Sunday, August 27, 2006

Israel: protection? III

Although I don’t know if the disengagement from the gaza strip is good or bad, I can at least say what the question here is, which, they say, is half the answer.

Whether this is good or bad depends on one thing only: will the disengagement save lives or endanger them? If it will save lives, then it is a good thing, if not, not. To save lives, we do anything (with few halachic exceptions), and so if giving back land in Israel to the Arabs will save lives, then that’s what we should do. In fact, theoretically, if we could give back the entire State of Israel without endangering any Jewish lives (currently an impossibility) that would be the right thing to do. Rav Shach ZTL used to pray every day, his students relate, for the peaceful dismantling of the State of Israel, “peaceful” meaning without endangering any Jewish lives.

So ideas of keeping this land at the cost of Jewish lives is wrong. One Jewish life is worth more than all the land in the world, and that’s irrelevant to the fact that this particular land is something that we were prohibited to have possessed in the first place.

And whether the disengagement will or will not save lives is something I am not sure of: how can I be? It is a political question, which involves knowing how the Arabs will react, how the Israelis will react, how the world will react, and that includes, among many other things, knowledge of the motives of those orchestrating the disengagement as well as those resisting it. These are things that I cannot tell you with any degree of certainty. It is not something I can look up in the Rambam or the Shulchan Aruch, and I am neither a political expert nor a Yodeh Machshavos. And so I defer to Chazal’s instructions in Shabbos 145b: “Im borur lecha k’achoscha shehi asura tomar, v’im lav al tomar”. (And as far as the Hafgonos, that is your answer as well - if you are not sure about it, don't protest.)

To be sure, the answer to everything – even political issues - is contained somewhere in the Torah, but that doesn’t mean all of us can always find it.

What makes the issue more difficult is that just because someone is a political expert does not mean we can rely on his word here. As Rav Shach writes, we cannot rely on the officials in the State of Israel for reliable information regarding these matters, since they have their own standards of morals and agendas, which skew their opinion. Who is to say for instance that when they send Jewish teenagers to die in a war that such action was absolutely necessary? We cannot rely on them to have exhausted all means available to avoid war, he writes. In a nutshell, people who we would not rely on to provide us with information regarding the kashrus of a chicken should not be relied on to provide us with information regarding Dinei Nefoshos. These people are definitely not mesiach kefi tumam.

One thing I will say, though. If there is any group of people who definitely gain by the disengagement, it’s the settlers themselves. It’s dangerous where they live, and they and their children – special emphasis on their children who did not choose on their own to live out there in the Wild West but were made to do so by their parents - are probably going to be much safer wherever they end up.

I had a “conversation” (more like an argument) with a major right-wing settler person a while back who was tirading (there should be such a word) to me about how terrible the disengagement is. I asked him what he would say if, after 120 years, Hashem shows him a video of what would have been without the disengagement, and he sees his own children being slaughtered by Arab terrorists c”v. Then Hashem says to him “This is why I made the disengagement happen. So your own children should be saved,” would he complain then, or would he thank Hashem crying in gratitude and humility for making the disengagement happen?

You should have seen the stunned look on his face.

I explained to him that he should focus on the opinion of the Chovos Halevovos and Sefer HaChinuch (there is a machlokes about this), that when someone does something bad to you, even with their Bechirah, it is a Gezrirah from Shamayim and it would have happened to you anyway, even had that person not chosen to do it. So if he is forcibly relocated, he should look at it like any other Gezirah – according to him a Gezeirah Raah – and his job would be to follow the Gemora that states “im yesurim baim alav yepashpesh bemaasav”, and he should figure out what Teshuva he needs to do that caused this Gezeirah, and then he can do whatever he thinks he wants to do to fix the situation. But his main job as a frum Jew is to take it like we take all other Yesurim and take stock in his actions.

That’s if his moving out is a bad thing. Otherwise, he should focus on that movie I told him about in Shamayim, and figure out what Mitzvah he did to merit this glimmer of Hashgachah Pratis where Hashem intervened and did him a tremendous Chesed.

Or both.

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Even if peace did not work before, that does not mean it cannot work now. The world has changed much since then, as well as the attitudes of both sides. But contrary to Israeli propaganda, there were mistakes and lack of cooperation on both sides. It could be corrected and done properly, perhaps, but, like all secular governments, Israel spread the word that they made all the concessions and the Arabs made all the refusals.

In any case, what needs to be done is to cut through all the lies and propaganda so that we can get the facts straight, then maybe work out a solution. Currently, with all the propaganda and lies proliferated by both Israel and the Arabs, and America and Europe, it can’t be done. You can’t work out a solution to a complex problem with tons of wrong assumptions and false facts.

