“K A H A N E”
The magazine of the authentic Jewish Idea
July-August 1988 Tamuz-Menachem Av 5748
The Practical, The Rational
Breathes there a Jew with mind so dead who never has proclaimed allegiance to rationality, pragmatism and the joys of being practical? To be a person who speaks of “faith” and belief” is clearly to have one foot in the camp of the Ayatollah and no normal Jew would ever dare be brushed with the tar of “fanatic!” No, the Jewish people is a “normal” people, a rational one, and thank G-d that the normal people is also the most abysmally ignorant of its own Judaism and teachings – otherwise it would surely burn all the Bibles and Talmuds that babble about “cursed is he who trusteh in man.”
And so it follows that trusting in G-d is a quaint thing, to be jollied over at the Jewish Museum and in lecture series, but only an extremist would take it to the light of modern day. This is a practical world, one in which tough and pragmatic men understand the real realities and make their plans accordingly. Prayers are wonderful for the holidays and with which to open conventions but let them attempt to escape to the streets to demand equal time and to be taken seriously, and we shoot them down as dangerous fanaticism.
That is why the sophisticates from Peres to the AJC, from Moment to Olam HaZeh reject the past as key to the future and indeed, hallow only the moment, the “zeh”. We believe only in the things we can see and touch and feel and understand. Only the logical and rational play any part in our equations; guns, allies, realpolitik, those are the things and stuff of which the real is made of.
And that is why we dare not annex the “occupied territories” (Judea-Samaria-Gaza); and that is why we dare not even talk of removing the Arabs from the Temple Mount; and that is why only madmen should think of expelling or “transferring” the Arabs; and that is why we dare not ever anger the Americans without whom we would be in the sea.
Very well, I am convinced. Secular logic is, after all, so compelling. I have decided to convert. I have decided to accept the religion of pragmatism. You now behold, before you, a superb example of rationality and practicality. But to the bitter end. And here, fellow pragmatists and healthy rationalists is the bitter end.
Of course this religious dependence on G-d is absurd. Of course the reality is weapon and the United States and allies and good will. Because it is only this that will stand us in good stead when the Arabs produce or receive their first nuclear weapon or decide to use the chemical-biological weapons that are today’s “poor man’s” nuclear arsenal.
Pakistan is on the verge of producing (and may, indeed, have already produced) its own nuclear weapon. It does not take very much to produce a “primitive”, outdated, atomic bomb, which is limited in scope, say like the one dropped on Hiroshima… And if Moslem Pakistan develops such a weapon does one believe that its devoted faithful will not share it with their oppressed Arab Moslems and Palestinians? By all means let us be hard headed and come up with a rational answer to that. Without the nonsense of faith.
And when the head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Engineers, General Yoseph Ayal tells us (August 17) that certain Arab states are developing the capacity for chemical and biological warfare, there is no doubt that our practical senses will handle the matter with equanimity and without interference from G-d and his faithful. My only problem is that in all my pious rationality I really do not know how to deal with the above. Practicality somehow fails to give me answers as to how to deal with Arab nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in the hands of fanatical Moslems.
And bringing back tongue from cheek, the bitter reality is that the realists have nothing but bitter reality and not the slightest answer to the pragmatic and practical problems that defy rational solutions. The reality is that Israel faces such awesome practical threats just over the horizon, that a normal, practical, rational Jew, would be insane to stay if he could, somehow, leave the country. It is only the “impractical”, the “irrational”, and the “dreamers” who have any rational reason to remain. They believe in G-d . They have faith in an Almighty and a Torah that decreed there never can be a third exile. They know that perfect faith and trust in G-d, while observing His commandments, will assure victory over our enemies. That is why they stay. That is why they are undeterred by the certainty of Arab nuclear and chemical and biological weapons. Because they pray. Because they do not miss a mincha – and evening service – or any other kind. Because they do know that “these may come with nuclear bombs and these with chemical warfare, but we shall proclaim the name of the L-rd.”
A rational Jew? That is a rational Jew. Any other kind, the one who decides to trust in Ronald Reagan is mad, fanatic, extreme, a real Khoumeniite.
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