Sunday, March 29, 2015

Passover Divrei Torah 1977

The magazine of the authentic Jewish Idea
Shavat –5737 February – 1977


“And Pharaoh called to Moses, saying: Go and worship the L-rd. Only your sheep and cattle will remain – your children will also go with you. And Moses said: You will also give us offerings and sacrifices for the L-rd our G-d, and our flocks will go with us…” (Shmot 10:24-26)

The ninth plague-darkness – has struck Egypt with a vengeance and Pharaoh breaks. Step by step he has retreated and after the eighth plague – locusts – he was prepared to allow the Jews to leave except for their children. Now he surrenders almost entirely as he agrees that all the Jews can leave. He only asks one thing, one compromise, one small victory for himself, that the Jewish cattle remain behind.

Consider; the Jews have been slaves for 210 years. They have lived in misery and persecution. They suffered decrees such as the one casting their male children into the sea. They cried out unto the L-rd for freedom and salvation. Now, apparently the great moment has arrived! Pharaoh agrees that they shall go free! What does it matter that he asks for their cattle? Give it to him! The main thing is peace and salvation and we are willing to give up cattle for peace!

But Moses knows that this is not the purpose of the freedom of the Jewish people and of the story of the slavery and exodus. He is not prepared to compromise one inch because he knows what the purpose of G-d is. When Moses first entered the presence of Pharaoh and said: “The L-rd, G-d of the Hebrews, has said: Let my people go!” Pharaoh contemptuously answered: “Who is the L-rd? I know not the L-rd and will not let Israel go!” Here is where the battle was joined. Here is the purpose and aim of creation – to have the world recognize the dominion and kingship of the L-rd being challenged. Pharaoh must be made to recognize and totally acknowledge the sovereignty of the L-rd over him and his people. He cannot make compromises; he cannot strike bargains. He must submit totally!

“And I shall be glorified through (the defeat of) Pharaoh and his army and Egypt shall know that I am the L-rd.” Only the total defeat of the wicked can raise and honor the name of the L-rd, says the Biblical commentator Rashi. This is why there will be no compromise with Pharaoh. He must totally submit, he must totally surrender.

And even when he apparently does this, after the plague of the first born, when he runs to Moses and says: “Get out, take your flocks with you, just leave and ask the L-rd to bless me!” Moses refuses and in the words of the Mechilta; “And he called unto Moses and Aaron in the middle of the night and said: get up and leave! Said Moses unto him: No, we have been ordered not to leave our houses until morning. What are we, thieves that we should slink out in the night? No, we will leave only in the morning with an upraised arm before the eyes of all the Egyptians!”

Not one inch of retreat here. The lesson of the L-rd being the Omnipotent, king of the universe must be seen and acknowledged.

The lesson is an eternal one and must be learned in our time, too. The question of peace in the Middle East is a question of the Arabs and the world acknowledging the total sovereignty of the All Mighty. There can be no compromise on this. It is only a peace that comes with Arabs submitting to the yoke of the heavenly kingdom that will be a permanent one and the Jew who gives up part of his land as a compromise, violates the entire purpose of the rise of the Jewish State and the demand of the All Mighty that the nations acknowledge Him as King. There can be no retreat from land because that is in essence a retreat also from the Kingship of the L-rd.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Great Sabbath - 1989

“K A H A N E”

The magazine of the authentic Jewish Idea

Nissan -5749   April-1989

D I V R E I  T O R A H


It is the necessary, the indispensable preface and introduction to Passover.  It is the explanation that cries out the ultimate message of the holiday, the basic lesson of the feats of our freedom.  It is the foundation of foundations that raises Passover from an insipid, saccharine social custom beginning and ending with recipes printed in the New York Times women’s section; from a golden opportunity for Manischewitz to return to Jewishness through capitalist Passover profits even as the truly frum, raise their level of religiosity by raising the level of prices; from a Jewish people that marches on its Seder stomach even as it moves on to the annual national lie. “Next Year in Jerusalem.”  It is the Great Sabbath, which attempts to save Judaism from myopic ritualism, to make the Jew, Jewish and the Orthodox, religious.