The first step --- that YOU can do -- is to not accept what you are told by politicians with agendas and a past record of deceit. The Israelis are not more honest than any other secular politicians. We should not trust them any more than we would any others. Then, when we have the facts straight, maybe we can get to first base.

Even if the modern day Egyptians still hate us, the fact that at least destructive war was prevented - at the very least, suspended - saves lives and is worth concessions. ONE life is worth all the land in the world. That’s the rule. (Please see Rav Shach's quotes in the "Zionism" section of the forums). And if there was peace with our other neighbors there, it is not unreasonable to assume that the Egyptian anger and hate would not be as great as it is now.

Habah l'hargecha hashkem l'horgo is a Halachic ruling, and is not useable by those who are not qualified to make Halachic rulings. The assessment of the Israeli government regarding who to kill is halachicly useless, since they cannot be assumed to have exhausted any and all options for peaceful solutions, including concessions.

Habah l'hargecha does not mean to make pre-emptive killings. Making peace comes first - like Yaakov Avinu did with Esav- first he tried to appease him, and if that didn’t work, he was willing to go to war. And war meant there, to hold off the enemy long enough to escape (see Rashi). Hashkem lhorgo does not mean put your own life in danger if you can avoid it. It does not mean to send Jews to war that will invariably cost Jewish lives. It says kill the OPPONENT - not send Jews to be killed. We would not halachicly trust people like Sharon with our Milchiger dishes and fleishiger sponges. We have to be insane to trust not only his word, but his objectivity, his judgment, and his agenda, with our brothers' lives.

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I seriously doubt there will ever be peace in Eretz Yisroel. It's kind of like asking regarding the Jews who lived in Germany and Poland before WWII what would "be our most realistic prospect of finding peace" with the Nazis? The Gedolim warned us that if they make this Medinah, Eretz Yisroel will be the most dangerous place in the world for Jews to live, and of course that’s what has happened. I seriously do not know how to make peace. But I do know what will make the situation worse --- and that is making believe that we are stronger than our enemies. We are not - we are one sheep among 70 wolves. What’s the sheep's best prospect for peace?

Obviously the best answer, if it were possible theoretically, would be to relinquish the entire Medinah to someone or some international force or group that is capable of handling the Arabs - because Israel is not capable of that at all. But - alas! - that isn’t going to happen, so realistically, as long as it's Israel vs. the Arabs, Israel will continue to lose lives, Hashem Yishmerienu.


The Satmar Rebbe had a different analogy than the one from the Chazon Ish with the same lesson. Simply, he said that the Zionists are like arsonists who set a building on fire then want to take credit for dragging one or two people out of the burning building while the rest burn to death.

The issue is NOT the 900 people that were killed in the last 3 years - that is just PART of the issue. The issue is the 25,000 people that were killed in the last 50 years, of which those 900 are a part, and the thousands upon thousands that are in danger of being killed in the future, and the countless Jews that were killed before 1948 because of the Zionist-Arab conflict.

Probably the simplest, easiest to understand crime of the Zionists against the Jewish people is the war with the Arabs that they threw us all into without asking us. I have seen Rav Soloveichik and Rav Hershel Shecheter among others struggle Halachicly with the issue of what is the heter to create a Medinah that invariably will cost Jewish blood to maintain. Neither of them, nor anybody else, has come up with anything close to a real answer. It’s not easy to justify Jewish deaths, which is what the Zionists must do for the sake of their "medinah." Is it any wonder that our Torah leaders have said that the Medinah will likely be the absolute worst tragedy that has ever befallen klall Yisroel in the history of golus? (Rav Elchonon Wasserman said it in those words).

The results of the Kahanist philosophy and way of life can be seen clearly by what it did to Kahane and his family hashem yishmereinu. That is the result of Zionist militancy.

So I don’t know what the solution is to this war with the Arabs, but I surely know what the cause was. And it is insanity to think that employing more of the irresponsible actions that caused the deaths of all those Jews is going to do anything but bring more of the same.

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The Satmar Rebbe ZT"L, one of the staunchest opponents to Zionism in our times, wrote in his Sefer Vayoel Moshe (p.8) that although we are not allowed to have Eretz Yisroel before Moshiach, unfortunately, it is impossible just undo the state through political means since that will endanger Jewish lives. The only way to undo statehood nowadays is to pray for Hashem to deal with it. But politically, it is impossible.

When I was a kid, I once asked Rabbi Avigdor Miller [how could we give away Israel and survive.] He gave me a moshol which I later found out is really a posuk in Mishle.

