Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Kahanism I

Feeling the pain of Am Yisroel does not change the Torah's view on Kahanaism or any other issue. It is a mistake to think that those who care when the Torah is in trouble do not care when people are in trouble. Real Torah Jews care about both. As Rav Elchonon Wasserman writes in his Kovetz Maamarim, "Jews have survived 2,000 years without Israel. But we could not survive one moment without Torah." Clarifying the Torah's will on fundamental issues are not "petty squabbles." It is our life.

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The entire Hashkafa of these people is off. Responding to anti-Semitism with equal and opposite violence is against the Torah and, particularly while we are in Golus, a losing battle, and only makes things worse by provoking further anti-Semitism. The Torah’s directive is for us to attempt peace with our non-Jewish antagonists, and only when faced with an actual kill-or-be-killed situation is violence justified. You can find this in many places, including Rav Elchonon Wasserman’s Kovetz Maamarim.
The idea of using muscle to combat anti-Semitism or, as these people used to say when I was a kid, “for every Jew a .22”, is not new. Sixty years ago Rav Elchonon Wasserman ZT”L was interviewed while in Vilna for a meeting of the Vaad haYeshivos by a writer for Dos Yiddishe Togblatt. A translation of the interview was edited by Rabbi Yehoshua Leiman of Brooklyn and printed in The Jewish Press July 14, ’89. The following is a quote from there:

“Togblatt: What should be our position regarding the Jewish anti-terror movement that uses terror against Arab terror?
Rav Wasserman: They must be regarded as Rodfim (endangerers) of Jewry. We are forbidden to use such methods.”

Our general position in Golus is to avoid and even run from confrontation with the Goyim, who by heavenly decree have the upper hand during this time period, as much as possible. We are even sworn, while in Golus not to revolt against the gentile nations (Kesuvos 111a). If we violate this oath, the punishment is that G-d will “allow our flesh [to be hunted] like deer in the fields.” Meforshim say that this is the most terrible punishment in the entire Torah.

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The JTF claim to be Kahanists but they are miles from Kahane. Their agenda is not merely Jew vs. Non-Jew; their agenda is White vs. Black. Apparently there’s not enough money to be gotten from militant Jews so they have extended their appeal to the extreme anti-black racists in America as well, claiming to be fighting their battle. Here’s a quote:
“White America senses that something terrible is happening to this country. Instead of lulling people into a false and suicidal sense of calm, the Republican Party should be sounding the alarm. . .
If JTF were on national television in the U.S. and Israel, imagine how the world would change for the better . . . In the United States, the sleeping giant of white America would finally be aroused. Our huge audience would inspire a genuine right-wing movement in this country, making it impossible for traitor frauds like George W. Bush and the Nazi Pat Buchanan to pass themselves off as "conservatives." We would save the U.S. from the abyss of Third World oblivion. And we would thwart the multinational corporate conspiracy to destroy U.S. sovereignty by creating One World Government.
For our glorious dream to come true, JTF needs millions of dollars to pay for time on national television. If you are a wealthy Jew or righteous Gentile with the needed millions of dollars, please contact us immediately so that we can make the necessary arrangements.”

Here’s more:

“Our struggle is to spearhead the momentous movement to save America and Israel. Our movement is the only hope for saving the Jewish homeland. And our movement is the only hope for inspiring righteous Gentiles to do what must be done to save America from the clutches of the hateful Third World hordes who seek the destruction of this once great nation.
Which is why every Jew and righteous Gentile should make out an especially generous check to "JTF" immediately and send it out right away.”

Save America? First they say Israel – and only Israel - is the Jewish homeland and that every Jew HAS to live there, and that America is for gentiles only. Then they want to save America from the blacks. Is this their agenda?

They’re very much into the “righteous gentiles.” They correctly point out that Judaism does not demand gentiles convert, but their example of a “righteous gentile” is “Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, who does not believe in the Jewish religion but who does have mercy upon the victims of injustice”. These people are idol-worshipers who believe in a god who impregnates married women and has children. These are NOT chasidei umos ha’olam.

This whole thing is a moneymaking attempt to attract the extreme right wing anti-black Americans.

This is not even Kahanism. I don’t see how any Jew can take this seriously.

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When we fight it is only to save Jewish lives, not to get or defend land. We do not put Jewish lives at risk for any land. Unfortunately, there are many lives in danger today in Eretz Yisroel, and we cannot allow them to be wiped out c"v.

