Sunday, December 18, 2005

Who's to Blame?

One of the main purposes of this blog is to focus on the challenges facing both the Jewish State & People, and present what steps (I believe) must be taken in order for us to collectively overcome those challenges. As such, all too often, I have been critical of certain policies, ideologies or actions of particular individuals or institutions within the State of Israel.

However, I recently came across a different perspective as to how to view the challenges facing the Jewish People & State, and I would be remiss if I did not present it alongside my critiques of Israel's left and its ideology which I believe cause irreparable damage to both the Jewish People & State.

The following words were written by Rabbi Yissachar Shlomo Teichtal, the author of Eim HaBanim Smeicha, a Torah giant who initially was a staunch anti-Zionist, but through his experiences in the Shoah (at which time he wrote this book, and in which he perished - May Hashem avenge his blood) he came to the recognize that the Jewish People must collectively return to the Land of Israel and that it is only there that the potential and destiny of the Jewish People will be actualized. (The following words were written during the Shoah, prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, are all too relevant and accurate today):
It is clear that he who prepares prior to the Sabbath will eat on the Sabbath (Avodah Zarah, 3a), and since the Orthodox did not toil, they have absolutely no influence in the Land (of Israel). Those who toil and build have the influence, and they are the masters of the Land. It is, therefore, no wonder that they are in control... Now, what will the Orthodox say? I do not know if they will ever be able to vindicate themselves before the heavenly court for not participating in the movement to rebuild the Land...

Had the G-d fearing, religious Jews been involved in this undertaking, our Holy Land would have a completely different, more sanctified appearance and form than it has now... All agree that if the Orthodox would have cooperated and participated in the building effort, it would have been exceedingly lofty and holy. Now that they kept themselves at a distance, they should not wonder to question the situation, for they are at fault. (Eim Habanim Smeicha, p. 23)

How can any observant, G-d fearing Jew respond to these words, aside from bowing his head in shame?

It is true that the IDF, the media, the judicial system, the education system, and the government are all run and based on values which are not all consistent with Torah Judaism, but who is really to blame for that?

If Orthodox Jews would have taken up the banner to rebuild the Land of Israel and establish the Jewish State of Israel, we would have shaped these institutions on traditional, Jewish values. Regretfully, only a small minority decided to actively partake in this endeavor, and as a result, the character of the re-established State of Israel was decided upon by others - by those whose motivation in returning to the Land of Israel was not totally consistent with our own.

Today, we still have not learned from our mistakes.

Observant, G-d fearing Jews, the world over, continue to lament the current state of affairs in the Jewish State, vocally protesting this policy or that, and yet they continue to reject the only true hope of being able to change the current reality, namely, Aliyah. Within the State of Israel, observant Jews make up perhaps 20%+ of the population and that is clearly not a significant enough % to shape the policies and agendas of the day according to our vision.

I will continue to oppose the policies and ideology of those whose actions I believe weaken the Jewish State & People, and I will continue to advocate and work towards shaping Israel into a truly Jewish State that will enable the Jewish people to actualize our potential & destiny. Yet, until observant Jews, the world over, are prepared to accept an active role in the struggle over character of the Jewish State, and are willing to place their own fate with that of their Jewish brothers and sisters here in Israel, the situation will not change.

Money is nice, but it isn't the answer to everything.

Prayers are important, but there is a time for prayer and there is a time for action, and one can't act from 6,000 miles away.

Foriegn influence has its merits, but in the end, history has shown that we can rely only upon ourselves.

We have only one home, and the few can't be expected to bear the responsibility and the burden of the many.

What will it take for us to learn this lesson?



5 Comments:

Great post Ze'ev

The problem is that (as we all know) when it comes to matters like ideology, it's very difficult to change once stance unless there is some radical or explosive event. Even when there are intellectual reasons to sway one way or the other, the emotional aspects involved make it almost impossible for anyone to change their beliefs. This is for both sides of the argument. Rav Teichtal's words about aliyah and it's importance ring true, but for someone who doesn't believe, his words mean nothing.

American Jews can preach aliyah, but until they all stand up and move here en masse, we won't get much closer to a majority in this no-longer-Zionistic-Country. We unfortunately live in a society that no longer wants to be different, (Jewish) modern politics have instead made it even more ashamed of our Jewishness.

So until we can have proof that our enemies truly want to change, I plan on continuing the intellectual and emotional struggle against them and those in our midst who have yet to embrace the true fulfillment of the dream of a Jewish (religious) homeland.

By Blogger Jerusalemcop, at Sun Dec 18, 01:50:00 PM GMT+2  

Ignoring what Jerusalem Cop said - Here Here! Yishar Koach for a spot on piece, Ze'ev. Here is one point on which we thoroughly agree - I have an even more apt version of this same piece to present to the Progressive communities of the world.

Spot on!

By Anonymous H, at Sun Dec 18, 01:53:00 PM GMT+2  

Jerusalem Cop, it seems that ever traumatic events aren't enough to shake many Jews. We didn't see a dramitic rise in Aliyah after 9/11, and the prospecto f the "disengagement" didnt get Jews on planes here either...

I really wonder what it will take...

Haim, a double "spot-on" post, thats a big deal coming from you. i would love to hear your take on how this applies ot the progressive community.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Sun Dec 18, 03:15:00 PM GMT+2  

Basically Progressive Judaism and Zionism were both reactions to the disentegration of the complete Jewish Community in exile by the emancipation and enlightenment. Both responses sought to end "exile" in one way or another - Reform by simply redefining Galut as Diaspora, and Zionism by ending the Gola and the Galut together. Basically Assimilation and AntiSemitism proved that Reform's attempts to end the Galut were mistaken. Meanwhile Zionism succeeded in taking many Jews out of Gola, but because it allowed too many people (the Orthodox) into the movement who did not agree with its genuine identity-centred agenda, it failed to take the Galut (Orthodox - modernity denying, Ostrich like mentality) out of the Jews.

So Yes - what I want to say to Progressive Jews is - what are you playing at? 150 years of Reform outside of the Land Of Israel has been plenty long enough to prove that Galut is doomed for non-orthodoxy. If you care about being Jewish and you want to carry it on, but you don't accept the heteronomy of halacha, then you must live inside Jewish society. If you don't care that much about being Jewish - then you won't be. So enjoy being american. That goes the same for non-Progressive Jews as well - they may stay halachically Jewish, but from a sociological perspective, it is ridiculous to consider someone who does not live in the land of the Jews, nor speak the language of the Jews, and in effect rejects the shared history of the Jews, a Jew.

By Anonymous H, at Sun Dec 18, 04:28:00 PM GMT+2  

Those Jews who live in Eretz Yisrael have a lot less to answer for than those of us who don't.

By Blogger Soccer Dad, at Mon Dec 19, 09:05:00 PM GMT+2  

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