opinion

As you might expect, the last post hit a nerve with a few people.

It’s inevitable that when we’re discussing important ideas, cherished beliefs about the best way forward for the Jewish people, wherever they might live, that passions will be stoked and tempers may occasionally flare.

A few days ago, I asked my husband to pick me up another one of the Rav’s prayer booklets called Kabbalat Bizyonot (‘to recieve humiliation’)

When I remind myself that all the yucky comments I get are 1) usually deserved and 2) paying down my many sins, that’s when I can continue writing things and exploring important subjects that will probably trigger an avalanche of yucky comments, without getting too upset or defensive about it.

Bezrat Hashem.

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Some of those comments came over email from someone who I still respect a lot, who identifies himself as a follower of the late R’ Meir Kahane.

He lives in chul, and he strongly dislikes the State of Israel.

Here is a little of our email exchange, which I will keep anonymous as the point is to not try to embarrass or attack him back, God forbid, but just to explore some of the very important issues that came up as a result, here on the blog.

It began with the verdict the Supreme Court handed down, rejecting the appeal of Amiram ben Uliel.

We were all upset about this enormous miscarriage of justice, but my correspondent then decided to springboard off of that, to start attacking the Breslov belief in prayer and personal teshuva being the main ‘weapon’ in the ongoing fight against evil.

Here’s a little of what he said, paraphrased to respect his anonymity:

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You finally have to admit that dancing and clapping and jumping up and down and reciting endless Tikkun Klalis is just not going to be enough.

It’s just not strong enough to get the job done all by itself in order to take down and permanently remove the thoroughly evil Erev Rav once and for all.

And I just know that had Amiram prevailed yesterday, you were going to ascribe credit to your Rav and to Rav Nachman had Amiram prevailed yesterday.

You would have said that their approach, their derech had “sweetened all of the dinim” for Amiram.

But now perhaps you clearly see how crucially we need a war and a revolution –  a physical one not just a spiritual one.

Rabbi Kahane was right!!! The path of David HaMelech, Shmuel HaNavi and the Chashmonaim is the correct approach and is the only way to go, going forward…

“Tremendous faith in the Al-mighty and a truly strong Jewish army is the true and only path to the geulah shelaymah…” Rav Meir Kahane H”yd.

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We’ll come on to the question of whether Rav Meir Kahane ‘was right’ in a moment.

First, let’s set out what Rebbe Nachman says about how geula shleimah really occurs:

Mashiach will conquer the entire world without firing a single bullet.

Siach Sarfey Kodesh 1-67

So we see, there is a profound contrast between what Rebbe Nachman is teaching, and what the late R’ Kahane taught.

Who is right?

Let’s see if we can tease that out a bit more.

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Before I got into Breslov, when I first moved to Israel 17 years ago, I read a few books by R Kahane, including Uncomfortable Questions for Comfortable Jews.

He argued the case about the corruption of the State of Israel very eloquently. When it came to stating the problems in Israel, I think it’s fair to say that R Kahane was 100% right.

Here’s an example of where R Kahane was right:

“Democracy and Judaism are not the same thing.”

In our days, it’s obvious that ‘democracy’ is an illusion, as our puppet politicians are bought and sold by the real powers behind the throne to progress policies and ideas that are increasingly against what’s best for the people.

Covid 19 and ‘climate change’ policies made that blindingly obvious.

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BUT.

When it comes to discussing the ‘solution’ to our problems and issues in Israel, it seems to me that R Kahane was wrong.

Let’s explore why.

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What did R Kahane advocate, as being the ‘solution’ to Israel’s problems?

Let’s go through the main ideas.

He wanted an “exchange of populations”, where the Arab citizens of the State of Israel and the newly-acquired territories of YESHA would be bused out of Israel.

The following is a quote from Uncomfortable Questions for Comfortable Jews (p.250):

All Arabs who are prepared to accept the State of Israel as the exclusive state of the Jewish people and of no one else, will be allowed to remain in the land with the status of “resident stranger”, as per Jewish laws.

