Ruminations on Life, Orthodoxy, Israel and Academia
I light a candle every Yom Hazikaron. I think about the sacrfices that have been made so that I am free to light that candle. I also think about how 22,700 people have died in Israel since 1948 in traffic accidents. That's more than the soldiers and terror victims. In dealing with this problem, the State of Israel has not expended even a minute fraction of the economic resources, and spiritual and emotional energy (to the point of ripping society apart) it has expended in trying to deal with teh "arab situation" or "peace process". In all probablity, the State (and society) just accepts this as part of the utilitarian "price" society has to pay for having more effective and faster means of transport. (see Rav Aron Lichtenstein in "Judaism’s Encounter with Other Cultures: Rejection or Integration" for his comparison of the risks of secularization or kefirah in terms of secular studies and his analogy to motorized transport).It took less than two days in Auschwitz-Birkenau alone to "dispose" of this many Jews. The 22,000 since 1948 are part of the price we pay for having our own state and defending ourselves. If the analogy to traffic fatalities is apt for secular studies (albeit in a spiritual, not phsysical sense) then it is certainly approporiate for the price we pay for having our own state.If only the "save even one life" Orthodox Osloid Messianists would see this as well. It is difficult for me to comprehend Rav Aron Lichtenstein's positions on this issue due to his failure to see the same analogy that he makes towards the spiritual and social risks inherent in studying secular studies.By it's very essence the whole issue of Pikuach Nefesh and retreat is a zero-sum game - i.e. will more or less Jews die if we take the proposed action? History has written it's verdict for what will happen if we don't have a state. 22,000 will die in one day alone. History has written its verdict for what will happen if we take a calculated gamble of retreat or negotiattion - Israel will turn in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
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