Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tractor terror

Yet another Arab terrorist attack in Jerusalem, this time just a little closer to home. Ghasam Abu-Tir used a mechanical digger to smash three cars and a public bus, injuring 11 people before police shot him.

Just a few meters away, a large group of our local rabbis sat eating lunch. Some saw the tractor attack, the rest dived to the floor when the shooting began.

We’ve seen rocket attacks, suicide bombings, shootings and knifings in Israel. Now, it seems there’s a new terror tactic. It’s called “Beating ploughshares into swords”.

I remember a 1991 magazine article that described how Armscor had started using technology that had originally been developed for weapons’ production to produce better-quality tractors.

Over the last 15 or so years, the world has shifted towards converting military technology and hardware into peaceful uses. Radar, GPS, nuclear energy, Internet and satellites are the better known examples of war-technology being used for useful purposes. Lesser known would be Kleenex (originally designed for gas masks), disused rifles that comprise avalanche-prevention systems in the USA and testing performance and stability of trucks on tank-testing sites.

“Beating swords into ploughshares” is a prophecy regarding the Age of Moshiach. As we draw closer to that special time, the world is already starting to behave accordingly.

Well, at least most of the world, with the notable exception of East Jerusalem.

Shortly after the destruction of the second Temple, Rabbi Akivah and some colleagues were walking past the ruins, when a fox darted out of the site of the Holy of holies.

Seeing this, the rabbis began to cry. Rabbi Akivah laughed.

“Why are you laughing?” they challenged him.

“Why are you crying?” Rabbi Akivah retorted.

“We are crying, because we’ve just seen a fox run out of the site that was so holy only the Kohen Gadol was allowed to enter, and only once a year. This is exactly what the prophet Micha predicted: ‘Tzion will be plowed over as a field.’”

“And that’s why I am laughing,” Rabbi Akivah explained, “Seeing the prophecy of Micha has been fulfilled assures me that Isaiah’s prophecy of the Temple’s rebuilding will also be fulfilled.”
Jerusalem is being plowed over again, this time with mechanized ploughs. It fits the Three Weeks of mourning the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash.

Now that we’re seeing Micha’s dire prediction happening all over again, let’s hope it means Isaiah’s prophecy is about to be fulfilled.

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