On Jews and Judaism
The Seal of the Almighty
“The seal of the Almighty is truth.” (Shabbat 55a).
A few years ago, I was walking in Jerusalem when I saw an angry crowd shouting and condemning a speaker who was, himself, attacking Judaism and religion. A I approached, I recognized the speaker as being the yetzer hara (the evil inclination himself! Dressed as a member of the anti-religious Ratz party, he was haranguing Judaism and the crowd was replying with angry taunts. As I watched, the yetzer hara continued his futile efforts and then, after a while, gave up and slipped away.
Last week, I was walking in Jerusalem and saw a large crowd gathered around a speaker wearing a knitted yarmulka, a model of modern enlightened Orthodox, who was loudly condemning racism, fanaticism and extremism, and proudly extoling Judaism as calling for equality with Arabs, love of enemies and the paragon of democracy. As I approached, I was startled to see that the speaker was none other than the same yetzer hara whom I had last seen ignominiously retreating before an angry crowd! I waited until the end of the rally, that was not only greeted with warm applause, but was also attended by a whole host of dignitaries including rabbis from Gush Etzion and professors from Bar Ilan University, as well
as the President of Israel himself! Then, I walked over to the yetzer hara and said:
“What are you doing here? And what is this yarmulka? And Torah teachings?”
The yetzer hara, who incidentally looked fat and exceedingly prosperous, beamed at me and replied: My friend, did you ever see me get more applause than today? I realized long ago that if you want to seduce the religious Jew the way is not to attack Judaism, but to pervert it. I find that if I put on a yarmulka, praise Torah and then counterfeit what it says by making it sound palatable and all pleasant things to all men that is the surest way to destroy it.
Now, while all the above never really happened to me, there is not the slightest doubt that the essence of the story is true. The destruction of Judaism, the greatest threat to it, never comes from those who oppose it, but from those on the inside who – for a myriad of objective and subjective reasons alike – pervert, corrupt and counterfeit it.
This Passover, a writer for the newspaper Maariv in Israel wrote an article that is classic in its perversion of Torah. His name is Avraham Tirosh; he is a member of Mafdal (the NRP-Mizrachi) and he is that ideal example of shatnez ( admixture) of Jew and western culture, whose background compels him not only to reject the bitter (for him) truth of Judaism’s concepts but also drives him to twist and pervert G-d’s law. In Tirosh’s case, of course, there is a mitigating factor: He is an ignoramus. In the case of others, there is not even that as an excuse.
Tirosh- obsessed as are so many others of the Moderdox in Israel and the Exile- with the terribly painful issues raised by “Kahanism” – and desperate – for his own agonized reasons – to prove to all and to himself that Judaism is sheer love to all – writes a long column that is given prominent space by the editors of the secular paper (who are only too glad to believe that Judaism is not incompatible with all their gentilized Hellenism). His basic theme is love of all people, even enemies; equality of all people, and the sin of rejoicing over the death of our enemies. He begins, of course, with the usual partial quote of the Talmud (Megila 10) that when the angles sought to sing a song of praise as the Egyptians were drowning, G-d said: “The work of My hands is drowning in the sea and you want to sing?”
Says Tirosh: All who are created in the image of G-d even the Egyptian are G-d’s works and thus we must relate to them. When a disaster occurs to anyone, even if he is your enemy, even if he seeks to destroy you – do not sing praise. Or, in the words of King Solomon (Proverbs 24:17): “When your enemy falls, do not rejoice, and when he stumbles, let your heart not be glad.”
And this “lesson” of loving your enemy, the Egyptian, who not only enslaved Jews and murdered them but was in the proves of pursuing them to destroy them (and thus, presumably, teaching us similar tolerance and morality for the PLO and Adolph Hitler) is underlined yet by another “lesson” by the scholar from Maariv:
“This is what the Torah commands us in Mishpatim (Shmot 23:4): ‘If you meet thine enemy’ ox or donkey gone astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him.’ “This lesson” is also clear. Your “enemy” must be helped, we must be moral and ethical to the Arab, the PLO, those who hate us, those who are our “enemy.” Not only should we not rejoice in their death or disaster; we should not cause it. If Tirosh, suffering from his own psychological problem, would sit quietly in his own little world, his own corner, creating his own private perversion, it would not be cause for concern. But Tirosh, as so many other Moderdox is driven not only to sin but to pervert others, to cause them to sin. And, worse, how many Tiroshes there are in the marketplace! And not all are ignoramuses; indeed, some are learned, hence, far more guilty, far more dangerous. Let us, therefore, destroy the absurd and dangerous article as a step to destroying the absurd and false neo-Toraism, Moderdoxism, that perverts and counterfeits the word of G-d.
As always, the Tiroshes of the world selectively and very partially quote the Talmud. The selection he brings down really begins with R. Yehoshua ben Levi starting his lecture on Megilat Esther with the verse: “as the L-rd rejoiced over you (“sas”) to do you good, so the L-rd will rejoice over you (yasis”) to cause you to perish.” (Dvarim 28:63). And the Talmud asks: Does the Almighty then rejoice over the fall of the wicked? And to prove that He does not rejoice, the story of the angels asking to sing praise is brought. And this is where Tirosh (either the ignoramus or the knave) stops. But there is more. The Talmud continues and answers as follows:
“Rabbi Elazar said: It is true that HE does not rejoice but He causes others to rejoice.”