Sabbath Hagadol, the great Sabbath.  The Sabbath preceding the Passover, the Sabbath that cries out the basic, the ultimate message of the enormous Exodus from Egypt, of Passover itself.  Sabbath Hagadol that gives us the lesson without which Passover, the Jewish people itself, lose all reason for being.  Sabbath Hagadol commemorating the basic lesson of Judaism: Faith, real faith, faith in G-d who really is greater than the mighty Pharaoh, or the regal Reagan or the burning-less Bush – Sabbath Hagadol. The great Sabbath, that began more than 3,000 years ago on a Sabbath in Imperial Egypt.

“Speak unto all the congregation of Israel, saying: In the tenth day of this month, they shall take to them every man a lamb…”

It is a special, an awesome commandment, one that is given to every Jew, hence the unique words “Speak unto all the congregation.”  Take a lamb and bind it up for four days.

You believe that this is a simple commandment.  Hardly.  The lamb is more than an animal; it is the very god of Egypt.  It is a deity, a hallowed creature before whom the Egyptian bows and whose meat dare not touch his mouth.  And the Jews, “every man” thereof, are commanded to take this lamb, this Egyptian god, the deity of their masters, and tie it to their beds, to their posts, bind it up.  And when the astonished and outraged Egyptian masters will ask: “What are you doing? The answer shall be: We shall soon slaughter this lamb, the deity, your god, and eat it.

Do you still think this is a simple, bland commandment?  It is a commandment fraught with danger to life, a commandment that surely sent fear down the spines of the Jewish slaves, that, without a doubt, led scholars to rush and ponder whether pikuach nefesh, danger to life might perhaps demand the postponing of the dangerous commandment.

Nor does the Almighty stop there.  He insists on a policy of extremism, of goading the gentile.  Not content with a commandment that cries desecration of the Egyptian god, that taunts him with the sight of his deity bound up, the G-d of Israel insists that the Jew add salt to the wound.

“And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roasted with fire… eat it not partially cooked, nor boiled in water, but roasted with fire, its head with its legs and with its insides complete.”

Awake and consider!  This is what Passover is all about; only this! This is Judaism what Judaism is all about; only this!  This is what the duty and the role and the essence of the Jew is all about; only this!  To affirm to the world, but first to ourselves that the L-rd, the G-d of Israel, is.  That He truly does exist, that He is the One, the only One, that He, only He, directs the world, the fate of man, the destiny of His people.  That whatever will be for the Jew will be only because He so decrees.  That the gentile has no relevance to the Jewish fate, that the Pharaohs of all time, the ones in Egypt and the ones in Washington are utterly irrelevant to what will be with the Jew.

On the Great Sabbath in Egypt, the L-rd taught us the lesson that we trampled in the dust, the dust of secularism and the dust of the yeshiva world alike: The lesson that the Jew must raise high, must flaunt the glory and Omnipotence of his G-d.  That the world must be compelled to see their deities, their gods and idols, bound up and humiliated and destroyed.  That one must goad the gentile in order to raise high the banner of the L-rd.  That Kiddush Hashem, the sanctification of the Name of the G-d of Israel, demands an open, fearless, flaunting sacrifice of the idols and deities of the gentiles that deny the uniqueness of the G-d of Israel, His exclusiveness, His Oneness!  The lamb is openly tied and those who tremble and whisper: “But we dare not goad the gentile,” are silenced with thunderous contempt.  The lamb is slaughtered and roasted whole and fully and openly.  It cannot be hastily covered in a pot where it will not be seen.  Its identity cannot be disguised by cutting its body into pieces.  We cannot escape the danger of the gentile by avoiding confronting and goading him.  No.  Precisely the opposite!

