Friday, April 10, 2009

An Israeli Perspective on the Four Sons

Every Friday night on my way to my seat in shul, I stop by the back to pick up a bunch of "gilyonot" - sheets put out by various organizations that write ideas on the weekly parshah. What's amazing in the sheer number, quality and diversity of these "sheets." They're not photocopied, black and white sheets; rather, they're full-color booklets and pamphlets coming in all shapes and sizes, most with a littany of ads aimed at the religious community. (Where better to reach a captive audience than in shul on Friday night, especially in Israel where many of the shuls have a d'var Torah during davening?)
Before Pesach, some of the organizations had published special editions, and one included the winners of cartoon contest. At right you'll find one take on the "four sons." I'm sharing it with you because it really demonstrates a uniquely Israeli point of view.
The Yeshiva Jew with the hat is the Tam - the simple son. The "Wise Son" is the most Israeli, but also Chassidic. This is really a relatively new development of Yeshivot which combine a love for the Land with the fervor and religiousity of Chassidut. The "Son who does not know to ask" is a follower of Kadimah, and specifically Tzipi Livni, and the wicked son is a "yasamnick", a member of the Israeli mounted police who participate in the evacuation of right-wing Jews from illegal settlements. (see left).
Obviously, the artist identifies most with the "chacham." (Don't we all think that we're the "wise son"?) I find the cartoon particularly insightful as it opens a window into the perspective of a group of people who we don't often hear from.
If you asked me to draw the "four sons" myself, I definitely wouldn't have chosen these specific groups as my vision of the four sons.