Ah, what a difference. And a clear answer to the obvious question: If G-d does not want us to rejoice and praise Him when our enemy falls, why in the world does it say: “Then sang Moses and the Children of Israel this song unto the L-rd…”? (Shmot 15). And a clear answer to why the rabbis say (Mchilta, B’shalach, 11): “The L-rd shall perform for you miracles and glories and you will stand there and do nothing? Said Israel unto Moses: what are we to do? Said he unto them: You will glorify and praise and give song and glory and greatness to the One to whom wars belong.”
Of course the Almighty, the totality of compassion, the Father of all, grieves for His children – all of them. HE does not sing. His angels, who are not of this world, do not sing. But, the Jews do. Not only are they allowed to, they are commanded to. For the very same reason that the very same Almighty who does not sing, does destroy the work of His hands because they are evil.
Yes, of course He grieves. He grieves that those who were made in His Image have so perverted and destroyed the greatness of that Image. That those who were made in their image of good were so evil. And so, He grieves. He grieves for the perversion of His purpose in making the world, for His works who have so gone astray. And in His grief, He does not have pity. He destroys them. He knows that evil and He cannot share the same world, as our rabbis say: “As long as the wicked rule the world, the Holy One, Blessed be He, so to speak, cannot sit on His throne.” (Yaklut, Tehilim Chapter 47).
And so, because the arrogance of the enemy of the Jewish people, their brazen persecution of the people of G-d with no fear of G-d is the very essence of Hillul Hashem, the Almighty in wrath destroys them and the Children of Israel must sing and glorify G-d. And thus do the rabbis declare (Shmot Raba 23): “‘Then did Moses and the Children of Israel sing,’ this is what is meant by the verse (Psalms 9:17): ‘The L-rd is known by the judgment He executes.’ This speaks of Egypt whom G-d smote by the Red Sea.” And Shmot Raba 23: “’Then did Moses and the Children of Israel sing.’ This is the meaning of the verse (Psalms 93:2): Your throne was firm from then.’ Even though You exist from time immemorial, Your throne was not made firm and You were not made known in the world until your children sang. When You stood at the sea and we sang before You, with that, “Az” (then) was Your kingdom and throne made firm.”
This is the essence of Judaism – a world made for good and that cannot abide evil. A world that, when the works of G-d’s hand pervert His purpose and when the wicked rules and mocks G-d – as Pharaoh declaring: “Who is the L-rd, I know not the L-rd,” the Almighty destroys them, no matter how sad He feels and the Jew is ordered to sing the song of the Red Sea not only on Passover but each and every day of the year in his morning service!
And that is why King David sings (Psalms 58:11): “Let the righteous rejoice when he seeth vengeance, he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.” Why? Because only when we see the wicked punished, only when we see vengeance for their sins, do we have proof that G-d really does exist and rules. And David continues by saying: “And men shall say: Verily there is a reward for the righteous; truly there is a G-d that judgeth in the earth.”
And that is why the rabbis tell us that “Moses yearned to see vengeance against the Midianites.” Moses. Yearned. To see vengeance on the wicked. What shall we do with the fanatic Moses…
The incredible perversion of Judaism by confused and guilt-ridden Moderdox, ignoramuses and learned alike! Our rabbis tell us (Midrash Avkir): ‘And Israel saw the great hand of G-d’ – When the Almighty wished to drown the Egyptians? At that moment Gabriel rose and took a brick and said: Sovereign of the Universe! These who enslaved your children such a terrible slavery as this, shall You have mercy on them? Immediately, the Almighty drowned them.”
And allow me to introduce two other Talmudic sayings: “That generation was one of tiny faith, saying: Just as we rose from the sea on this side, perhaps the Egyptians rose from the other side. The Almighty ordered that the bodies be washed up and Israel saw them” (Psachim 118b) And Midrash Tehillim 22:1 adds: “Each Jew took his dog and put his foot on the throat of a dead Egyptian and said to his dog: Eat of the hand that enslaved me; eat of the heart that showed me no pit.” Poor Tirosh. Poor Moderdox.
As for the tiresome perversion of the verse “when your enemy falls do not rejoice,” it is time that Tirosh went beyond a Biblical verse and learned that G-d gave us an Oral Law, a Talmud that explains verses. Let him open the Talmud (Megila 16a) which tells of Mordechai kicking Haman as the latter bent over to help him climb on the horse. Haman, too, in a startling echo of Tirosh, wails: “Does it not say in your Torah, when your enemy falls, etc.? And Mordechai answers Haman and Tirosh: “That speaks about a Jew (an enemy who is a Jew) but with you it declares, ‘And you shall trod on their high places.’ (Dvarim 33:29)” Haman heard the worlds of Judaism; Tirosh, not yet.
And the ignorance knows no bounds, the pity being that some Jews stand before the entire country and expose their nakedness with shouts of triumph. “Thine enemy’s ox or donkey.” This, in the narrow, empty head of an ignorant Moderdox, proves how much we have pity even on our enemy.
The Talmud (Bava Metzia 32b), aside from making it clear that, at best, the reason for the law is tzaar baalei chaim (suffering of the animal and not pity on the enemy), makes it as clear as is humanly possible that “The ‘enemy’ that is mentioned here is a Jew who is your enemy and not a gentile.” And Maimonides, the idol of the great progressives, says (Hilchot Rotzeach 13:14): “The ‘enemy’ mentioned in the Torah is a Jew and not one of the nations of the world.”
I really could go on and on and on, but the lesson is clear. Tirosh is the lesson of Passover and of every day of the year. Tirosh and the Moderdox, puffed up by their own personal and egotistical refusal to accept Torah concepts and destroy their own gentilized and westernized ones, deliberately pervert and counterfeit Torah.
The seal of the Almighty is truth and only that truth will emerge from His lips and His teachings.
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