“ K A H A N E”
The magazine of the authentic Jewish Idea
Summer 5743 -1983
THE FIRE OF JEALOUSY
“O that my people would hearken unto me and Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hands against their adversaries.”
The great day of the L-rd is near… a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress… a day of the horn and alarm… and I will bring distress upon men… because they have sinned against the L-rd… neither their silver nor gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the L-rd’s wrath, but the whole earth shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy…” (Zephaniah 1)
One walks among the revelers and cries out in dismay: But can you not see the cloud? One watches as the people swims in gluttony and splashes about in the cool waters of self-indulgence and laughter and self-assurance and confident plans for tomorrow. And the seer shouts to them: “But do you not see the fire of His jealousy?” And they see it not and hear him not and go about their lives of merry heedlessness. Who wishes to hear the sound of terror in the midst of the summer of content? Why this discordant note to disturb our melodious symphony of mental sloth? And so the joyous revelers skip mindlessly through life, the joyous city that dwelt without care, that said in her heart: “I am there is none else beside me…”
But the signs are all about us, the signs that a jealous and angry G-d – whose mercy still overtakes His wrath – sends us, beseeching us to notice and to act. The signs are all about us, who can ignore them? The signs are upon us, how much time is there?
The Israeli planes that went out into the night to demolish the atomic reactor outside of Baghdad, brought joy and pride into the hearts of Jews throughout the world. Joy and pride, but not careful and deep thought. The destruction of the Iraqi atomic facility prevented the creation of a nuclear weapon. But for how long? How much more time will it take for the Iraqis to rebuild the facility? And what of Pakistan that stands today on the very verge of exploding its Moslem bomb? How does Israel bomb Islamabad?
The truth is that the bomb that Iraq and Pakistan and Libya and, only G-d knows how many others, are building is a thing that no one will prevent. And it is part of a worldwide fact of horror. Within a few years, tens of countries, including those cursed with mad and unstable regimes, will have flood of fire that will consume themselves and a world that said: “I am, and there is none else besides me.” The fire is theirs; but it is the fire of His jealousy.
As some Adam, drunk with the wine of the Tree of Knowledge, man revels is his own intellect and progress. He throws off the chain of the Maker and convinces himself that He, the created, conceived Him, the Creator “Because thy heart is lifted up and thou hast said: I am a god… yet thou art man and not G-d.” (Ezekiel 28). For his arrogance and for his pride, the L-rd who brought upon a generation of Noah a flood of water that consumed an earth, will this time decimate the arrogant with the flood of fire. A flood that is measure for measure, irony of ironies: the fire of man’s own making, the fruit of his own prideful intellect, the fire of the brilliance and ingenuity of the King of the Dust.
The gentile is doomed because of his prideful arrogance and judgment is upon him for his persecution of the Jews. “Because thou has a hatred of old and hast hurled the Children of Israel unto the power of the sword in the time of their calamity… I will prepare thee unto blood and blood shall pursue thee… I will make thee perpetual desolations… And you shall know that I am the L-rd.” (Ezekiel 35).
The end is upon a world that knew not the L-rd, and His jealousy for His name that was mocked, humiliated and defiled is come. For a world that humiliated the people of G-d and thus showed their contempt for the G-d of Israel. “For the day of vengeance that was in My heart and My year of redemption will come… And I trod down the peoples in Mine anger… And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.” (Isaiah 63).
The cloud of atoms and their nuclear crash and the hydrogen explosion will shatter a world that attempted to cast G-d out of the Garden of Eden of fools. There is nothing that will prevent that and it only remains for the Jew to understand that his fate, too, lies in the balance. The Jew can be part of a world that turns into ashes or he can find redemption. He can choose to remain with the revelers, with the self-deceivers, with those who suck in slothful contentment, or he can shake off the chains of self-indulgence and stop the race for mindless pleasure. He can cut the chains that tie him to the gentile and the gentilization and flee to the chambers: “Come my people, enter thou into thy chambers.. until the rage passeth; for, behold, the L-rd cometh forth out of His place to visit upon the inhabitants of the earth their iniquity,” (Isaiah 26)
Those that daily defile the name of the L-rd and choose the Exile as their home, in contemptuous contentment and rebellious revelry – will share the fate of their fellow gentiles. Those who scorn the desirable Land of Holiness will fall in flames and ashes with the gentiles they preferred to worship. The Jew who refuses to climb Mount Zion and set there his home will be twice cursed: He will fall victim to the plague of hideous Jew-hatred that will send him reeling in Holocaust II; and he will share the fate of the gentile-who ironically will fall because of his treatment of the Jew. For the Jew, the punishment for refusing to flee the impurity and desecration of the Exile will be double fire: That of the gentile and that of the jealousy of the L-rd.
The bitter-joke is the Jew who wraps himself about in his mantle of religion, even as he treads daily in the dung of the Exile. The one who, despite his study and because of a corruption of G-d’s Law and Commandments, speaks precisely as the irreligious, the atheist. All share the same blindness: All look at the Jewish State and see there the danger. None understand the salvation and safety the only in the Land of Israel. The irreligious without the rituals and skullcap may be excused – they know nothing and understand exactly that. But the irreligious with the kattans and heavily embroidered prayer shawls; the practitioners of ritual – what can we say about these?
“For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape…” (Joel 3) How is it possible that the students of the law shall be so ignorant? Ah, possible it is; and there were such times, in the past. The priests said not: “Where is the L-rd? And they that handle the Law knew me not.” (Jeremiah 2)). And the great Biblical commentator, Rashi, explains: “They that handles the Law: The Sanhedrin…”
The two millennia of the Exile have twisted and corrupted us. It is not possible to remain a normal people without a normal existence of 2,000 years. Being without a state and government and army, makes one a people that cannot understand such things. Having no land for twenty centuries makes one forget how sweet and dear it is. The religious atheist becomes one who believes in the general power of the Almighty to do anything but flees to the gentile’s right arm in every particular case.
The wearer of the Kaftan and layer of tefillin becomes a practical man; he seeks logical answers. He will find them with his gentile fellow citizen. He who lacks faith and trust in the logic of the G-d of Israel, will fall beneath the double fury of the jealousy of the L-rd. But on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, in the Land of Israel, there will be redemption. No, not for all – “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the L-rd shall be delivered.” (Joel, ibid) But for those who contemptuously scorn the Land because of fear of G-d’s impotence – there will be no redemption. Together they will fall, the ritualists and the non, for both share the ultimate sin, an ultimate belief in the logic of man rather than faith in the Almighty. For the Jew, there IS a choice: Zion and salvation or the fire of His jealousy.
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