The mainstream leadership of Orthodox Jewry, which includes everyone from the Brisker Rav to the Chazon Ish to Rav S.R.Hirsh to Lubavitch were against the creation of a sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisroel (only the Zionists wanted it) because it violated either this or another of the Oaths that I was referring to above. The other Oath says, in short, that the Jews will not forcefully possess Eretz Yisroel during Golus.

The objection to Zionism in the Torah world is, contrary to popular belief, not due to the irreligiosity of the Zionists - although that was a small part of it as well - but rather to the violation of these Oaths.
However, that was regarding the question of whether to create a sovereign state in Eretz Yisroel. Ex post facto, after it was made, the question becomes what to do about it and how to relate to it. Now that it is here should we try to make it as religious and useful as possible or would participation in its political process make us accessories after the fact? That is a debate among Torah authorities.
But all of the above agree that risking Jewish lives is only justified to save Jewish lives, not to save land.

I once heard the following vort from Rav Shimon Schwab ZT"L:

In the Chanukah "al hanisim" it describes our miraculous victory in the war, and continues, "And afterwards, Your children went to restore Your House [the Bais HaMikdosh] etc."

The words "and afterwards" are awkward and unnecessary. It could have just said "we won the war and fixed Your house..."

Said Rav Schwab ZT"L, the reason for these extra words is to make sure we understand what we were - and were not - fighting for.

Nobody should think that the war against the Greeks had anything to do with the fact that they took over control of the Bais HaMikdash. We would rather them have the Bais HaMikdash forever and make Tameh all the oil rather than risk Jewish blood to wage war.

Rather, the war was for one reason only: "The Greeks decreed ... to make them forsake the Torah and to make them violate Your laws".

When someone makes us violate the Torah we risk our lives to stop them. We wage war. But not for land.

Therefore, it is saying that only after we won the war, after Hashem have over "many into the hands of few, strong into the hands of the weak" etc. Only after the war was over and we won, only then - "afterwards" - we went to fix the Bais HaMikdosh. But if we would have had to fight and risk lives to get the Bais HaMikdosh back, we never would have done so.

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The first thing I would suggest is to get a hold of Rav Elchonon Wasserman's Kovetz Maamarim, and read the chapter called Ikvesa D'Meshichah, printed in English as “Epoch of the Messiah” . He explains why the tactics that Kahane espoused - which by the way, are nothing new: the idea of exporting the Arabs, and fighting terror with terror etc. were espoused way, way before Kahane, in the early days of Zionism; his ideas are so totally unoriginal - are not only against the Torah, but cause Klall Yisroel to be in danger, and Jews to c"v die. See especially pages 310-313 in the new print. Basically it goes like this:

When someone attacks an individual Jew, he is instructed to fight back. "When someone rises to kill you, rise up and kill them first." But when we are dealing with the survival of Klall Yisroel as a whole, the rules change. This is because, using plain, nationalistic methods of survival work for other nations but do not work to maintain the Am Yisroel. This is because, while Esav was blessed with "He shall live by his sword", Klall Yisroel's Brochoh was that they should live by the Torah.

This means that the sword is the method the nations use for survival, but it does not work for us.

What does work for us is to avoid confrontation with the nations of the world as much as possible. We are commanded by Chazal in numerous places (Brachos 7b, Yalkut Shimoni Shemos 168, Devorim Rabbah 1) not to dare engage the Goyim in a national confrontation. If we do, we will lose. Because we are playing on their turf - "the sword". What we are told to do in order to survive, is to avoid confrontation as much as possible, run away, whether the storm, and turn to Torah and Mitzvos.

The Gemora (Taanis 10b) says we should not "attract the attention" of the nations. Says Rav Elchonon: "This is a warning not to give the nations any opportunity to focus their attention on us and to always be talking about us. To the extent that the nations refrain from thinking about us and talking about us, to that extent we will be OK."

In short, Kahane's methods of directly confronting the nations with force will fail because the nations are stronger than us, physically. The result will be - and has been - only to further instigate greater anti-semitism and more deaths of Jews. The right thing to do according to Chazal is to "lay low" - just the opposite of what Kahane wanted.

Throughout history this is how Klall Yisroel has behaved. And although we have been persecuted and murdered for thousands of years, please note that Klall Yisroel is the only single one of the ancient nations that has survived until today. The "shelf life" for even the most glorious, powerful nations is much shorter than the shelf life of the Am Yisroel. The methods that Chazal revealed to us - the methods that we have used - have been successful beyond any reasonable expectations, or any natural life span. We have been miraculously successful in our survival using the methods of Chazal. And that, despite our being constantly persecuted, and without a homeland for thousands of years.

