Cross-Currents by Rav Yitzchok Adlerstein
Whoever the “Letters” editor of Hamodia may be, I prefer to think that he/she is more clever than obtuse. It is the only way I could understand the reaction to a reader other than wimpy silliness.
The reader took offense at some reference in the paper’s coverage of the passing of Ariel Sharon. Apparently, the article’s author lost all of his religious bearings, and made reference to the former Prime Minister as z”l – of blessed memory.
What could this author have been thinking? We know that Sharon made no pretense of halachic observance. If he was not frum, there should be no reason why we should find any berachah in his remembrance at all! Therefore, the reader took Hamodia to task: “Even though the writer attempts to describe him as a very proud Jew, it seems to be quite irrelevant when the proud one is actually not practicing what he’s proud of. Hamodia, being an orthodox paper with Torah values should of (sic) not honoured an unorthodox person with this title.”
The reader has a point. When Sharon ignored orders and led his troops across the Suez Canal within striking distance of Cairo, thereby singlehandedly turning the course of the Yom Kippur War back in favor of Israel, he could not have been acting as a proud Jew. Chances are, he was just in the mood for some treif pizza, and Cairo seemed like a good place to pick it up.
When he saved the life of a young soldier whom others had given up as too seriously wounded to warrant further care, there could not have been any Jewish pride in that. Probably, he wasn’t thinking at all, which we know to be the way all non-observant Jews live their silly and useless lives. (The soldier later became a rav and a leader of the settler movement. It may have been R. Yoel ben Nun, who took strong issue with Sharon in later years, but remained grateful to him for saving his life. Our audience can corroborate or correct this.) ....
As for me, I will continue to find blessing in the memory of even the poshei Yisrael of a previous generation who devoted their lives to creating the Jewish State.