Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ahavat Yisrael

In some more extreme quarters of the Zionist blogosphere, there are increasing calls for violent uprisings against our Arab enemies, the secular Jews and against the current governement of Israel. While I have absolutely no reservations against repaying our Arab 'friends' for their 'kindnesses' against the House of Israel, I am completely opposed to sort of hatred, civil war and fighting in between Jews.
Call me naive or an idealist but my Torah does not permit the murder of Jews or fratricidal hatred. The Rav Kook, the first chief rabbi of Mandatory Palestine, taught that "the truly righteous do not rail against evil, but rather increase goodness." Yes we are upset that the governement of Israel is not behaving Jewishly! Yes we are angry that many Israelis have abandoned the Torah! The solution, however, is not to hate them, not to curse them, not to fight them. If we want to get out brothers to keep shabbat, is throwing stones at passing cars the way to do it? Of couse not! Only by teaching secular Jews about the beauty of shabbat and Torah will they start to observe them- not by stone throwing or name calling. "Better by far to err by the love that cannot see, than the hatred that is blind", said the Rav Kook.

Why was the First Temple destroyed? Because that generation transgressed the three cardinal sins: idol worship, sexual immorality, and murder.

Why was the Second Temple destroyed? Because of unwarranted hatred.

This shows how great is the punishment for unwarranted hatred. Because the generation of the three cardinal sins was redeemed after 70 years, yet for the generation of unwarranted hatred, its redemption has yet to come.

Talmud, Yoma 9

See how evil hatred between Jews is in G-d's eyes! Unwarranted hatred is worse than idol worship (!), sexual immorality (!) and murder (!) combined. Nobody is blameless in this kulturkampf and neither the secular Jews or the religious have the moral high ground. In G-d's eyes, there are no secular or religious, Left or Right, only Jews, Jews who keep some mitzvot, commandments, and some who keep more. Every single Jews is an integral part of klal Yisrael, even those who are less than perfect in their observance of the Torah. In fact, one of the spices used in the incense at the Holy Temple was "galbanum," which has a foul aroma. From this, the Talmud (Kritot 6b) explains that even the worst sinners are a part of the People of Israel.
Before Tisha Be'Av, when the Romans besieged Jerusalem, instead of uniting against the common enemy, the Jews began to fight amongst themselves. They were squabbling as Jerusalem was being destroyed. Today, we continue to squabble as Jerusalem is burning. The barbarians are at the gates and are ready to massacre, G-d forbid, us all, observant and non-observant. On Palestinian TV, a Hamas imam proclaimed that Jews must be massacred for Allah and that 'Likud or Labour, Left or Right, Jews are Jews'. Our foes understand this; why can't we?
According to a survey from the prestigious Guttman Institute of Applied Social Research, published in 1993, more than half the Jews in Israel light Shabbat candles. Approximately 70% keep a kosher home. Almost 80% celebrate the Passover Seder. Over 80% of Jewish males have a Bar Mitzvah, 92% have a brit milah (circumcision) and 98% go to the trouble of putting up a mezuzah on their front doors. While only 20-30% of the population of Israel is religious (40% indentify themselves as 'traditional'), over half of the officers of the IDF are religious. The Hesder program, which combines army service and yeshiva study, is growing rapidly. Haredi women are having 3 children for every 1 that a secular Israeli has. At this rate, Israel's future will surely be a Jewish one. With the growth of the Torah-observant public, more and more secular Jews will be exposed to Torah. This is how we will reach them- with love and not hatred!
Rabbi Boruch Ber Leibowitz, one of the great rabbis of pre-war Europe, was quoted as saying: "When I will stand before the heavenly court, and they will ask me, 'What merit have you brought with you?' What shall I answer? Torah? Is my Torah knowledge worth enough to be mentioned? Fear of Heaven? Are my deeds worthy of that description? There is only one thing I could possibly claim -- that I loved every Jew with all my heart. Whenever I walk in the street and I see a Jew, one thought comes to me: A blessing on his head!'" (from Aish HaTorah)
Next time you curse the secular Jews, remember that you personally are holding up the Redemption. Because you are caught up in sectarian squabbling instead of seeing your fellow Jew as a bother son of Avraham Avinu, the Moshiach has not yet come. Unless we put aside our pointless fighting, we will not be able to face the problems confronting our survival- namely the high intermarriage rate, assimilation (the 'Silent Holocaust') and the murderous sonei Yisrael who are waiting for a breach in the dam to, G-d forbid, apply the 'Final solution' to the 'Jewish question'. The Moshiach is coming, just remember to keep the mitzvah of Ahavat Yisrael, love of Israel.

"And you shall love your fellow Jew like yourself"
Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:18


Yehudi said...