The same gentile who thundered and thunders: “Who is the L-rd?  I know not the L-rd and will not let Israel go!” must be taught the eternal lesson of: “The L-rd is G-d, the L-rd is G-d!”  The gentile does not wish to “know” G-d, to acknowledge His exclusive kingship.  He must be taught that lesson in an open and bold and humiliating way.  He and his idols must be humbled and broken.  The lamb is taken openly.  The lamb is slaughtered openly.   And those who cringe in populism and whisper:  “But one dare not goad the gentiles…” are silenced by the thunder of the L-rd, whose commandment is eternalized by the Rabbis of the Great Sabbath, Sabbath Hagadol.  So, let that Sabbath be understood and appreciated and embraced.  For without it, there cannot be a Passover, an understanding of what that Passover really is.  And without that, when the Jewish child asks for the meaning of this night, the pathetic father who knows not what to tell him will doom his child to become a pathetic as he: practitioner of Jewish ritual, but never, never a religious Jews.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015


Rabbi Meir Kahane – The Jewish Idea (Or Hara’ayon)
WAR AND PEACE (Excerpts)

“I will grant peace in the land” (Lev.26.6):  Perhaps you will say, “Well, there is food and there is drink, but if there is no peace then all this is nothing!”  Scripture therefore states, “I will grant peace in the land”  This teaches that peace counterbalances everything.

Its likewise says (Isaiah 45.7), “I will make peace and create evil.”  This teaches that peace counterbalances everything. (See Bamidar Rabbah, 11:5-6)

Since peace is limited to its own time, it follows that in wartime all traits associated with love, kindness and mercy are redefined.  It is then kind and merciful to go to war against the wicked.  Our sages teach (Kohelet Rabbah, 3:[8]1):

There is “a time to kill” – during war; “and a time to heal” – during peace.  There is “a time to break down” – during war; “and a time to build up” – during peace – There is “a time to seek” – during peace; “and a time to lose” – during war.  There is “a time to rend” – during war  “ and a time to sew” – during peace…There is “a time to love”- during peace; “ and a time to hate” – during war.  There is “a time for war” – during war; “and a time for peace” – during peace.

The word of the Living G-d!  And how relevant they are to our day:  there is a time for war – during war; and a time for peace during peace.  We might ask why Scriptures must tell us that there is a time for war.  Might anyone think otherwise?  Our sages were teaching that, in fact, some might really think so, especially with the insane, alien culture holding portions of our people captive in its sullied hands.   Above I quoted Tanchuma, Shoftim15:

“When you go forth to battle against your enemies (Deut.20:1)…  What is meant by “against your enemies”?  G-d said, “Confront them as enemies.  Just as they show you no mercy, so should you not show them any mercy.”

We have to realize that the non-Jew who goes to war against Israel is our enemy and not our friend.  How unaware people are nowadays of this simple yet profound principle!  Our sages also said  (Sifri Shoftim 192):

You are going to war against your enemies and not against your brethren.  It is not Judah against Simeon or Simeon against Judah such that if you fall captive they will have mercy on you…It is against your enemies that you are waging war.  If you fall into their hands, they will show you no mercy.
Indeed, a timely war is a mitzvah, a duty, a kindness and an everlasting act of righteousness. Ex.34:6, which enumerates G-d’s attributes, ends by mentioning “truth”:  The L-rd, the L-rd, Omnipotent, merciful and kind, slow to anger, with tremendous resources of love and truth.”  I have already explained that there cannot be “mercy, kindness and tremendous resources of love,” without “truth.”  We often find the combination of “kindness and truth,” to teach us that that same Deity who is “merciful, kind and loving,” is above all else a G-d of truth.

Likewise, G-d is described as follows (Ex.15:3): “The L-rd is the Master of war, ‘Hashem’ is His name.”  Despite His name being “Hashem,” a name indicating mercy, He is still “Master of war.”  That same Hashem of mercy is also a Master of war against the wicked.  All this is the plain truth.  There is a time for war and cruelty and a time for mercy, kindness and clemency.  It all depends on G-d’s laws, the laws of war by the Master of war.  Our sages said (Mechilta,Ibid): “The L-rd is the Master of war, Hashem is His name:

Our sages teach us a great lesson here regarding love for one’s fellow Jew and the duty one bears to him:  It is not enough for a Jew not to murder.  Surely, “Turn away from evil” (Ps.34:15) applies here, but a much weightier duty applies too: he must do all he can to save his fellow Jew from danger, to eradicate every danger and mishap, to defeat every foe who imperils the Jewish People before he can harm them.