They will be granted personal rights, but no national ones. They will have general economic, social, cultural, and religious freedom, but will not be citizens of the Jewish State and will have nothing to say in its future in any way.

Accepting this status, they are welcome to remain, and are entitled to all the respect and decency that Judaism demands we grant to all humans who are resident strangers in our land and who bow to its laws and concepts.

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In theory, it sounded like a possible solution.

In practise – it was totally unworkable. Here’s what R Kahane suggested should happen to Arab citizens of Israel who weren’t happy to become ‘resident strangers’ (from his book ‘They Must Go’):

Those who refuse to accept noncitizen status shall be compensated for property, but not given a bonus, and shall be transferred only to Arab – not Western – lands. The transfer shall be effected peacefully, if possible, but if the Arab still refuses, then forcibly and without compensation.

Tachlis, which Arab country was going to accept these people?

Where was the money meant to come from, to pay for all this?

And let’s just think about what it really means, what it really would have looked like, to ‘forcibly’ move millions of Arabs out of Israel.

That means using violence to get these people out of their homes, and onto buses, somehow.

That, in turns, would have meant lots of dead and wounded people.

Are you comfortable with this scenario, tachlis?

Because I’m definitely not.

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So, it’s a theoretical idea, but tachlis, it was never a real, workable solution.

Back in the 1948 war, God did an open miracle, and many of the Arab residents of Israel ran away from the country under their own steam, urged on by their own leaders to leave while the Arab forces conquered Israel and massacred all the Jews here.

That happened in a few places, most notably Tsfat, which today still has no obvious Arab population.

When God does things, miraculously, they result in a lasting bracha.

And miracles like this occur when the Jewish people pray and make some sincere teshuva, especially about their own bad middot, lack of emuna and arrogance, thinking that we run the world instead of understanding that Ein Od Milvado.

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Another key ‘prong’ of R Kahane’s approach was the ‘tooth for a tooth’ reaction to Arab violence against Jews.

Here’s a direct quote from him:

 “I approve of anybody who commits such acts of violence. Really, I don’t think that we can sit back and watch Arabs throwing rocks at buses whenever they feel like it. They must understand that a bomb thrown at a Jewish bus is going to mean a bomb thrown at an Arab bus.”

That actually happened.

Some of his followers attacked a bus full of Palestinians ‘in retaliation’ for Arab violence and went to prison for it, to give just one example of this idealogy in action.

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Let’s ask the question: Is this behaviour halachically acceptable?

I’m not a posek, but I still know that Jewish law operates on the basis of the guilty parties being punished for their crimes after their case is heard in a beit din, and the evidence of their guilt is presented.

If a particular Arab throws a stone at a particular bus – go and find the Arab, hear his case, and deal with him as the halacha mandates we should.

But to just go out and start ‘throwing stones’ at Arab buses randomly?

How is that meant to help, tachlis? 

All it does it create more ‘victims of violence’ with more grudges against the other side, who in turn also want ‘vengeance’.

It’s a recipe for permanent war and violent unrest.

There has to be a better way.

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Where did R Kahane’s approach actually lead, tachlis?

He himself was murdered in cold blood, after he was repeatedly persecuted by the security establishment and banned from participating in the Knesset on the grounds that his policies were ‘rascist’.

His son and daughter-in-law were also gunned down by ‘terrorists’ who almost certainly were cut-outs for the State of Israel.

The State also used the caricature of the ‘violent, gun-toting Kahanists’ as their fig leaf when they were arranging the massacre at the Mearat HaMachpelah, which was blamed on Baruch Goldstein.

And then again, they hid behind that fig leaf when they murdered Rabin then blamed it on their own agent provacateur Yigal Amir.

And let’s bring this bang-up-date: the so-called ‘Price Tag’ movement is what enabled the State to blame the Dumah massacre on the Hill Top Youth, and to justify torturing confessions out of people like Amiram ben Uliel.

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We can’t beat ‘Esav’ at his own game, of using violence to achieve an outcome.

