Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Hirhure Teshuvah

Looking over my postings for the last two weeks, I realize that, in direct relation to the degree of pain I feel, they've become a bit shrill. As the fires burn in Sa-Nur and Homesh, it's time for some stock taking. I wrote what follows in response to a request on the Efrat Chat List for a new sticker to express our feelings. Most suggestions were either banal or full of vengeful fury.
Give the ongoing demonization of the settlers, synagogues, Torah, rabbis (of every stripe), and the horrible neglect and abuse of the expellees, I'm not surprised. However, we need to look forward. To a degree, what I wrote here is a repeat of things I've been saying for ages. I realized, though, that my mistake is that I've been saying them in English (witness my sitemeter record of hits). Time to take the show on the Hebrew road and go back to Op-Ed pieces. I suggest the same to all my fellow Anglos. Letting off steam in Mama-Loshen is fine. e, however, have a responsibility to teach what we know here in Israel. Time to add on Loshen Qodesh.

Anyway, here goes my response:

The destruction of GK is NOT just a political, a security or even a Zionist issue. It is a purely Jewish issue. What allowed it to happen, what has accompanied it from the start, is a deep-seated, pathological desire to divest Israel of any semblence of its Jewih character. That is what lies behind the demonization of all religious zionist Jews. That is what prepared the ground for people to be ready to withdraw. And that is where we, ourselves, failed miserably. We isolated ourselves in Yesha and actively or passively allowed the country to assimilate into the morally relativist, self-indulgent and self-hating West.

It is not the lack of 'settling in hearts' that paved the way for this disaster. It was the uprooting of any semblence of a respectable Judaism in most of the country. Put another way, we are ostensibly religious, believing Jews. As such, we must know that while Eretz Yisrael is ours by absolute right, our residence here is always conditional upon our behaviour. Yes, there are very bad people and ideas. However, for those who constantly quote Rav Kook (pere), it would behoove us to recall that he fought for deeper observance everywhere in the Yishuv. Eretz Yisrael is an exalted means and value. Like all other mitzvot it cannot be an end intself. The Brazen Serpent should give us pause.

So, I suggest more Torah and less venom. That's how meaningful change is made.


Mike Miller said...

Dr. Woolf,

You are correct that most of the slogans were not the ideal response, but let's keep this in perspective. Most of the ideas presented came from one person (I'm deliberatly leaving this vague) who's also not terribly fond of the Rabbinic leadership (in fact, she'd dispute the term leadership) of the Dati Leumi world. Additionally, the people who've commented have not always been the ones to advocate a religous focus in the struggle. If I may quote from an earlier mail:

in addition to prayer, which is very nice, [but even Hashem told Moses when
he was praying for help seeing the Egyptians coming near and this big sea in front of them 'dabber el bnei Yisrael vayissaou"- stop kvetching and
praying, the time has come to GO-]

[source available on request]

After R' Riskin receives his apology, I'll take this individuals rants more seriously. Vehameivin yavin.

academic frummie said...

right on od!
the religious zionists have dropped the ball for too long. they have spent a generation plus worrying about the physical land of israel, and neglecting the jewish character of state. the rz have grown insular, often into a chareidi society (read: absolute, or at least a great deal of, trust in daas torah, fear/antipathy toward secular studies, mistrust/superiority/triumphalism regarding those who are not them) with a zionist twist.
this is, in part, why we have the chief rabbis we have. look at a picture of dayanim ordination 30 years ago, and you will find predominantly hareidim. where were the rz?

i understand the rz development as one emanating from mercaz harav. this has been THE institution promulgating rz. take a look around at the hesder yeshivas and you will find that so many of them have mh grads who founded/are leading the institution. ditto the melamdim of lower schools, and other religious foci of power.
this school is essentially hareidi, with a zionist twist.

so what to do?
rz have to go where public opinion is formed. i dont know exactly where that is, though i would bet it is in the high schools [some would say it is in universities or journalism or perhaps the army] -- NOT the religious high schools, but the irreligious ones -- and effect change on the ground. a great example of this is aryeh deri and shas.
this is how to rescue jews from themselves.
mehorsayich umacharivayich mimayayich yetzeu.

daat y said...

I don't hear venom.What you are describing is the harsh reality of 'them' wanting to drop the Jewish and leave only a 'democratic state.'

settler@zion.org said...

So basically you agree with what Rav Meidan said. We need to connect with the Charedim - who support increased religious observance in the Land, and get them to appreciate settling the land (which they basically do - 1/3 of the increase in Yesha last year was in Charedi settlements).

Where were religious zionists when it came to the demonstration against the Supreme Court? Against Shabbat desecration? Where were the moderate feminist, liberal rabbinic leadership as well on these issues? What's the point of passionately activating for women's torah learning, when soon ALL torah learning will be forbidden if this process continues?