Saturday, September 17, 2011

Drama Over Drama

Drama over Drama
R. Yehudah ben Shomeyr

I rarely address personal, political or national issues. Nor do I like to voice personal pet peeves. I like to focus on the Scripture and life as it pertains to it. But when I do go off the beaten path and speak on such things I usually remain silent on you know something has really got my goat and so I speak. But I do so with respect and caution, I do so with out malice or ill intent so as to spotlight the issue itself and not the person that brought the issue to my attention.

Youth is wasted on the young, as a well known saying goes. This implies the youth have such passion and zeal, and due to their abundance of ignorance they waste the energy of their youth on misguided causes that tear down moreso than build up. And if the elders had the energy of youth, oh what good we could do and what positive changes can be made for the good of all. We understand the intoxication of youth and such poor, yet well intended actions is easily forgiven and forgotten as maturity graces the restless youth. However, it is a gross evil to see such misguided zeal acted out in elders. Yet, it happens, and such misfortune is not so easily overlooked because elders are not expected to be ignorant, but wise and learned. Yet I have witnessed such ignorant zealousness in elders who smack of self righteous piety and purity and attempt to lord this over everyone else, as if their personal standards should be everyone’s standards.

I saw a religious mans internet profile on a well known social network and he said that he doesn’t own a T.V. Okay, fine, a good personal choice. Then he went on to say that he doesn’t own one because T.V. shows are drama and drama is a pagan Greek invention. He went on to say that it drama is an art founded on deception because the actors and actresses pretend to be someone that they are not while acting out a work of fiction before an audience. If we read between the lines he saying drama is a form of lying and deception. I may expect this from a young purest trying to find himself as he discovers life, but not from an aged man who has accumulated years of life experience as his teacher.

First of all T.V. is an inanimate object and can be a tool for good or evil. How we use it is what makes it good or bad. It is irrelevant what materials are on T.V. What is relevant however are the choices we make in what we decide to view on that T.V. which makes it good or evil. Just as a blade can cut out cancer and heal someone or be plunged into a person’s heart and kill them, the blade is neither good nor evil, but the person that wields the blade. Guns do not kill people; people kill people with guns!  Likewise it is the person who controls the T.V. that causes it to edify or corrupt.

Second, the Greeks are credited to a lot of things they didn’t invent. Like the Zodiac, it was created by G-d and has a Biblically rooted prophetic story in which many of the stars still bear Hebrew and Arabic names. The Greeks just took what was already there and known and made it their own, like a band covering the song of an older, well respected band. Likewise they didn’t invent the art of drama.

“The origin of the Hebrew drama may be traced back to a very early period. The ancient Hebrews, like other nations of antiquity, were wont to express their emotions in the form of dialogue interspersed with songs. Miriam, with a drum in her hand, singing the deliverance of Israel, while the other women answer her in chorus, suggests vividly the strophes and antistrophes of the later Greek. The song of Moses is of the same nature. The Song of Solomon, according to many scholars, is a regular drama, the heroine of which is the Shulamite, and in which the other dramatis personæ are: Solomon; a shepherd; chorus; watchmen, etc. (see Renan's translation of the Song of Solomon). To the foregoing may be added the Book of Job, which, if not so elaborate in dramatic form as the Canticles, yet represents several persons as acting, namely: Job; his wife; the messengers; Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar (Job's three friends); Elihu; and God. These few crude dramas of the Biblical epoch had no immediate successors...

True, the above mentioned was real life events and works of non-fiction written in dramatic form that untouched could be used to stage a play. The ancient Hebrews were a nomadic people and like all nomadic peoples employed storytelling, song and dramatic dance round their nightly campfires. Also, let us not forget that our Messiah Yeshua Himself employed a type of dramatic theater of the mind by the implementation of parables, fictitious stories used to bring a moral or spiritual point. Does this mean Yeshua was lying and being deceitful? Of course not. Like with T.V. the audience are not dummies and unless one is a child or mentally challenged one knows what one is watching is an act; therefore no deceit is employed by the storyteller or dramatic actors.

But a Canaanite deceived Israel by pretending to be a far away people, fooling them into a peace treaty when G-d told Israel to wipe them out. Judah’s daughter-in-law pretended to be a harlot and he got her pregnant thus fornicating and committing incest! Delilah pretended the Philistines were upon Samson and her little drama ended up being Samson’s demise. All examples of drama being used deceitfully! Yeah, so what!? It takes two to tango. Israel should have consulted G-d in the first place and both Judah and Samson had no business being where they were in the said accounts. Just proving my point that drama can be used like a blade, for good or evil, just depends on who and how one wields it.

David pretended to be insane and escaped his enemies. Rahab pretended the spies went another way and saved their life. Yeshua acted as if He wasn’t going to help the gentile woman who came to Him, when all along He knew He was going to help her, He just needed to create a little drama in order to drive and important home to His disciples. Gentiles acted like business as usual and due to their drama of normalcy Nazi’s had no idea they hid Jews within their walls! All examples of drama being used for good.  

Movies have inspired me to develop a greater will power. I have even felt the Holy Spirit while watching a movie, just as strong as if I was listening to the Torah being read in synagogue or listening to testify of HaShem’s praise through song. I refuse to put Adonai in a box. I will not decide how HaShem chooses to move or reveal Himself.

You don’t want to own a T.V., fine. Don’t want to go to the movie theater, that’s okay too; just don’t act as if G-d doesn’t want anyone being entertained by drama just because you chose not to be. I read no where in the Torah, “Thou shalt not learn by nor entertain thyself with drama.”