Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rallies I

[These are comments Rav Moderator made on various Pro-Israel rallies -taon]

The rally was encouraged by a number of Rabbonim, and discouraged by others.

The reasons were basically, first and foremost, we can accomplish more for our people by praying and learning. It was also unclear what exactly the message was to Washington? Support Israel, for sure, but how exactly? Don’t give back land? Don’t make a Palestinian State? All of the above? What politically should be done in Israel is not black and white, and the opinions of our Gedolim do not coincide on this issue with the opinions of those who organized the rally. The difference between this rally and let’s say the rally to bomb the tracks to the concentration camps or to let Jews leave Russia, this one had a political message which we may or may not want to support.

Of course unity is a wonderful thing, but why is anybody bound in the name of unity to do what the people who made the rally say we should do? Perhaps in the interest of unity, they change their course of action, and be unified with those who say not to make the rally?

People seem to feel that if a group of Jews do something, everyone else has to jump to do it too, or else they are making an "anti-achdus" statement. This is not true. People think that "If you don’t do what I want, you’re anti-achdus". Well, maybe you should do what the other guy wants or you’ll be anti-achdus. People disagree on methods of doing things. this rally was a good example. There were good rabbonim on both sides of the issue. But neither side has any privileged status that whatever they believe must be adhered to.

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I personally told people not to go, as I agreed with those that discouraged it.

Plus, even if a Rabbi encourages it in general, he will likely not want Yeshiva Bochurim there, as learning Torah accomplishes a lot more than rallies - the encouragement was for the Baalie Batim.

Then of course, there is the issue that the rally was mixed, with much pritzus, which is the opposite of a Kiddush Hashem.

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The attribution of a lack of care for the death of Jews due to lack of Zionism in the Chareidi world is not only baseless, it's insane to anybody who takes a moment to think objectively.

It ignores not only logic, but the screams and shouts orally and in writing of our Gedolim and lay leaders regarding these issues, which are all on public record.

It is particularly absurd considering that one of the main Chareidi claims against the Zionists is that acquiring and maintaining a State costs lives of thousands of Jews. It was the Satmar Rav who said in Al Hageulah that "there is no permit to allow the death of even one Jew for the sake of the State"; whereas it is Rav Soloveichik who said in Five Addresses if the State is religious, all the sacrifices of life for it "are worthwhile."

As far as Rodfim go, it was Rav Elchonon Wasserman ZTL who ruled that the Zionist extremists who use terror to strike back against Arab terror are Halachic Rodfim, since they merely instigate the Arabs to greater levels of hate.

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The question is, who says your Hishtadlus is the correct one? Making rallies and asserting our demands to Washington is not the Jewish way. It does not help us, and only serves to cause more anti-semitism in the world. Jews are supposed to quietly importune the nations for help, not to openly declare our "rights." This type of Hishtadlus is not productive and only serves to hurt us.

Second, there is plenty of Hishtadlus done that the rally will not make the difference between relying on a Nes as opposed to nature. This rally is not the only Hishtadlus in the world, and not participating in it does not mean you're doing nothing.

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Your rally is not going to be the make it or break it for Jewish lives. Not even as a safek. The politicians in Washington know that the Jews support Israel; the polls and the voters wishes are what they know more than anything else.

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Saying Tehillim is a religious act. A Reconstructionist rabbi led the tehillim because he is a rabbi. That is a religious statement. "This man is a rabbi." Such a statement - implied or stated, is Kefirah. If you notice, the Jews for Jesus were not represented, an their "rabbis" (or Messianic rabbis) were not invited. Clearly, there was a decision that these people are "rabbis", representing "factions" of Judaism, and others are not. That is something I cannot join.

A Reform rabbi on Long Island used the rally to "prove" that the Orthodox really recognize them. His moshol was, a guy is in a life raft lost at sea. He prays to his god, the raft starts leaking. So he starts praying to another god. Then he sees sharks, so he keeps changing gods till he gets saved. Same thing with the Orthodox. they first say we (Reform) are not rabbis, but when they see they’re in trouble they invite us "as rabbis" to their rally.

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Kiddush Hashem means people doing a Mitzvah in public. Unless you establish that this is a Mitzvah, you cannot call it a Kiddush Hashem. In fact, the mingling of men and women, the pritzus, are all things that G-d hates. A public display of that is the opposite of Kiddush Hashem.

And --- this is important -- the booing of Paul Wolfowitz was a big Chilul Hashem. All the man said was that there are innocent Palestinians dying - which is of course true - babies included - he did not say anything pro-palestinian or against Israel. And he was booed off stage.

A paper in Italy derived from that, that Jews only care about innocent lives if those lives are Jewish.

That's what happens by these rallies, that are not representative of Daas Torah but rather political positions. We cannot have non-religious, non-Torah Jews representing Klall Yisroel. Who knows what they will say, what they will do? Yet that is exactly what happens at such rallies. You can never control what will be said, and what is said is NOT measured according to Daas Torah but rather according to non-religious ideas of what should and should not be said.

I cannot be part of that.

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