Sunday, December 12, 2010

Comfort - 1973

Rabbi Meir Kahane
Writings (5732-33) (1971-73)

COMFORT – May 11, 1973

Jewish tradition sees the redemption of the Jew as coming in one of two ways.  If the Jew merits his redemption through his return to G-d and a yearning to fulfill his role as a holy people, “the Chosen of the L-rd,” then the redemption can come at any moment.  But even if there is no repentance and even if the Jew remains estranged from his Father in heaven, the redemption will come; it must come, such are the mercies of a Father for a son, though he angers Him and corrupts himself.

Out of the ashes of a holocaust that seared the flesh of the nation and burned out of its midst one in every three, from the trash heap of history, arose the Third Commonwealth.  Even as the gas chambers still gave off their terrible odors and the ovens were yet warm and the living skeletons with the numbers tattooed on their arms gazed numbly about them the redemption was beginning.  “Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people,” says the prophet, and the rabbis place the words in the mouth of the All Mighty and have Him say: “Comfort me, comfort me my people…”  Comfort me for having to watch as the stubbornness and rebellion of my children must be punished but comfort me because from the whip of chastisement will come the redemption.  And so it has.

He who does not believe that the rise of the State of Israel is the hand of G-d is not only a non-believer; he is also blind.  If this rebirth of a nation and state and language from the clutching jaws of the seventy wolves is not a miracle, then there are indeed no miracles.  If the renaissance of a people in the face of every logic and sanity is not Divine decree then the Spring that brings rejuvenation to the dead earth is not Divine and the life that emerges from the mother’s womb is profane and natural.  Those who refuse to pray with thanksgiving on the day of Independence and those who refuse to pray on any day, join together in the same camp on this day – they are more alike than they think.  Both have wandered into a maze of confusion and no longer know what makes the world revolve.

And, so I am not disturbed by the fact that the government of Israel is composed of people who, for the most part, deny the most basic of Jewish beliefs and who have wandered far from the wells of Jewish truth.  For I know that the State of Israel is not the government of Israel and that the one came about despite the other.  I stand in Jerusalem and know that the children who play in her streets and who shout their Hebrew in play; that the building and the fields that rise up from the ruins and rocks of the Judean hills; that the planes and ships that disgorge their Jews from the Soviet Union and the lands of exile are there because they MUST BE THERE.

Israel is not a state; it is a Decree.  Israel is not a land; it is a concept.  We have returned not because of Socialism or pioneers or the army – though all these will gain their place in history of the people for their self-sacrifice and readiness to do what others were not prepared to do.  We have returned because the All Mighty peered at the clock of history that was being wound by the suffering of His children and decided:  It is time.

Of course, most Jews do not understand this.  Of course, leaders of Israel are blind to it.  They cannot see because they deny the very essential of Judaism.  But that and they are irrelevant to the existence of Israel.  The All Mighty saw a world filled with a Jewish void and cried: Let there be light!  And there was light and the L-rd called it Israel…                      

And so, the Finance Minister a most powerful man in Israel, Pinchas Sapir, rose yesterday to discuss the future of Israel and particularly, the liberated territories.  And as the accountant that he is, he threw out all kinds of logical frightening facts about Arab population growth and its danger to the existence of Israel.  And the bookkeeper type that he is, he made his additions and subtractions and rechecked them and decreed that it was impossible to “annex” the territories because his figures showed too many Arabs who would then wipe out the Jewish character of the State.  And then, the bookkeeper said:

“Our presence in Nablus and Jericho is not that of a people liberating its homeland.”  And, complaining about those who introduce “mystic and irrational” concepts into the debate, he continued:  “The achievement of political Zionism had nothing to do with mysticism.  We rebelled against mysticism…”And he finished:  “Israel is in the territories by right of force, and not by force of right.”

Let us not grow angry.  Let us rather pity Sapir and contemplate ruefully, the difference between that first giant of a Pinchas who rose with zeal for the L-rd and the latter bookkeeper who prefers tax charts to “mysticism.”  The difference between the two is infinitely greater than the years that separate them…

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people…Do you know what the comfort really is?  It consists of knowing that, just as the state did not come into being because of Pinchas Sapir – though he does not realize it, - so will it neither end nor be truncated because of him, though he does not realize that, either.  The great fortune of Israel is that it will grow and achieve its final redemption DESPITE the pygmies who make up its leadership.  It is no longer in our hands to prepare to roll back the redemption, the All Mighty prevents them by performing yet another miracle.  Verily, we are at that point in the redemption where we can be destroyed neither by our enemies nor our brothers…

Our presence in Sh’chem – let us give Nablus its Hebrew and Biblical name – is as that of a people liberating its homeland and no bookkeeper can change that.  Israel is in the territories of Judah and Shomron and Gaza and the Golan by right, by claim of history, by decree of G-d and let us not be concerned with the accountings of an aging cabinet minister nor his South-African born, Cambridge-educated protégé.

But on one point I agree with the bookkeeper.  The time has come to stop talking in mystical and irrational terms when we discuss the future of Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel.  Let us cease immediately explaining history in non-Jewish mystical terms – as if a small people can win wars in Six Days against vast armies, by its own might.  It is time to speak naturally and logically, the way Jews always have.  The only way that miracles can come is in their normal, rational manner – through the Hand of G-d.  He always was and always will be
with us and on the 25th anniversary of the natural miracle, let us all say: Thank you, G-d.

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