Three provocations in my life have impelled me to to use my hands and related limbs to resolve a disagreement.
Back in my college years, I rode two New York subway trains and a bus for the 90-minute Friday trip home from Columbia University in upper Manhattan to spend every Shabbat (Sabbath) with my mom and sisters in Brooklyn. (Dad, of blessed memory, had passed away from leukemia when I was 14.) I then traveled back to campus every Sunday evening. While on the trains, I used the time to do the never-ending reading assignments for my college courses. One Sunday night on the train back to college, while I was immersed in some political science text, I felt a soft blow to the top of my head. A fellow had rushed to grab my yarmulka off my head as he and his two friends were getting off the train at a mid-Manhattan stop. My sister Debbie had crocheted that yarmulka for me, personalized with my name.
I jumped up, left Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, or Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth on my seat, and raced at the laughing fellow just as he was getting off the train. I yelled at him. He turned around mockingly. Since he did not expect this from a nice Jewish boy with a kipah who was reading a book, he was a bit surprised, I guess, when I immediately launched a karate kick into his reproductive organ. I think it was New York’s first sex change procedure. He buckled forward, started retching toward the earth, and dropped my kipah. I kicked him a second time, this one in his upper chest, essentially kicking him out of the train just as the doors were closing. His two friends gathered around him on the platform. As the train sped away, I returned to my seat, affixed my kipah back to its bobby-pinned perch, and returned to reading whatever communist dreck it was that had been assigned.
On a second occasion, a few years later, I was walking up Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan, en route to my Talmud class at the rabbinic seminary of Yeshiva University (YU). As I was walking northbound, there were two late-teen fellows half a block ahead of me, also walking northbound. Coming southbound were two college-age boys from YU’s undergrad program, apparently talking to each other. For no reason, completely unprovoked, one of the two northbound teens in front of me swiped at one of the approaching, unassuming YU boys with a cardboard cylindrical object, the sort of item in which you might wrap and mail a poster. After hitting the YU boy in the head with the item, the attacker and his friend started laughing. The YU boy stood, stunned. His friend, too. The blow had knocked the boy’s yarmulka to the ground.
I was carrying a briefcase containing the text we were learning in yeshiva, Tractate Bava Kamma. The volume is heavy, maybe three pounds, and it deals with the laws of torts. I raced up at the fellow who had bopped the yeshiva kid with the cylinder, and I smashed my briefcase over his head, teaching him his first and only life lesson in Talmud. He collapsed to the ground. His friend was shocked and tended to the friend, who was dazed, maybe unconscious. I picked up the yarmulka from the sidewalk, gave it to the boy from whom it had been knocked off, and continued walking to Shiur (class). When my rebbe (rabbinic teacher) asked why I had arrived a bit late, I explained that I had just taught someone a principle of Bava Kamma.
The third incident was on a Brooklyn city bus. It was Friday afternoon, again en route home for Shabbat with Mom of blessed memory. At a stop fifteen minutes from home, one of the people who alighted the vehicle was Mr. Pelikow. I never knew his first name. Growing up as a polite yeshiva boy in Brooklyn, I learned from my parents to address all adults as “Mr. [this]” or “Mrs. [that].” (People in those days were permitted to say “Mrs.”) A younger person never ever would address an older person by a first name. So I saw Mr. Pelikow, with the fedora hat that many Orthodox Jewish men wear, get on the bus, carrying his briefcase. As he was walking down the aisle, a fellow in his late teens or early twenties punched him. I could not believe it. Mr. Pelikow must have been in his 40s or 50s, so he continued walking to the back of the bus, now rapidly. I got up and yelled at the fellow who had hit him: “You owe this man an apology!” The attacker yelled the “F” word at me and told me to sit down or he would beat me up. So I walked up to him, and we had ourselves a fistfight right in the middle of the bus. After we exchanged maybe two punches each, my third landed in a place on the guy’s nose that somehow was the magic spot to launch a blood flow. In seconds he was covered in blood: his face, his shirt, everything. The driver stopped the bus, looked at both of us, and decided that, since the other guy looked far worse, it would be easier to throw him off the bus. Also, others on the bus defended me.
Mr. Pelikow had this really pretty daughter, but it never occurred to him during the rest of the bus ride to offer me his daughter in marriage. So it would be another quarter century until I would meet the ultimate love of my life, Ellen. But he did phone my mom to tell her that I had come to his defense and to wish her a “Shabbat Shalom,” a peaceful Shabbat.
Throw Her Out — Heck, Throw Them Out
Normal people do not hit unless provoked. Perhaps some or many who have read my college-years reminiscences above would say that normal people should not hit even after they have been provoked. So be it. I lay no claim to being normal. But if you keep your hands off me and off those in my ambit, my harshest response will be a pun you will not forget or forgive.
The four Congressional vipers now known as “the [Odd] Squad” came to Washington this January, swinging. Two of them came swinging at Jews right away. Rashida Tlaib is a Jew-hater with a long resume and Twitter history to document that hate, and with a filthy mouth to boot. The “M-F” word she used to describe the President of the United States — my president, your president, and her president — instantly defined her as trash. In this country, even if you do not like the president — even if you despise him to your utmost innermost core, as I despised and still despise Obama — he still is your president. I never have used such a word to describe Obama. Tlaib reflected herself as trash by speaking in such a way about the president of this country.
Ilhan Omar is a vicious Jew-hater, an anti-Semite. I often describe her as a Nazi. Not all Nazis murdered Jews or even touched Jews. Some just lined the streets to cheer Hitler’s passing motorcades. Her litany of anti-Jewish tweets by now is legendary. Her own party initially tried to condemn her anti-Semitism but then decided they need the votes of Somali Muslim voters in Minnesota and Tlaib supporters in Michigan, and they figured out that enough idiot Jewish Leftists who donate to Democrats or who vote for them will continue doing so that the cost-benefit equation justified letting the Nazi tropes pass by uncensured.
The thing is, although the Squad live in an echo … echo … echo … chamber of similar extreme radical-left Democrats, including outright communists like Bernie Sanders, they misread the greater American landscape. Not everyone in this country calls the President of the United States an “M-F’er.” Not everyone here in this country — and not even a sizeable number, unlike in Somalia — is a Jew-hater. It may be that CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, The New York Times, and the Washington Post adore the Squad, their foul mouths, and their arrogant beliefs that they are going to change America from a capitalist economy built on freedom of spirit and freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and freedom to be great. But there are scores of millions of others among us who are not mesmerized by them, nor are we fazed.
They are nothing. They reflect isolated pockets of electoral support in a country of more than 300 million people. Because the Left Media are enamored of them and want to work with them to change America, the members of the Squad get disproportionate air time, emboldening them to advocate increasingly radical proposals that would move America towards communism and the platforms whose roots in Stalinism Mark Levin so effectively has traced. But that is not America.
Hyphen Cortez repeatedly blurts out false “facts” that win her airtime: moronic claims that the Constitution was amended to prevent Franklin Roosevelt from seeking a fifth term, that illegal immigrants are living in concentration camps, and that they are being forced to drink from toilets. Tlaib and Omar are cut of the same cloth. They all are united in advocating that our lawfully elected President of the United States be impeached and removed from office.
It is they who have provoked this president. It is they who regularly talk of throwing him out of office. And they will get no sympathy from this quarter when they then cry over the fact that hundreds of thousands, indeed tens of millions, of Americans can hardly wait for 2020 to throw them out instead, the whole lot of them, from Pelosi on down. Throw them all out. They have provoked, and they deserve to face exactly what they have tried to impose on others.