A non-Jew who tries to attack or kill a Jew must be punished, and if that non-Jew flees to save himself from punishment, it clearly is not just permissible but a mitzvah and duty to shoot to kill him.  Whoever opposes this and orders that the enemy be allowed to flee, thereby enabling him to return later and kill Jews, will never be able to rise up and proclaim, “My hands have not spilled this blood.”  He is aiding a rodef, is allied to murderers of Jews, and should be treated like a criminal

(Moreover, such non-Jews not only fail to accept upon themselves taxes, slave status, and G-d’s and Israel’s sovereignty over the Land, but they declare war on the Jews, attacking and murdering us.  We are duty-bound to wage a milchemet mitzvah against them, a compulsory war, and they deserve death, as I shall write below.)
King David said (Ps 9:17), “The L-rd has made Himself known.  He has executed judgment.”  That is, the nations will know G-d and His glory only when he executes judgment in His war against them.

He also said (Ps 24:8), “Who is the King of glory?  The L-rd strong and mighty, He is mighty in battle.”  The wars Israel was commanded to wage were not meant to satisfy any selfish urge on their part, any craving for land or desire for personal glory, but to sanctify G-d’s name and cast down the wicked, who plunder and afflict the upright.  Just as every part of Israel’s life must be holy, so must be their wars.

Due to our sins, the reason we were exiled from our land, the laws of war, have been so corrupted and confused by so many fine students that ignorance on this matter has surpassed all limits.  Some have no understanding whatsoever of what a milchemet mitzvah is, and in their blindness ask whether the war between us and the Arabs today is such a war.  Woe, to the ears that hear this!

 Rambam writes (Hilchot Melachim 5:1) In a milchemet mitzvah, the king need not obtain permission of the court.  Rather, he may go forth himself at any time and compel the people to follow.  With milchemet reshut, howoever, he may only compel the people through a court of seventy-one.

Here is the law before us.  Clearly, no king is needed either.  After all, the judges who preceded Saul were not kings nor were the Hasmoneans when they rose up against the Greeks.  How long can our disgraceful ignorance of these laws go on?-      
Holiness and knowledge of G-d elevate a person from bestiality, fear and confinement to trust in G-d.  Kiddush Hashem brings the redemption “speedily.”

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Saturday, March 7, 2015


WRITINGS (5732-33) (1971-73)


“Assyria will not save us, we will not ride on (Egyptian) horses.” (Hosea 14:4)


Fifteen years ago, in the midst of a military crises, Israel found for herself a good friend and ally, France, in the midst of a bitter struggle with Algeria, Morocco and the Arab world, extended aid, military supplies and all manner of needed help.  Paris became a beloved name inside Israel and Jews from Ben Gurion to Peres  to the Jew in the street – blessed the memory of La Belle France.  Here was a staunch ally, our rod and our staff, our fortress in time of need.  Friendship missions and societies sprouted and endless toasts were drunk to the eternal friendship of the Jewish and French people that was irrevocable and would endure for years to come.
   To a differentiate a thousand times, the Franco-Israel alliance was no more enduring than Hitler’s dream of a Third Reich destined to stand for a thousand years.  Within the space of a few years the alliance was not only in tatters but France had become the closest friend of our enemy and by realpolitick extension – our own enemy.
   The arms shipments, the jet planes, the diplomatic support all stopped and the friendship Societies stood embarrassingly naked.  In place of love there was now mutual recrimination and the Grand alliance was dead.    
  There is a lesson to be learned from this, one that is hardly new nor very complex.  It is indeed a lesson in realpolitick that is universal but much more so to the Jew.
   Nations pursue foreign policies that are based not upon love, admiration or respect for the particular political, social or economic structure of a fellow state.  They do not plan their relationships on the basis of pity for a small state or sympathy for its plight.  Self-interest is the key to policy decisions and, regardless of the ideology of the government; there is only one question that is asked when a decision must be made as to relationships:
   “Is it good for us?”
   Fanatically Marxist Peking will oppose freedom seeking Bangladesh and support oligarchal , imperialist Pakistan because Chinese interests so dictate.  Trade with racist Rhodesia will be pursued by the “Workers state”, the Soviet Union, because it needs certain materials for its economy.  Alliances and treaties can be made by democracies with Franco Spain and Communist Yugoslavia because the dictates of military needs (air bases) or political considerations (breaching the communist world) so call for.  Deadly enemies of yesterday become bosom friends of today because the perpetually changing conditions so decree.  It is good for a nation to befriend a ‘nice’ country it will do so; if it is beneficial to throw it to the wolves, it will – albeit reluctantly – NOT HESITATE TO DO SO.

