KAHANE ON THE PARSHA
The Kahane solution to Israel’s security problems was simple: Throw the Arabs out. Why keep a population within your borders that dreams of your destruction? Why indulge an implacable enemy? Indeed, to do so is criminal. As Rabbi Meir Kahane once wrote:
“Those who oppose this normal, sane, logical response guarantee the wholesale slaughter of both Jews and Arabs, and the transformation of the State of Israel into a daily and nightly hell – a Rwanda in the Middle East – a repetition of all the places in the world where people had neither the courage nor the wisdom to understand that most fundamental law of political physics: Two nations, each claiming ownership, can never occupy the same space at the same time.”
However, Rabbi Meir Kahane, and his son Binyamin – who led he Kahane movement after his father’s assassination – often stressed that their ideas were not merely logical, but eminently Jewish. In other words:
· Permitting murderous anti-Semites to dwell in Israel is not only suicidal but halachically forbidden;
· Self-restraint in the face of terrorism is not only militarily inane but Jewishly immoral; and
· Caving into pressure from the United States is not only embarrassing from a nationalist perspective but smacks of lack of faith in G-d.
Many Jews in 2015 have come to appreciate the wisdom of the Kahane message. This book emphasizes its Torah basis and the religious imperative to implement it. The ideas are the same; the packaging is a bit different.
A few items to keep in mind when reading this book:
1) Although this is a “religious” work, the Kahanes didn’t believe religion should – or could – be separated from politics. As Rabbi Meir Kahane once told an audience, “There are no issues which can be [classified as]: This is a secular issue, this is a religious issue. There are only Jewish issues. There are laws of Shabbos and there are laws of Arabs.” In other words, Judaism is an all- encompassing guide for life, and there is no aspect of man’s affairs on which the Torah doesn’t have an opinion. If a Jew studies Tanach, Midrash, and halachic, he will discover G-d’s opinion – not only on how he should pray and observe the Shabbos – but also on how he should live a national Jewish life in the Land of Israel.
2) Many of the divrei Torah in this book highlight what seem like “run-of-the-mill Jewish ideas such as the importance of faith and submission to G-d’s will. What – one might ask – do these ideas have to do with the Kahane message? The answer is: Everything. If Israel truly had faith in G-d, it would fear no one and apologize to no one. Unfortunately, though, as Rabbi Binyamin Kahane once observed, “We have become the type of people who declare G-d’s omnipotence in synagogue and immediately afterward ask, “How can we survive if American don’t give us money?”
Even more egregiously, many Jews ignore G-d’s will when it clashes with modern-day liberalism. The fact is that a plain reading of classical Jewish sources yields a rather uncomplicated picture: Israel belongs to the Jews and wars to conquer and defend it should be fought ruthlessly. The Torah believes in collective punishment, it believes in national revenge, and it believes in zealotry. And while all men are created in the image of G-d, the Jews are a special people chosen by the Almighty to build a model society in their own land that will serve as a light unto the nations. Non-Jews may, under certain circumstances, live in Etetz Yisrael but can have no say in shaping its divine destiny.
Jews raised with liberal values, however, find this picture difficult to accept. They have been taught that to fight ruthlessly is to “stoop to their level.” They have been taught that equality before the law is a sacrosanct, even inviolate principle. If the Torah says otherwise, they prefer to ignore or twist the Torah to protect their philosophy. Thus, submission to G-d’s will is central to the Kahane ideology and perhaps the most recurrent theme of the 108 divrei Torah in this volume.
3) Both Rabbi Kahanes dedicated their lives to saving Israel’s from physical and spiritual destruction. When Rabbi Meir Kahane was banned from the Knesset, he continued working outside the system to become Israel’s prime minister. In his later years he used to say “It’ either Arafat or Kahane.” Indeed: In 1988 the government banned Kahane and in 1993 made peace with Arafat. And here we are 25 years later. An additional 1,500 Jews have been murdered, countless more are permanently wounded, and the country is in spiritual shambles. Many Jews believe there is no hope. Rabbi Meir Kahane, though rejected despondency. His reaction to terrorism and Israel’s inept policies was the opposite” “grow angry and bitter – and do something,” he wrote in an article in 1989 (see the appendix to this volume).
“Do something” – that is the Kahane legacy. “I am disappointed with the people who disagree with me,” he once wrote. I am disappointed with the people who agree with me, but are too mired in their apathy and inability to escape their lives.” To say, “It’s hopeless,” is a defeatist attitude neither Rabbi would have accepted.
I write all this because some of the divrei Torah in this volume may sound “tame.” A number of them can even be read like ordinary divrei Torah while relaxing in a recliner on Shabbos afternoon. But, the Kahanes would not have wanted to read that way.
Almost everything they wrote was designed to stir, wake or provoke. The first step is to know the truth, but the next step is to act upon it. “Great is learning because it leads to action” (Kiddushin 40b).
I hope and pray that the vital truths in this book inspire readers to fight for a Jewish state that recalls the ancient glorious kingdom of David and Solomon, one where Jews live “securely, each man under his vine and fig tree” (Kings 5.5.)
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