That is the only thing that allowed us to survive throughout golus - "laying low". And not confronting the nations. Not living "by the sword".

When the Goyim threatened us with death, we always turned to the Torah. When they threatened our religion, not our lives, like by making a Shmad, then, and only then, did we put our lives on the line and go to war against impossible odds.

We all know that's the difference between Purim and Chanukah. On Chanukah, they didn’t want to kill any Jews. They just attacked "Hashem" - wanted to stop Torah and Mitzvos. So we fought. But on Purim they wanted to kill us - so we didn’t make a war; we prayed.

Rav Elchonon ZTL said that those who resort to the methods of "answering violence with violence" are considered Rodfim of Klall Yisroel - people who put Jewish lives in danger. And I don’t know if he meant that literally, but the Halachic status of such people is that you are allowed to kill them, and by killing them, it is considered as if you saved the Jewish lives that would have been lost because of their irresponsible actions.

Regarding a homeland, the Torah prohibits us to have a homeland in Eretz Yisroel before Moshiach comes. The punishment, it says, is that if we do take Eretz Yisroel before Moshiach, Hashem will allow the Jews to be "hunted down and butchered like animals in the field." Rachmana Litzlan.

One of the reasons for not making a Jewish State in Israel, aside form the Torah’s prohibition, was the obvious danger to Jewish lives due to the Arab resistance. The creation of the State of Israel and the ensuing middle east controversy caused so much anti-semitism, it is worse than it was before. Rav Shach ZTL writes this in his letters, and even before the founding of the State, the Gedolim were screaming that this would happen. Wrote Rav Michoel Ber Weismandel ZTL, the great hero of the holocaust:

"These Zionists...with their offensive militancy, fanned the fires of anti-semitism in Europe, and succeeded in forging a bond of Jew hatred between Nazi Germany and the surrounding countries.

"There are the 'statesmen' who organized the irresponsible boycott against Germany in 1933. This boycott hurt Germany like a fly attacking an elephant - but it brought calamity on the Jews of Europe. At a time when America and England were at peace with the mad dog Hitler, the Zionists forsook the only plausible method of political amenability; and ... incense the leader of Germany into a frenzy. And then, after the bitterest episode in Jewish history, these Zionists lured the broken refugees in the DP camps to remain in hunger and deprivation, and refuse to relocate to any place except Palestine; only for the purpose of building their state.
"The Zionists have incited and continue to incite an embittered Jewish youth to futile wars against world powers like England, and against hundreds of millions of Arabs.

"And these same Zionist "statesmen" heedlessly push the world to the brink of another total war - revolving entirely around the Holy Land.

"...the rising anti-Semitism in the Western World is the product of their "statesmanship"".

Rav Shach ZT"L also writes how the controversy caused by the State of Israel is likely to cause the next world war, rachmana latzlan.

I have not heard of any Tzadik come up with any solution to this problem. The Gedolim tried to prevent it - as in the writing of Rav Michoel Ber and Rav Elchonon ZTL - but the Zionists ignored their pleas and put us in this position anyway. Once the fire is burning, I haven’t heard anyone suggest a way to put it out.

Except to pray to Hashem and to return to the Torah.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Tzvi Ben Roshel said...

" on Purim they wanted to kill us - so we didn’t make a war; we prayed."

This is a wrong statement. We kill thousands upon thousands of our enemies in Purim (I believe the number is ~75,000).
This "essay" is a classic one describing galut Judaism. Facts remain- European Jewry as a whole didn't fight back. Look what happened. The "zionists", especially the earlier one's fought back, revolted. THEY WON!

10:54 AM  
Anonymous taon said...

First, This was written by a Rav, I just put it up here. Please show the proper kavod.

Second, your point about purim was answered in Kahanism II

Third, the Jews in europe were killed becuase of Hashem's decree for reasons we can't know. Fighting wouldnt have done anything. The revolts that were then generally led to more needless deaths. And If Daas Torah, those Gedolim of previous generations, did not say to fight.. who are we?

Fourth, winning doesn't mean anything. And is the current situation what you call winning? Not even a Pyrrhic victory.

Fifth...I'm not going to touch the galus Jew line. Its disgusting.

4:59 PM  

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