Great post...I absolutely agree. Every Jew has 2 enemies..those who hates us and seek our destruction, and the evil inclination inside of us that separates us from G-d and keeps us from performing mitzvot. I am a huge advocate of when someone commits a terrorist act, bulldoze their house and the house of every member of their family. All of us, (Jews), are a family, and we should see it that way...mess with the bull, you get the horns. We stand together..whether Orthodox or Reform...religious or secular...doesn't matter because we're family.

WomanHonorThyself said...

perfect timing on the heels of RoshHashana!...I wanted to drop u an email Bar but couldnt find an address here..so plz write to me if u like..my addresses are under my Contact info on my sidebar!
Shana Tova!

Anonymous said...

Those in power allowed Rabbi Kahane zt'l and his holy son to be murdered, they can not say they do not share in the spilling of that blood. Would you take that hand if it was stretched to you?

Goat said...

I will be back to read this one with less beer in the system,lol. Yehudi, many of us Christians feel the same and stand with Israel.

ziontruth said...

I'm no rabbi, but I'm an ex-secular Jew with a lot of secular Jewish friends and family.

Even from the entirely non-Jewish point of view, have the advocates of uprising not considered how revolutions have tended to turn out? Just a small sampling: the French Revolution (Robespierre. 'Nuff said); the Russian revolution; the Khmer Rouge coup in Cambodia. Rabbi Yehudah Ha-Levi (ZT"L) says that we Jews are no different from the non-Jews in our human weaknesses; why, then, advocate something that could easily turn into a pool of Jewish blood (God forbid)?

What's happening right now in Israel, which I've detailed in an essay that Baron Bodissey of Gates of Vienna graciously saw it fit to make into a blog post, is the way to go: quiet, gradual revolution from the ground up. You don't have to tell me how frustrated you are about Sderot and other government injustices. You don't have to tell me how itching you are to replace this malicious government with a Jewish one, one that stands up to the good of its Jewish citizens. I share all those sentiments. But to be realistic: there is currently no replacement. There is no Mashiach yet, and no Sanhedrin acceptable to all Jews. And no revolution can create those things, except by the aforementioned scenario of bloodshed (God forbid). No, there is a reason this wise and intelligent nation is going for a quiet revolution: it prepares their hearts for convergence. Divergence enabled the Romans to destroy the Temple; convergence will enable us to repulse the Ishmaelites.

When I was secular, there was nothing that turned me off the Torah and mitzvot than going a roughshod way in promoting them. Those actions went against what I had heard of the Torah, about darchei noam ("Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace", as King David, ancestor of the future Mashiach, said). I do not hesitate to say that such attempts to lead me to the Torah life failed completely, contributing nothing to it. What brought me in the end was HaShem's demonstrations of how I badly needed the Torah life: the need for tradition, the need for a systematic basis for moral decrees, and most of all, the sore national need for an unassailable title deed to the Land of Israel, in the face of all those who say we have stolen it.

When Rabbi Kook (ZT"L) was asked by anti-Zionist rabbis how he could support the treif-eating Tziyoinim of his day, he replied that the holiness of the land would bring them back to the Torah in the end. This is happening right now; even those secular friends and family of mine who don't want to change their lifestyle are much less antagonistic toward the Torah as they used to be in the 1990's. Go with HaShem's pace; do what He shows is right, not what you think is right.

Lastly, remember: Yisrael af al pi sh'khata Yisrael hu--a Jew, even though he has sinned, is still a Jew. There is no wicked one but the wicked son named by the Passover Haggadah, named thus for putting himself out of the Jewish collective. That goes for all the Ilan Papp├ęs, Gil'ad Atzmons and Dovid Weiss's of our time. But those who do not side with the enemy or its causes are our beloved brothers, and the light that is poured on them from above for their righteous actions for the good of the Jewish nation is HaShem's light, which will bring them to the Torah in the end. Kol Yisrael arevim ze ba-zeh, all the Jews are intermixed (in responsibility) for one another; and I would add: it's either arevim or Aravim (Arabs, meaning Ishmaelites, Muslims)--if we do not act as arevim toward one another, God will send us more attacks (chas v'shalom) from the Aravim until we straighten up again. The way to our deliverance (speedily in our days, amen) is paved by emphasizing, by not letting anyone forget, that we're all in the same boat.

HaShem bless you and all of His nation of Israel, as well as all those of humanity who root for the side of humanity instead of giving aid and comfort to the forces of inhumanity.

Anonymous said...

I want to make it clear I dont believe in revolt, but a gradual takeover from the ground up. But there are two issues, what if the Charedim beat us to it?

And would you forgive those who let Rabbi Kahane zt'l be murdered?

Michael said...

I think Bar Kochba, and ZY, were just reminding us that we're all in this together.

I couldn't agree more.

Goat said...

Yes, Michael, we, Christians and Jews are in this together against common enemies, secularism, socialism and Islamists. I ma a huge Natan Sharansky fan needless to say.

Anonymous said...