School for Biblical, Judaic & Spiritual Studies
The responses to my comments (above) condemning violence were readily commented upon on my Facebook page. I was not surprised, but nevertheless disappointed to see many expressions of lawlessness, that refused to condemn violence.
There are always those voices, some living in Israel, others not, who claim, “the State of Israel” has no right to pass any laws that violate the Torah. I have no idea where in Torah this delusional idea comes from, but it seems to stem from the false belief that modern day Israel is somehow beholden to Jewish law, just because it is a Jewish state.
Let me remind everyone of the reality. Israel was established as a national homeland for the Jewish people, all the Jewish people, religious, and not. Israel is a modern, secular state, no different from any other. It's government is presently in the form of a European parliamentary democracy. Israel is a Jewish state, a place for Jews, but it is not a state of Judaism, a place where religion dominates.
Many religious people are not happy with this, and would love to see the state of Israel become subject to Jewish law. Such a thing, mind you, is Halakhically impossible, but most zealots are ignorant of Halakha, and bend the Torah to interpret it to mean anything that they wish.
The zealots only seek to make trouble because they believe that their violent acts will destabilize, what in their eyes, is an illegitimate government, and force the coming of Mashiah.
We have seen this horrible mentality before. This was the philosophy of the Second Temple zealots, who also viewed the Jewish government of its day to be illegitimate, and provoked a war with Rome. We all know how badly that ended. We still fast on Tisha B'Av because of that holocaust.
Israel today, like every other western nation, practices tolerance. It tolerates all types of political dissent. Sometimes, maybe, some tolerance is too much. Violent behavior, and even violent rhetoric should never be tolerated at all.
If one wishes to say, “down with the government.” That is one's choice. Yet, if such a one endorses or embraces any activity, or behavior which would seek to bring about the fall of government, or to harm anyone, or anything, in any act of violence, then this is criminal behavior, for which there must be zero tolerance.
If one wishes to change the world, then this is done by first changing the hearts and mind of the people in the world.
Ideas and dialogue change things. Zealot acts only destroy things. This is why zealots and zealotry have long been forbidden under Torah law.
Israel, the modern nation, has her handful of problems, just like every other western nation. To think that a turn towards a Halakhic government, a theocracy, would make Israel a better country, is to contemplate insanity.
Israel's population is not religious, and certainly today's expressions of religion are no temptation or attraction to anyone.
Yet, Israel tolerates its growing religious minority, and provides for them more support than has even been expressed by any government ever in human history!
Israel will become a spiritual nation, maybe someday, when the spirit of the religious becomes something to emulate.
Until then, when the faces of religion offer either extreme zealotry, and extreme fundamentalism, don't be surprised that the voice of normative, healthy and proper religious expression get buried, and its voice drowned out. This is most unfortunate, but true.
Upholding the proper path, the center, the moderate path as taught by Maimonides, this will help bolster true Torah Judaism against the growing number of false facades destroying Torah Judaism from within.
Long ago our Sages taught that Torah study is considered equal to all the other commandments combined. Judaism has always emphasized learning. Mind you, learning means to expand wisdom, understanding and knowledge.
Learning is not mindless memorization, and repeating one's extremist or zealot mantra.
learning expands the mind, and opens the heart. This is something we need more
Torah teaches us the importance, and value of peace, and social stability. We must pursue these.
Israel can and will address its own internal problems, just like every other
country on Earth does. Israel is far from perfect, and I doubt if the nation
will ever be perfect, but it is the only safe haven for Jews around the world
who need to flee growing antisemitism. For this Israel was formed, and thank God
is still there to meet this vital need.
There are enough enemies and threats to Israel from those who hate both Jews and Judaism. We should not tolerate or condone a fifth column of Jews inside the State of Israel who seek its destruction, for the convoluted sake of some perverted interpretation of religion.
we all must stand up for what is right, together, stand up and condemn what is
wrong, and never, ever again remain silent in the face of a cancerous evil in
God bless the State of Israel, and God bless us all. May God save us from those who have usurped His Throne and try to rule here on Earth in His Name. God save us from the zealots and the fundamental extremists.
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The Written Works of Ariel Bar Tzadok
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