As individuals die every moment, how insensitive and fabricated a love it is to set aside a day from selfish routine in prideful, patriotic commemoration of tragedy. Just as God is provoked by those who tithe simply because they feel that they must tithe, I am provoked by those who commemorate simply because they feel that they must commemorate.
So may the outward shows be least themselves:The world is still deceived with ornament.In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,Obscures the show of evil? In religion,What damned error, but some sober browWill bless it and approve it with a text,Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?There is no vice so simple but assumesSome mark of virtue on his outward parts.
DON PEDROCome, lady, come; you have lost the heart of Signior Benedick.BEATRICEIndeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile; and I gave him use for it, a double heart for his single one: marry, once before he won it of me with false dice, therefore your grace may well say I have lost it.DON PEDROYou have put him down, lady, you have put him down.BEATRICESo I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother of fools.
Look on beauty,And you shall see 'tis purchased by the weight;Which therein works a miracle in nature,Making them lightest that wear most of it:So are those crisped snaky golden locksWhich make such wanton gambols with the wind,Upon supposed fairness, often knownTo be the dowry of a second head,The skull that bred them in the sepulchre.Thus ornament is but the guiled shoreTo a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarfVeiling an Indian beauty; in a word,The seeming truth which cunning times put onTo entrap the wisest.
One of the questions asked by al-Balkhi, and often repeated to this day, is this: Why do the children of Israel continue to suffer? My grandmother Dodo thought it was because the were jealous. The seder for Passover (which is a shame-faced simulacrum of a Hellenic question-and-answer session, even including the wine) tells the children that it's one of those things that happens to every Jewish generation. After the or or Holocaust, many rabbis tried to tell the survivors that the immolation had been a punishment for 'exile,' or for insufficient attention to the Covenant. This explanation was something of a flop with those whose parents or children had been the raw material for the 'proof,' so for a time the professional interpreters of god's will went decently quiet. This interval of ambivalence lasted until the war of 1967, when it was announced that the divine purpose could be discerned after all. How wrong, how foolish, to have announced its discovery prematurely! The exile and the Shoah could now both be understood, as part of a heavenly if somewhat roundabout scheme to recover the Western Wall in Jerusalem and other pieces of biblically mandated real estate.I regard it as a matter of self-respect to spit in public on rationalizations of this kind. (They are almost as repellent, in their combination of arrogance, masochism, and affected false modesty, as Edith Stein's 'offer' of her life to expiate the regrettable unbelief in Jesus of her former fellow Jews.) The sage Jews are those who have put religion behind them and become in so many societies the leaven of the secular and the atheist.