The State was super-happy to have a bunch of gun-toting ‘religious settlers’ show up, that it could then use to demonize the whole movement, while the State carried on committing atrocities in their name that it then used to smear these ‘settlers’ even more.

The Hill Top Youth are still being persecuted, tortured and even killed today, in the name of ‘national security’.

It’s all part of the ‘divide and conquer’ strategy being used to keep good Jews at each others throats here, while the forces of evil continue to rule us.

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So, how does more violence solve our problems in Israel?

If you look at what’s happened already, it should be clear that more violence doesn’t solve any problem, it just complicates the situation even more.

Why is this?

Because God has set things up, that we will have Arab terrorists to deal with, and ongoing threats of war and nukes to deal with, until we really make sincere teshuva and come back to Hashem wholeheartedly.

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Rav Berland has said repeatedly, that all the terrorists and Nazis and Al Qaidas – they are all just created from our own sins.

If we make teshuva, then the terrorists and Nazis will disappear all by themselves.

Here’s another more recent statement from the Rav, from the prayer gathering in Hevron last week, that around 25,000 people attended (!)

One doesn’t need any weapon, doesn’t need the army, doesn’t need anything!  

The moment that we go with the Tikkun HaKlali, then we conquer – “and the toil of nations they inherited” (Tehilim 15:44) — we conquer the whole world!! 

And this year, may we merit to a complete redemption, speedily in our days, Amen

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Let’s end with my email correspondent’s view of this approach (paraphrased).

I’m afraid your view of Torah-true Judaism is rather jaundiced by a galut-ridden mentality beaten into us by the goyim for 2000 yrs.

Rav Binyamin Kahane writes in the end of his Haggadah of the jewish idea that the greatest kiddush Hashem there could ever be is not just for Hashem to do all the avenging for us and to make His name great once again throughout the world.

Greater still would be the witnessing of that same people who had been ground down under the boot of its oppressors for all of history and for them to arise and shockingly give back to the nations a little taste of their own medicine… mida kneged mida.

Nothing could be more fitting or higher than that level of standing up for Hashem’s honor in the world and avenging our own.

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I totally disagree.

Vengeance is the Lord’s.

Violence, klei Hamas,  is the craft of Esav.

And personally, I find it very hard to believe that having a bunch of Jews ‘nuking Gaza’ – or Iran – or throwing stones at Arab buses, or using violence to mass-deport Arab citizens out of Israel would look like a ‘kiddush Hashem’  to anyone.

We ‘stand up for Hashem’s honor’ by spreading His light in the world, and showing that ‘nature’ doesn’t exist, Ein Od Milvado, not by jack-booting all over the place and shooting people down.

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Again, I am not speaking against the memory of R Meir Kahane as an individual.

I know he inspired a lot of people, and I don’t know enough about what was really going on to have an opinion either way.

This is a discussion of his ideas, his ideology.

And at least for me personally, I can’t see that his main ideas could ever really have been workable solutions, in the real world, to the problems we face as a nation.

So call me a follower of a ‘galut-ridden, xtian-inspired, medieval superstitious’ version of Judaism all you want, when I say I prefer ‘God’ to ‘guns’.

But if you look tachlis at where the violent, hate-filled approach to solving our problems actually led, my ‘medieval superstition’ still looks like the better option – by a long way.

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I’m very happy to discuss these ideas respectfully here on the blog, and I think it’s very useful that we air out these different approaches to resolving our problems, as a people.

But PLEASE try and avoid attacking me personally, or resorting to insults instead of dealing with the real questions raised in this post.

I know this stuff gets people very hot under the collar, but if you think I’m wrong, please stick to pointing out where you think the error lies, instead of having a go at me for being a terrible example of humanity.

Thankenchou.

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15 replies
  1. Chaim
    Chaim says:

    Personally, I think that the difference between the two approaches is whether Jews have the upper hand and control over the Land or not.

    We are in Galut, there’s not so much we can do except pray and do Teshuva, as you wrote Rivka. A violent approach in this case brings an even worse outcome because our enemies have the upper hand. There’s little we can do against the State’s war machine. They are hell bent intent on staying in power, that’s for sure.

