The President (Vol. 10, Issue 9)
“O weep for us who live to mourn And not for him whom we have lost! For HE has to his rest been born, WE-—in a sea of grief are toss’d.”
— (Moed Katan 25 b)
Nearly a week has transpired since the passing of our president, and our thoughts are yet wholly with him.
Perhaps we are not possessed of the clarity to visualize the shape of things to come, but our limited vision permits an appreciation of the president’s majestic greatness which Death, in its sullen morbidity, has all too clearly revealed.
We cannot eulogize the president, for the mouthings of man are grossly inadequate. We can only regard him as a symbol, a spirit of surging and unbounding inspiration. To this generation he is the proponent of a new age—an age in which Man is raised from the lower depths and is given the opportunity to act and live in accord with his will and penchant. All the eulogies of and dulcet tributes to the “intrepid commander-in-chief” and “sagacious president” in essence were indicative of one fact: the waging of war and the inauguration of domestic measures are means to his one end of the universal freedom of man.
Were we assured that the idealism of the president would pervade the minds of men in time to come, then our grief would be somewhat mitigated. If posterity will remember these words of our departed guide, then his spirit shall have transcended the borders of mortality and all terrene limitations: “We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions—bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality. Whosoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities. Whoever seeks to set one race against another seeks to enslave all races. Whoever seeks to set one religion against another seeks to destroy all religion. I am fighting for a free America—for a country in which all men and women have equal rights to liberty and justice. I am fighting as I have always fought, for the rights of the little man as well as the big man—for the weak as well as for the strong, for those who are helpless as well as for those who can help themselves.”
We, as Jews, felt a singular, egregious hurt for in the president we had a champion of human rights. We do not venture to say that the solution of Jewish problems would have certainly been effectuated by the president had he been granted a longer stay. All we know is that the president had an understanding of and was sympathetic to our cause. He was the most firm crutch among the powers-that-be upon which we could lean. We can but hope that his successor will be imbued with equal understanding.
That consummate interest and understanding of our president was not the passive concern ordinarily exhibited by those men of great place. His was a sincere desire to liberate the shackled and oppressed—and the very existence of countless refugees is a living testament to his beneficence. Little wonder that so many the world over virtually worshipped him as a divinely-inspired personage, almost a Moses.
To those for whom he secured a sheltered haven, as well as to us for whom he laid the foundation of a tranquil future, he signified the flouter of the Pharaohs, the guide through the walled sea, the leader through the wilderness. And now the time had come for The Promised Land.
“And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, get thee up into this mountain of ‘Abarim, unto Mount Nebo . . . and behold the land of Canaan. . .
“And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mount of Nebo... and the Lord showed him all the land . . . And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I swore to Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it; I have let thee see it with thine eyes, but thither thou shalt not go over.
“And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the order of the Lord.”