teshuva,
people of Ninveh, created in the ability to "turn around,"
His own image, and want so he froze the individual in
them to live.
the iceblock of evil forever.
What was really Jonah's Yom Kippur comes to tell us
problem in this tale? Chaim that through repentance it
Greenberg, the famous is possible to melt the evil
American Zionist thinker, which has surrounded us
answered this question with and to emerge anew with a
unusual insight and origi- fresh and positive vision of
"Instead. of being a pro-
Indeed, that is the true
phet whose prophecy would , meaning of Yom Kippur —
bring warning and move the humanity assisting in the
sinful to repent and to purge implementation of God's
themselves of their sin, he words . . . "I do not desire
(Jonah) preferred being an the death of the wicked, but
oracle, a `golem' through the return of the wicked
whom spoke the blind, from his ways." The mes-
brutal, fatal future.
sage is that in the year to
"By this he lowered the come each of us should try to
prophetic calling; he de- face up to our shortcomings,
stroyed the conditional overcome them and take the
nature of God's decrees. path which will permit us to
He confused God's transform ourselves, our
hatred of evil in man with society, our people and ul-
God's hatred of the evil timately all of humanity.
* *

Most Jews know the
difference between
Ashkenazim and Sephar-
dim. The former stem from
the countries of central and
eastern Europe (Germany,
France, Poland, etc.) and
the cultural complex
therein while the latter
spring from an identical
Spanish-Oriental influence.
The origin of the term
Ashkenaz is obscure even
though it appears biblically
(Genesis 10:3, I Chron. 1-6,
Jeremiah 51:27).
Medieval Jewish mention
of Ashkenaz usually de-
notes Germany. The Tal-
mud (Yoma 10a) renders
Gomer, the father of
Ashkenaz as Germania but
since the reference is to a
section of Syria, it's highly
unlikely it means the Ger-
many we know.
The similar sound be-
tween Ashkenaz and
Scanza or Scanzia raises
the possibility of a con-
nection with Scandinavia
which is regarded as the

cradle of several Ger-
manic tribes. A striking
theory links the term
phonically with Saxons.
This would be logical
since the latter consti-
tuted a substantial Ger-
manic component of the
Frankish kingdom under
Charlemagne (750-960
Rashi, the commentator
par excellence of the Bible
and Talmud, refers to
Ashkenaz as Germany in
his writings. He also em-
ploys various expressions
(for elucidation of the texts)
which he calls Leshon
Ashkenas (language of
Additionally he cites his
experiences in Mainz and
Worms when he states, "In
Ashkenas, I saw . . ."
Perhaps the most fas-
cinating fact about the
study of the term Ashkenaz
is that letters from Byzan-
tine and Syrian Jewish
communities refer to the
Crusaders (1096) as
Ashkenazim. Interestingly
enough, so too were the
Jews who wrote the letters.

Collusion Charge
Denied at UN

Charges of widespread col-
lusion between Israel and
Lebanon made by the Iraqi
delegate to the United Na-
tions last month have been
refuted by a Lebanese UN
representative, the World
Jewish Congress (WJC) re-
According to the UN
office of the WJC, the Iraqi
delegate charged that the
Lebanese army and Israeli
troops were working
"hand-in-hand to capture
Palestinians" and de-
manded that Lebanon
should not permit Israel "to
derive any gains from its
The Lebanese spokes-
man, Nabil Maamari, pro-
tested energetically against
those comments and asser-
tions. Maamari stressed
that "the comments and as-
sertions. Maamari stressed
that "the comment that
Lebanon should not allow
Israel to benefit from its in-
vasion was unacceptable."

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