Be patient, I’ll get to Sheriff Dupnik and Rush Limbaugh and all that in due time, but first I want to testify to a miracle I experienced in my personal life. This was back in 1990. I was a lecturer in Jewish Studies at a university in Jerusalem, and one of my classes was entitled Contemporary Relevance of Talmud. My students were young American products of public education who naturally assumed the Talmud was a relic. But the age difference between us was not pronounced — I was 32 and they were juniors, 20 or 21 — so they were very open to what I had to say, and the give-and-take usually sparkled.
On this particular day I was arguing that even when the Talmud discussed a subject no longer relevant, its moral insights and legal analysis are still useful today. As an example, I cited the story (Kiddushin 70a) of the fellow who insulted Rabbi Judah, calling him a “slave.” The rabbi responded: “He who disqualifies others generally accuses them of his own flaw.” “I’m no slave,” scoffed the man. “I am a descendant of the Maccabees, the Hasmonean royal line from the Second Temple period!”
“It is just as I said!” exclaimed Rabbi Judah. This man had not known the history of Herod’s slave rebellion against the Hasmoneans. Herod killed every member of the family except for one beautiful daughter he wanted to marry. She went up to the roof and cried: “Whoever claims to be a Hasmonean is really a slave!” Then she jumped to her death. So there are no descendants of the Maccabees, only descendants of murderous slaves pretending to be the family they massacred. The man who had slandered Rabbi Judah with the epithet of “slave” turned out to be one himself.
You see, I told the class, the part about the Maccabees may no longer be relevant. Who is going to show up fifteen hundred years later claiming to be a Maccabee? But the moral message remains very powerful: people who hurl insults are generally guilty of those very accusations.
Suddenly a kid jumps up out of his seat and shouts: “You’re saying the Maccabees were wiped out?”
“I’m in the middle of reading Armand Hammer’s biography. He says his family has a tradition that they are descended from Judah the Maccabee, which is why their name is Hammer, since Maccab is Hebrew for hammer.” I excused him to go to his dorm room and bring back the book. Sure enough, it was just as he described. Armand Hammer, the famous head of Occidental Petroleum (and Russian spy), had unwittingly revealed he was heir to a murderous legacy.
At that moment I made a personal resolution never to make statements impugning the relevance of the Talmud on any level. A hand had reached down from Heaven to give me a loving spank.
TO CURRENT EVENTS, THEN, applying the timeless wisdom above. Everyone has been following the remarks of Sheriff Dupnik blaming the “hard right rhetoric” for the nutcase who shot a Jewish Congresswoman in Arizona. This despite his referencing The Communist Manifesto in his rants and despite evidence he has been stalking his target since 2007, long before the Obama Era. When Limbaugh slammed Dupnik for unseemly speculation, Dupnik shot back that Limbaugh was generally irresponsible in inflaming the public with half-truths and that we were seeing the consequences.
All this is well known and being kicked back and forth between liberal and conservative commentators. Michelle Malkin on her blog has compiled a stunning array of left-wing hate speech and imagery against George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. It becomes clear to anyone willing to look at this closely that on balance the left is more guilty in this area. If Price-Waterhouse was brought in to do an impartial third-party audit, the numbers would come down heavily against the left. This in turn discredits all these liberal hacks in their blamefest.
But the point I want to make is more powerful. It is not merely that Limbaugh beats Dupnik on points, so Dupnik should have the sense to shut his mouth. It is much more than that. We are witnessing the Talmudic dictum come to life before our eyes in a manner reminiscent of the student who brought me Armand Hammer’s book.
Because in point of actual fact the truth is the OPPOSITE of what Dupnik asserts, and startlingly so. Think about it. Limbaugh has been on the air for twenty-two years. He has been espousing a point of view with passion and emphasis to millions of people five days a week. He has been frank in exposing the shortcomings of the opposing view. Yet not one single act of violence during that time has ever been attributed to a person identified as one of his regular listeners. NOT ONE SINGLE ACT!
This was a period that included the Oklahoma City bombings, the Olympic bombings, Columbine (Colorado), the Unabomber, the anthrax mailings, the Virginia Tech shootings, the Capitol Police attack, the Arizona train derailment, Paducah (Kentucky), the Amish killing rampage, Pearl (Mississippi), Fort Hood, the Arkansas military recruiter, Springfield (Oregon), the abortionist killed in Wichita, the abortionist killed in Buffalo, the Haley-Bopp Comet cult, the fire at Freddie’s, the Crown Heights riots, the D.C. sniper, the IRS kamikaze plane, etc. The list goes on and on.
Many of these murderers were discovered to have materials from Karl Marx. Al Gore, Al Sharpton and a whole array of fringe characters. Yet never once has one of these explosive acts of violence been traced to a Rush Limbaugh listener. That is a stunning fact in its own right, almost miraculous really. One could hardly fault him if here or there a fevered acolyte pursued his impetus beyond equipoise. But no… never even one single solitary time in twenty-two years!
The pro-Constitution, pro-liberty voices on the air do not promote upheaval. They promote a vision of liberty to pursue dreams. Healthy dreams, my friends, not twisted fantasies; ballots, not bullets.