Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ashamed of G-d 1990

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Beyond Words
Selected Writings of Rabbi Meir Kahane,
Volume 7

Ashamed of G-d
“Our fathers trusted in You:  they trusted, and You did deliver them.  They cried to You, and were rescued; they trusted in You, and were not ashamed . . . "
(Psalms, 22:5-6) 
And the Rabbis comment: “They cried to You, and were rescued, as it says
(Exodus 14:30): ‘On that day, G-d saved Israel . . .’ And why? Because of the merit of trust in G-d.” (Yalkut, Tehillim 22, 685)

 At first glance – and, indeed, at second and third – the verse seems most inscrutable.  “They trusted in You, and were not ashamed.  Of what did they have to be ashamed?  What is this praise of our fathers who trusted in G-d and were not “ashamed”?  Why should they have been ashamed?  And similarly, the complete meaning of the rabbinical comment concerning the reason for G-d having saved the Children of Israel at the Red Sea is: “All because of the merit of trust and for not being ashamed” (Midrash Tehillim, 22).  In a word, what place does shame have in this picture of trust and faith in G-d?
For those who lived and walked the earth until perhaps a century ago, the question would have certainly been a difficult one; but in these days when, for the first time in the history of man’s sojourn on earth, secularism rules the waves and land, heavens and the earth, the though is a very familiar one.
The truth is that, today, in the era of the dictatorship of the news media, the secular, liberal, arrogant, cynical, news media, it is embarrassing to bring G-d into anything that smacks of this world, of political events, of economic determinism, of social issues.  It is absolutely medieval and backward to speak of G-d as a meaningful factor, let along THE meaningful factor of life.  It is stark bumpkinism and Babbitism to mix G-d in the company of Gorbachev and Baker and Kohl; one simply does not invite Him to the same party.  And to state that our troubles stem from our sins and refusal to obey His law, to state a belief in the reality of Divine Providence and reward and punishment, is to bring down upon one the worst of epithets: Fanatic, Zealot, and the worst of the worst – Khomeini!
And that is enough to send people rushing into their shell of caution.  That is sufficient to shut mouths and minds.  For who wishes to be called Khomeini or fanatic or zealot?  Indeed, who wants to be called any kind of name, to be held up to the mocking and jeering of the intellectual and journalistic elite?  We are, quite frankly ashamed of being ridiculed, and so we do that which is best guaranteed to protect us from that shame:  We shut up and speak only those things that are acceptable in this bright, new secular-liberal-intellectual Kingdom of Man.
This fear of same and ridicule spreads throughout the land.  No longer does Gush Emunim or any of the “religious nationalists” base their claims to the Land of Israel, in public at least, on the reactionary, ridiculous, backward concepts of G-d and Divine law.  One can close his eyes and listen to them and then to the Gandhis and Sharons and Eytans and Geula Cohens and never know the difference.  The only ones who base their nationalism and their demands to annex the lands of Israel on G-d and Divine law are the last of the fanatics and zealots and Khomeinis – the followers of “Kahanism.”  The last of the Middle Agers.  And one understands clearly what the verse means:  “They trusted in You, and were not ashamed.”

And this did the Rama write (Code of Jewish Law, Orach Chaim 1:1) in the very first paragraph of the great Code:

 “And he should not be ashamed of people who mock him in the service of G-d.”  No shame. Trust in Him and be not ashamed.  Speak the truth and be not ashamed.  Fanatic? Khomeini? Kahanist?  If by that it is meant one who believes that only G-d and His Torah define and decree the path of Jews – then accept the “shame” with pride.  Does it mean that G-d is the One Who controls history and that that which will be, will be because of Divine reward and punishment?  Then, we accept the compliments with thanks.  Does it mean belief that G-d is stronger and more relevant than Bush and Gorbachev, and that He will save Jews and Israel with no allies if only Jews will obey Him?  If so, let us order another round of “humiliation”!
“And he should not be ashamed of people who mock him in the service of G-d.”  And more.  The source of the Rama’s words is the Tur who writes, in part: “For sometimes a person is ashamed before other people more than he is before G-d.  Therefore he is warned to harden his forehead against the mockers and not be ashamed.”  And concerning this the Beit Yosef (brought down in the Mishna Brura) states that nevertheless one should not quarrel with the mockers, since the trait of hardness is to be denigrated even in the service of G-d.  Which brings the following comment from the Chofetz Chaim in the Biur Halachic (Orach Chaim 1), a comment that should be instructive to all the righteous deplores of lashon hara and invective against the wicked:
“Know that the Beit Yosef only speaks of one who does a personal mitzvah and is mocked . . . but if he is in a place of apikorsim (scoffers or unbelievers) who rise up against Torah and wish to make changes in the community and lead people from the will of G-d, and he began peacefully and they did not listen – concerning that the Beit Yosef never spoke a syllable, and it is a mitzvah to hate them and to quarrel with them and foil their designs as much as possible.  And King David said (Psalms 139:21-22):  “Do I not hate, O L-rd those who hate you?  And do I not quarrel with those who rise up against You?  With the utmost hatred, I hate them; I regard them as my own enemies.”

Ashamed of those who mock the follower of G-d?  Quite the opposite.  Let them not arrogantly set the standards so that truth becomes a thing of mockery.  Rather stand up and decry them and call them the backward, fanatic zealots of empty secularism that they are.  Let them bear the shame of “values” that destroy the soul and the world itself.  Roll away shame and reply to those who mock and shame G-d and those who follow Him.  And in the words of King David (ibid., 119:22-42):
“Remove from upon me scorn and contempt, for I have kept Your testimonies . . . . And I will answer him who taunts me, for I trust in Your word . . . “

We shrink from being taunted and ridiculed.  We wish to be “accepted.”  We are ashamed of criticism.  That is the tragedy and that is the power of the left-liberal fanatic know-nothings.  Let David, King of Israel, be our model.  David who said (ibid.; 46):
“And I will speak of Your testimonies before kings and I will not be ashamed.”  And in the Talmud (Brachot 4):  “Thus did David say to the All Mighty:  Sovereign of the Universe! Am I not righteous?  All the kings of East and West sit in groups in honor and my hands are bloody as I rule on the laws that will permit a woman for her husband . . .  What is the verse concerning this?  And I will speak of Your testimonies before kings and I will not be ashamed . . . ‘”

Those who hate Torah mock those who practice it.  They know the truth and because, for some personal, psychological reason, they cannot or will not follow it – they hate those who do and attempt to destroy them and their way of life through ridicule.  As David said (Psalms 69:5,8)

They who hate me without cause are more abundant than the hairs of my head.  Mighty are those who would cut me off, those who are unjustly my foes; what I never stole I must then restore.  Because for Your sake I have borne insult; humiliation covered my face.  They who sit in the gate talk about me, and I am the song of drunkards . . . “  And not for a moment did David retreat in shame.  For he was a “zealot” for G-d, a “Fanatic” for the creator, one who never cared what the loiterers and drinkers said.
Written May 25, 1990

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