France supported Israel not out of love of Mordechai but from hatred of the Arab Haman.  It was a time when French interests dictated a policy of weakening the Arabs, and Israel was the French tool in that process.  Too many Jews, and Israelis, still plagued with the need to believe that goyim love us for ourselves, fell victim to the illusion of French Judophiles.  Such people are continually shocked by their eternal disillusionment.

It is against this background that the abrupt departure of Soviet personnel from Egypt must be analyzed (yes, the same process of political chess takes place among non-Jews, too).  Yesterday there was nothing but love and eternal alliance between Moscow and Cairo; today, there is, at least, a dramatic cooling of the ardor.  Jews are happy; it is a good thing for Israel.  Perhaps!  But perhaps the lesson that we continually forget is put before us through this event.

Just as the Egyptian ally has disappointed Anwar Sadat so could the same thing happen to Israel and, indeed, who can say how much the Egyptian move will impel such a thing?  Who can say with authority, today, what effect the partial reverse for the USSR will have on American policy in the Middle East?  What will happen when Egypt makes approaches to the United States on the following basis:

The Soviets are leaving and the threat to the West in the Middle East has been reduced.  Here is your opportunity to regain Arab friendship (and lessen the threat to your oil).  Here is your chance to defuse the threat to peace in the region.  We are prepared to be reasonable and it is up to you to persuade Israel to do the same.”

Have we so soon forgotten that less than a year ago the Rogers Plan was being forced down Israel’s throat and that NO PHANTOMS WERE BEING SHIPPED TO Israel?  Have we so soon forgotten that little more than half-a-year ago Secretary of State Rogers was bitterly referring to Israel as a state that was internally falling apart?  Do we fail to remember that talk of an imposed peace on the Middle East was seriously engaged in by worried Israelis and that Israel was prepared to pull back from the canal – under intense American pressure?  In short, has the memory of an America and a Richard Nixon pressuring Israel to return to the insane borders of 1967 with precious little firm guarantees, slipped from us?

Richard Nixon, as all national leaders, looks out for what he considers to be national interests.  It is not admiration for Golda Meir that impels him to sell military goods to Israel but rather the hardnosed and carefully thought out deliberations that persuaded him – TEMPORARILY – that American interests coincided with those of Israel.  On the day that Nixon is convinced that this is no longer true our eternal American ally will be a great deal less than that.

Of course, McGovern is a disaster for Israel under ANY AND ALL CIRCUMSTANCES since his idea of what is good for America is a policy that would throw small states like Israel to the wolves.  But to recognize the menace of a McGovern is not to persuade ourselves that Nixon is the friend of the Jews.  Nixon is the friend of America and primarily the friend of Nixon.  He does and will do what all-national leaders do- what is best for himself and his own country.

That policy dictates a readiness to shift any given policy line at a moment’s notice (witness the incredible political betrayal of the Japanese who were truly staunch allies of the United States).  America’s Middle Eastern line may have ALREADY begun to veer closer to Egypt and let us prepare for the worst – always.

No nation has any permanent allies.  This is the foundation of foundations of Realpolitick.  For the Jew, the normal process is escalated by his Jewishness and the readiness of non-Jews to look, more than normally, for reasons NOT to support Israel.  Neither Assyria nor Egypt of old were reliable staffs upon which the ancient Jew could lean.  Neither America nor any other state will ever be a permanent or reliable ally.  There are no permanent allies.
Written 1972

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