He said what the Zionists did when they created a Jewish state in Eretz Yisroel against lethally vehement opposition of the Arabs was like grabbing a dog and picking it up by the ears.

The dog gets angry, but you have a dilemma. If you let go he's going to bite you, but the longer you hold it the angrier he gets.

The same thing, he said, with Eretz Yisroel. If you let go they'll kill you but the more you hold on the more terrible they get.

The posuk in Mishle goes like this:

Kmachzik b'aznei kelev, over hamisaber al riv lo lo.

"Like grabbing the ears of a dog, someone who gets embroiled in a dispute that is not his own."

I do not believe at this point that anything will make the Arabs stop killing Jews. I don't believe that giving them land will change that. But whether giving back some land will be reduce the intensity of the current state of war, and if so what and how much, is a question that I am unable to give any better an opinion on than anyone else. I am not an Israeli government official and I am not privy to the information they have, I do not know the games they play, and whatever information we do know is tainted with political agendas. This issue is nothing less than Dinei Nefoshos, life and death matters, which should not be decided by a bunch of anti-Torah, anti-G-d, soulless politicians. Unfortunately, the lives of so many Jews are stuck in the middle of a political battle between two governments, both of which have their own political agendas, and who are either willing to kill Jews (Arabs) or allow Jews to be killed (Israelis) in order to further those careers and agendas. I don't know what the answer is, and those that do, it looks like, don't care.

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There is not much to do here - the world currently has ignited its Jew hatred because of the conflict in the Middle East. Israel and the Arabs both do thing wrong and occupying three million people against their will does not go over well with the other nations of the world.

The problem is an old one, and it was predicted by our Gedolim. The Zionists have told the world that they represent "Jews". That the acts of the State of Israel represent the opinion of Jews and Judaism. This of course is a lie, but we Jews are in a very precarious position here. Even though our agenda and the political agenda of the Israeli government often does not coincide - our agenda is the safety and well being of the Jews living in Israel, not territory, or political agendas, or even the State itself - we cannot compromise the security of the State without endangering the lives of Jews.

Rav Micoel Ber Weismandel ZTL wrote that the solution to the Palestinian problem is that we should depose the political leaders that represent us, and negotiate peaceful with the Arabs for coexistence, under whatever government will better guarantee such coexistence, Jewish or not.

This was before '48. Now, such a solution is not possible. The world thinks, mistakenly, that the Jews are unreasonable, bloody murders of innocent civilians and tyrants who have the audacity to maintain an occupation over millions of people against their will.

The reality is, the Israeli government's actions do not represent the Jews. The Torah does. And since the Israeli government has no desire to follow the Torah, their actions represent Jews no more than the actions of the government of Turkey. The nations blame the Jew in London and the Jew in Flatbush and the Jew in Paris for what the Israeli government is doing.

Unfortunately, that is the situation, and the Jews living in Israel are in grave danger. This synthetically created blood feud between Jews and Arabs is now a reality. And we must defend our brother Jews at all costs.

To alleviate anti-semitism, we must show Hashem, and yes, the nations of the world, that we are a people who follow the Torah, not political agendas, and not jingoistic tribalism. We must do Teshuva and return to Hashem. The anti-semitism that exists in the world is a result of the inherent powder keg of Esav soneh es Yaakov, which was ignited by the actions of those who falsely told the world they represent Judaism. Our job now is to show Hashem that we know what Judaism really is, and that we are committed to he Torah and not to any other agendas.

The only solution to this problem is Teshuva, because only Hashem can get us out of it.

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Hashem said He doesn't want a State; obviously if we were led to that position it wasn't by Hashem.


Hashem didn’t say "If Russian Jews come there then it's OK to make a State" - He said don't do it no matter what, and if you do it, Jews will be killed like animals. This would not be a heter. But in fact the State of Israel took Russian Jews from Russia who for generations made sure to hold on at least to their Jewish identity and gave them free passage into Israel where they now have a close to 90% assimilation rate (that's right 90% among the Russian Jews in Israel), not to mention the fact that many of those are not really Jews at all, since the Israel government "paskened" that anyone with one out of four grandfather who were Jewish makes you Jewish and entitled to the privileges of the Law of Return. And even to prove that one of four of the grandparents were Jewish you don’t need anything except the "say so" of a fellow russian. One signed affidavit, that’s all.

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They originally had a plan for Uganda to be the Jewish State, and even an area in Texas. But they decide on Israel because of the "historical" roots that the Jewish people have to it. They don't care about Judaism, so what connection do they have to EY more than Uganda?

