Rabbi Meir Kahane
WHY BE JEWISH? - 1977
Intermarriage, Assimilation, And Alienation
Once there was a television program which centered on the theme of intermarriage. The heroes of the piece were named Bernie and Bridget. The American Jewish Establishment put great pressure on the network that televised the series and the program was ultimately dropped. Bernie and Bridget were no longer. They had been cancelled…
How relatively simple it was to cancel Bernie and Bridget on television and how much more difficult to struggle against the intermarriage and assimilation that exist in real American Jewish life.
What makes Bernie run? What makes him run after Bridget? What makes Bernie run away from Judaism and cut the chain of generations? What makes Bernie run away from the Judaism that his grandfather clutched, at the risk of loss of happiness of material wealth, and, often, of life? What makes Bernie run?
It is clear that the future bodes, only more intermarriage. Freedom and equality have brought the Jew the right to do everything that Bridget’s father does, and to marry his daughter, too. Jews have broken out of the ghetto with a vengeance and mix with the Gentiles in every sphere. Witness the tremendous percentage of Jewish youth who attend college and university – the most powerful force for intermarriage possible. There the young Jew is at the mercy of a scholastic atmosphere which is unfavorable to religious and all “parochial” trends and which radicalizes him into questioning the importance of a heritage he knows about only on a Bar Mitzvah child’s level. He meets Gentiles who are his peers and finds them remarkably similar (there are, he discovers, quite a number of bright Gentiles), and he shares a major part of his life with them for at least four years.
In a study prepared for the American Jewish congress by Capolvitz and Levy (Interreligious dating among college students, 1965) it was seen that:
The transition from high school to college represents for most young people a lessening of the influence of their family and an increase in the influence of their peers and professors who hold out to them a world of secular knowledge and liberalism. Religion and other traditional beliefs reinforced by the family of origin are apt to become weakened in the college setting.
What happens when a child is born free and unencumbered with memories? And what happens when a young Jew is raised in an environment where, for the time being, history has allowed him never to know any meaningful anti-Semitism? What happens when he roams campuses filled with (pretty and handsome) Gentiles, freedom-filled neighborhoods and workplaces, a world of his own that is apparently uninhabited by hatred of the Jew? What happens when a whole generation grows up that does not know the goy? What happiness? Why, the obvious. Not being forced to be a Jew he does not remain one; not consciously, not actively, not caring. What happens? “Death to Bernie as a Jew”.
Now, Bernie, you know the tragedy, the bankruptcy of the false “Judaism” you were fed. You know it without having to open this book and read these pages. You lived it, and, I say with a sad heart, you have been twisted and crippled by it. You were robbed by all the good people who gave you everything in life except the most important things – truth, meaning, identity.
But never think that what you have seen is the real Judaism. Far from it. The Judaism that you never saw, and never were given to properly understand exists and awaits you. Stop for a moment and consider it. Forget about trying to escape from your people, your heritage, and your destiny. Forget all the nonsense that poses as “Judaism” – the mausoleums that pass for temples; the rabbis who preach salvation for all causes except the Jewish one; the people who created G-d in their own image, making Him emerge in the form of a UJA Israel Bond, Bar Mitzvah caterer and bagels and lox. Let me help you understand who you are, who your people are, what the times we live in mean for you for them, what the future holds for you, your people, and Israel. Forget the tragedy and consider the glory
What a pity that the vast majority of Jews do not understand who they are and why they are! What a pity that they have fallen victim to ignorance and to ignorant shepherds. What a pity that they understand neither the Chosenness of the Jew nor the sublime magnificence of the total Torah way of life. In their abysmal lack of knowledge and superficial gleanings they see and hear of commandments and rituals and find them inexplicable or ludicrous. Being told that the Sabbath forbids “work” they cannot grasp why switching on a light is forbidden. Having heard that kashrut is a hygienic thing, they cannot see why government-controlled and well-cooked pork is forbidden. They suffer from the problems of the three blind men who wished to know what an elephant was, with each one touching a different part. The one who touched the tail tusk “understood” that the elephant was a rope; the one who touched the tusk “learned” that an elephant was spear; and the one who touched the leg “realized” that the elephant was a pillar.
One cannot understand Torah and the true path of Judaism without seeing the entire purpose and architectural blueprint, without knowing what the structure is supposed to look like. For the commandments are but bricks in a structure and only when seeing the planned totality can one understand why each brick serves a logical purpose. There are Jews who never learned anything of their faith and others who learned a dangerous little. Both can never say: I do not believe in Judaism for one who has never learned it deeply, does not know what not to believe. One must study Judaism at the feet of those who believe and know it. Not for nothing did the rabbis say: “Great is study because [only] it leads to doing.” Only the one who has studied Torah can understand it fully, and the ignorant one can never become G-d fearing. So let us learn together.
“The world and all within it were created only for the sake of Torah.” Torah, the Jewish code of law, the life-style and life of the Jew. His map, his guide, his existence. The Jewish G-d of creation created the world for the sake of Torah, in order that its principles and truths might be translated into practice and life. And the Jewish people was chosen by G-d as the vehicle for living and teaching His Torah. That and that alone is the Jewish is the reason for creation.
And so it was that on a day unlike any other in the annals of this world an entire people stood at the foot of a burning mountain upon whose peak the L-rd had descended in a fire, “and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the [shofar] horn waxed louder and louder, Moses spoke, and G-d answered” in a voice that shattered the atmosphere and thrust itself into the souls of the people who stood by, as it called out: “I am the L-rd thy G-d, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20).
Only by being set apart, only by being separated and different can the Jew learn how to be His, can the Jew avoid being dragged down by the environment and influences of a culture that degrades and desecrates, that profanes man and turns his life into the animal. Holiness can only be achieved by living a certain kind of life, and when that life is attacked and challenged and threatened by alien and contradictory forces every day and in every way – there can be no holiness, there can be no purpose to Chosenness.
How do we know that a man should not say I cannot abide pork… but should rather say: I can eat the pork but what can I do if my father in Heaven has decreed otherwise? It is said: “And I have separated you from the nations that you should be Mine,” that you should be separated from them for My name’s sake and accept the yoke of heaven.
The Jew became a nation, but more – much more. He became a religio-nation. At the moment of Revelation he was also commanded a Torah – the Divinely created and revealed laws that where to be his “life and length of his days.” It was a treaty, a covenant between Israel and its Maker. The Jew from that moment the chosen one. He was sanctified; hallowed, and set apart from all the nations.
Study; learn Torah, for only Torah and Torah knowledge can make you the kind of Jew you must be.
Young Jew, Baruch, [Hebrew for Bernie] who I have never met, come home. Return to your people and destiny. It is beautiful You are young and for you return is simple. And you know that you life can be lived in only one place. Home. The Land of Israel.
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