    However it’s clear from Halacha that when Jews have the upper hand and control the Land, which presumably also means we have a righteous King, that violence has plenty of place and is perfectly acceptable. The Rambam rules that when a non-Jew from another nation steals wheat on Shabbat (thinking he can get away because we try not to fight then), we all go out to war to teach a lesson.

    Many other halachot attest to the fact that violence is the preferred method of solving problems, but again only when we have the upper hand and are guided by true emunah and a righteous leader. David himself went out to kill plenty of his enemies (after praying to God of course) and was sad he couldn’t kill 1.000 with one arrow as the pasuk in the Torah blesses us.

    The stories of Purim and Chanuka do attest to the proper use of violence, provided of course that this is an e’t ratzon when Hashem is with us and everyone has a good level of emunah and so on…

    And, of course, Mashiach will indeed kill a lot of people (especially those who will try to kill him), as attested in the Zohar. You can either interpret that his prayer will “be like fire” or will he will literally spit “fire” against his enemies.

    I hope I’m wrong, but, as you Rivka have well covered throughout your articles, I don’t think in the near future when we gain the upper hand, prayer alone will destroy this wicked system (comprising of economical, medical, social, spiritual, historical – and so on – aspects) put in place by Esav and Ishmael.

    I’d also like to finish that I don’t think people were angry or hateful when they used violence back in the days (at least not so much as many people today), they were simply doing another Avodah with Hashem’s will in mind.

    Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      You make some good points, thanks Chaim.

      I think the main thing here is that ‘violence that’s commanded by Hashem’, specifically, is a mitzvah, like the mitzvah to wipe out Amalek.

      But violence that people do by themselves, with God out of the picture and without the agreement of a Sanhedrin and without any halachic input – particularly genocidal violence that is not just against evil individuals, but whole nations – is the opposite of a mitzvah.

      One of the 10 commandments tells us not to kill. There are exceptions to that rule, but let’s be clear that those exceptions have to be mandated by Hashem, and can’t just be decided by people who think violence and murder is the best way to maintain their grip on power and get all opposition out of the way.

      This is a very slippery moral slope, and killing people, even if Hashem says to do it, still leaves some sort of stain on the soul commanded to do it.

      That’s why King David was forbidden to build the Temple, even though all his military campaigns were 100% leshem shemayim.

      Reply
  2. Simon
    Simon says:

    Two scenarios:
    A bunch of Jews holding AK-47’s and grenades destroy their enemies and put them in prison/court trials, and the Mighty State (of the Jews) prevails. Glory to the State and their powerful army!
    Or:
    God personally, miraculously avenges the evildoers through the sky being filled with smoke and thunder and a great destruction throughout the whole Earth, with miraculous shockwaves everywhere, and God reveals Himself to all.
    May God make sure the first, horrible, option does not happen, and that that very idea burns to ash.

    Reply
    • Hava
      Hava says:

      Hey there, rebbe, how about when H’ is with us? Five will chase a thousand and a hundred will chase 10,000, from Vayikra 26:8.

      Two examples: Gid’on the judge and his 300 men against the Midianites, and the Maccabees and their small army against the Greeks in the time that Hanukkah commemorates. There are more in the Tanach as well.

      It’s all in the attitude: being wise, letting H’ do His thing, and giving HIM the credit in the end.

      The last is really important. It’s our weak point.

      Where was the protest in 1967 when H’ won our war for us and the government and the army took the credit? Arabs testified that they saw angels, and the leadership here didn’t take that seriously, but they were certainly serious about giving Har haBayit to them. We had a chance then, and blew it. No wonder it is so difficult for us now.

      Reply
  3. nschama
    nschama says:

    the arabs know that “Our God” defends us, as the incidents of the Scud Missiles testifies, and as they said it themselves. And they also know that when we Jews sin, we are liable for punishment. So as long as they are able to do damage to us they know we are still sinning. When that equation stops, it will be over.

    Reply
    • Hava
      Hava says:

      No one is advising you not to have common sense, just have some derekh eretz. Give credit where credit is due.