The answer is that the Zionists were not trying to make a Jewish State per se - the State was only part of their plan. Their plan was to change the Am Yisroel from a religion-based nation into a culture-and-land-based nation, like the Italians, Spanish and Greeks, whose nationality is due to their common language, land, and culture. So too they wanted to create a new Am Yisroel - based on a common language (Ivrit), land (Israel) and culture. Religion would not have anything to do anymore with being Jewish - as Shimon Peres said not long ago: "Who is a Jew? Whoever supports Israel and fights in the army is a Jew. If the rabbis don’t like that we will have to ask 'who is a rabbi?'".

As the Brisker Rav ZTL pointed out: "It’s not that they want a State and therefore they shmad yidden - they want to shmad yidden and therefore they need a State."

The whole idea of Zionism was to redefine Jews, Judaism, and the Jewish Nation from religious entities to national entities. The whole idea was to destroy Klall Yisroel and rebuild it in their own godless image. From Rav Avigdor Miller: "What Haman and Titus could not do, the Zionists are attempting."

It used to be, that the Reshayim would try to get us to become part of the other nations - we always fought that because we are Jews, not Greeks or Romans. The Zionists have a more insidious evil, which ha never before been attempted: To make us into one of the other nations!

That’s why they wanted Israel - a land with "historical and cultural" ties. History and culture is vital for the success of nationalism. Eretz Yisroel was the most logical tool for them to accomplish their destruction of Judaism based on a Torah and replace it with Judaism based on nationalism.

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The establishment of the State of Israel was opposed by all Torah leaders. Only the Mizrachi wanted it, and not only were they hopelessly outgunned scholarship-wide by the Torah giants that opposed them, but they have not yet show any hope of answering the Torah claims leveled against them by the Gedolim.

The analogy to "entrapment" is an example of the halachicly invalid arguments that need to be used to defend the indefensible. Entrapment is not a Halachicly valid defense. It is the Yetzer Horah's job in this world is to "entrap" us. The same argument that you are making here I have heard from Jewish men who fell in love with non-Jewish women, and attempt to justify their intermarriage. They say How can G-d allow me to fall in love with this woman and not marry her? Isn't that "entrapment?" Any Yetzer Horah is entrapment. Entrapment is not a Halachicly valid claim in Torah law. If you are using Goyishe law to decide Halachah, then your point could be debated. Otherwise, it doesn't work.

Secondly, the Medinah is only accepted, even after WWII by those who either don't know it is against the Torah or don't care. The fact that the vast majority of Torah Jews, including the Gedolei Yisroel and their followers did not accept it invalidates any argument of entrapment. The existence of the Brisker Rav, the Chazon Ish, the Rogachover Gaon, the Lubavitcher Rebbe Rashab, Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch, the Chofetz Chaim, and other authorities who taught us not to accept the Medinah is more compelling to Torah Jews than whatever promises of salvation Ben Gurion and Achad Ha'am had to offer.

Furthermore, nobody ever said that the creation of the State was an "act of the devil". Judaism has no devil. Such statements are regularly used by Zionists to misrepresent their opponents, and they have zero truth to them. A "maaseh Satan" is not an "act of the devil". It is exactly what you described in your post: Something that is tempting but against the Torah. The Yetzer Horah (Satan)'s job is to create such situations. And if as the State was a tempting attraction especially after WWII then by definition, if it is against the Torah it is a Maaseh Satan. "Act of the devil" is a totally different concept which does not exist in our religion.

Examples of the way the Jews were treated in Syria - blood libels, pogroms killing scores of Jews - is nothing exceptional, unfortunately, throughout Golus. And it does not compare in the slightest to the treatment we had under the Christians. Again - under Arab rule, both in Palestine and in Arab lands, we were treated much better than we were by the Christians and Europeans. Until the Zionists came. This is not a question, it is, as the Zionists themselves admit, a historical fact. Ben Gurion himself said that if he were the Arabs he would never accept Israel, "for we took their land" were his words.

Incidently, in Syria, although you are correct that there were a relatively small amount of violent outbreaks against the Jews (that is, relative to the Chirstians), the Jews were not allowed to leave, but were afforded general protection of the government.

I am fully aware of the writings of Gotein, including his Iyunim B'Mikrah. Nothing he says changes any of the above. And the website link you supply doesn't have any information that changes any of the above either.

The argument that since the State exists it is the will of G-d is just one more example of the untenable position of the Zionists. Just because G-d allows something does not mean He approves of it. G-d allowed six million Jews to be killed. Does that mean He approves of Hitler?

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