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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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