      All I did was point out that there is an area where we meet H’ in the middle, but He takes all the credit. As He should. He deserves it.

      Ain od mil’vado!

      Reply
      • Daisy
        Daisy says:

        I love your comment, Hava: great point!

        The Arabs really testified that they saw angels? Where did you read this?

        BTW I agree with you, and with Chaim.

        My take on it? I think that there definitely is a place for violence, when and where it will be appropriate and literally a Mitzvah. But we all need clear discernment to know where, when, and who! These days the Arabs are extremely violent and cruel against Jews, week after week, month after month, and our leadership is perfectly happy with that. Obviously that leadership must be booted out once and for all: we need a deep “root canal”. But individual violence won’t achieve that. On the other hand unity and national strength, gevurah, willingness to go to battle against the evil ones and the external enemy is also necessary. So how do we balance the need for affirmation, confrontation, defense of all innocents in Eretz Yisrael, removal of the evil servants of Edom and Moloch, with the need for peace, harmony, and love? Prayer, prayer, and more prayer, until Hashem shows us when and how; we don’t have Urim veTumim these days unfortunately, but we still have hitbodedut! When the time comes, maybe a Navi will rise up and guide us like Shmuel Hanavi guided David Hamelech? Or maybe we simply will all come to the same conclusion, that the time has come to go to war? Against whom though? Both enemies?

        So definitely I would continue on the path of the Tikkun Klalis, Tefillah, learning, dancing, while at the same time not eliminating the possibility of having to use force to get rid of the rats both residing in the country and outside.

        Reply
        • Hava
          Hava says:

          Daisy, you asked me “The Arabs really testified that they saw angels? Where did you read this?”

          I don’t remember, but it was a long time ago, long after the 6-Day War. It might have even been in some Xian publication, for all I know. They like to point that up, to win points with us for their nefarious purposes.

          I don’t remember which specific source it came from, but I sure do remember being mightily impressed by that info!

          But I do remember that after the 2014 miniwar there were comments about how H’ was protecting us from their worst assaults on us in the newspapers here (JPost? HaAretz? Arutz-7?), and the Arabs wondered how this could be. How could we have such favor with H’, considering our infighting between and among groups of Jews, and so on, which was in the news all the time.

          On the other hand, last year’s May wars had a major qiddush haShem when people from Yo”sh came to help out the beleaguered people in the mixed cities.

          Reply
  4. nechama
    nechama says:

    It seems that the Arabs are pushing hard for a war with Israel. Maybe they received some very lethal missiles? Maybe “lebanon” is ready also, and maybe our neighbors on the other side of the Jordan are also ready? A BUS LOAD of soldiers was shot at!

    Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Israel is also pushing hard for a war with Iran…. All of this is being orchestrated ‘from the top’ – by the elites at the top, that love wars because it distracts us away from who is our real enemy, sows confusion and misery, kills a lot of people, and lets them get away with more human trafficking undetected, because no-one is paying close attention to what’s happening to all the children once there is a war going on.

      Even Zelensky was recently quoted as saying at least 200,000 Ukrainian women and children have been trafficked via the UAE since the war in Ukraine began…. that’s probably totally understating the figures, but it still horrendous enough.

      The elites are the ones that want all these wars, because it’s part of their ‘divide and conquer’ strategy, to take the heat and the focus off who our real enemies are.

      There is no way that bus got fired on without a lot of help from the State of Israel.

      The whole country is covered in facial recognition cameras, and they’ve been using that tech in the West Bank etc, and a bunch of other covert tech, for over a decade now. There’s no way someone leaves home with an automatic weapon and the Shabak don’t pick that something dodgy is going on as they wait by the side of a road waiting for a bus load of army soldiers to pass. That road in the Jordan valley is monitored 24/7, it’s not a busy road.

      These terrorist attacks are being orchestrated from the inside, to keep the people of Israel in a state of fear and confusion and to achieve political ends.

      And the same is true for the attacks on Joseph’s tomb in Shechem. It’s all being manipulated from the top, here.

      Reply

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