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On the Way to a Jewish State (b)

In our previous article, we laid the initial foundation for rectifying the state of Israel at the super-conscious and conscious-intellect levels of the psyche. With the first part in mind, we can now turn to the practical implications of the program for building a Jewish state.

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Settling the Land – Loving-kindness

The first of the attributes of the heart according to Kabbalah is the sefirah of chesed (loving-kindness). Like the right hand that offers and distributes goodness and blessing to all, this attribute is likewise motivated by love. The archetypal personality for this property is the first Jew, Abraham, the great believer and the man of loving-kindness, as the Torah phrase states, “Loving-kindness is to Abraham.”[1]

On the public arena, the main relationship of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel is love, “The greatest sages would kiss the borders of the Land of Israel and kiss its stones and roll in its dust, as it says, ‘For Your servants desire its stones and its dust they have favored’[2].”[3] Like a groom who loves his bride, such love effects a powerful attractive force, which, like a magnet, surpasses vast expanses of time and space.

That same love by power of which we have returned to the Land (not just because we were looking for a “safe refuge”) must be confirmed by a formal consummation of love, by declaring Jewish sovereignty over the entire country, as a natural right. We must also emphasize that this love is not just a natural love for our homeland, but a love that contains the full array of loving God (“Love Havayah, your God”[4]); loving the Jewish People (“‘Love your fellowman as you love yourself’ is a great rule of the Torah”[5]); and loving the Torah, because this fundamental triplet can only manifest in its entirety in the Land of Israel.

A clear statement must be issued to assert the fact that the source of our right to the Land of Israel is God’s promise to us in the Torah (as millions of gentiles all over the world also believe), and that the success of the reestablishment of the Jewish People in its land is only through God’s help. The Torah warns us that once we have settled the Land of Israel we should not say, “My power and the might of my hand has made me successful,” rather, we should “remember that Havayah your God is the one who has given you the power to be successful.”[6] Following these lines, we suggest revising the declaration of independence for the Jewish state to include these basic principles of the Jewish People as it returns to its land.

Declaring sovereignty over all parts of the country that are in our possession is the “best thing” that can happen to the Jews and a necessary reaction on our part to the revelation of Divine loving-kindness in our era. This is not referring to a political declaration that is empty of content, but a statement that is accompanied by actions – because actions speak louder than words, as the mishnah states, “Say a little and do a lot.”[7] We should wholeheartedly support settling the entire country, redeeming land, and developing agriculture and sources of livelihood, while heading towards financial independence and instilling a culture that balks at chasing after luxuries and advocates living modestly and frugally, “Who is rich? One who is happy with their lot,”[8] “When you eat the efforts of your hand, happy are you and it is good for you.”[9] A special emphasis should be placed on encouraging and preferring Jewish labor and raising the prestige of the Jewish worker through brotherly love, as the verse states, “And your brother shall live with you.”[10]

Israel’s Firm Arm – Might

From the sefirah of chesed (loving-kindness), we reach the sefirah of gevurah (might), which stems from the inner sense of fear, the special attribute of Isaac, “Fear of Isaac.”[11] Might balances the sefirah of loving-kindness, controlling it and guarding its borders, “The left hand pushes away while the right hand draws near”[12]; like the two opposite and complementary poles of a magnet.

Regarding the rectification of the state, might comes to the fore in the concept in Jewish law referred to as, “Israel’s firm arm.”[13] Military power is not an objective in its own right, and the Jewish Prophets were the ones who gifted the world with a vision of peace, “And they shall pound their swords into spades.”[14] Nonetheless, after so many generations under foreign rule, God has returned our power to use political and military force against our enemies (if we would only wish to do so). Might stems from loving-kindness. Out of our love of the Jewish People and our love of the land, we summon the courage to fight the enemy, without any mistaken illusions of achieving peace through surrender. Here are some of the basic guidelines for a correct defense policy according to the Torah:

Firstly, let’s not be afraid of our own shadow. Excessive fear stems from a lack of faith and trust in God, as expressed in the phrase, “Fear in Zion, o’ sinners.”[15] Before he passed away, the Ba'al Shem Tov’s elderly father told his young son, “Love every Jew and don’t fear anyone or anything other than God Himself.” Just as this last testament should be the basis of every Jewish child’s education, so it should also guide our public life. We must stand up resolutely on the international arena for the right to defend ourselves with appropriate information. We should never tie the hands of the defense forces behind their backs because of ineffective foreign policy.

The way we fight against the enemies of the Jewish People must be resolute and uncompromising. One essential component of national defense is deterrence. We should not suffice with defensive action, but we should preempt the enemy and overtake them before they carry out their plots. Also effective retaliation tactics should be used against terrorist attacks. This is the positive side of revenge, which helps us stand erect by showing that our blood is not for sale. Using force can only come through a sense of justice. Indeed, because violence and forcefulness do not come naturally to us as Jews, as long as we are doubtful about our rights to the Land of Israel, we lack the inner justification to fight resolutely against the enemy.  This is the root of our current weakness regarding Judea and Samaria, and the very phrase, “occupied territories” belies the simple truth that these are parts of the land that belong to us no less than the pre-’67 borders. Since the attribute of loving-kindness is that which motivates might, our positive relationship of loving the Land of Israel gives us the necessary courage to fight for it.

We must follow the combat morality laid out in the Torah. “The Torah has taught us, ‘One who comes to kill you, rise early to kill him first’.” This statement could not be truer than when referring to those who attack us, killing and murdering and trying to drive us out of our own country. A complete reassessment must be made of the existing rules of opening fire, which tie the hands of our soldiers behind their backs and endanger their lives. This includes a redefinition of the term “purity of arms” as it is interpreted today in the country. As we know, the gentile nations (even the most enlightened among them) do not follow these standards – which is permitted by international law – yet when it comes to Israel, the nations of the world make impossible demands, expecting us to turn the other cheek.

In conclusion, concessions encourage the enemy. The spiritual power that nurtures the enemy is their hope for achievements, and if our reply to war and terrorism is to speak about giving away land, or even disengage from flourishing Jewish settlements – then with our very own hands, we invite the next terrorist attack, God forbid. Perhaps the most grievous act is releasing murderous terrorists whose hands are full of priceless Jewish blood (referred to ridiculously as “gestures”). This is an unbearable “revolving door” policy whose bitter lesson is written in Jewish blood, yet this nonsense continues. Isn’t it clear that these murderers should be punished with the full severity of the law? Isn’t it obvious that rewarding their brutality can never lead to true peace? The only thing that can restore Israeli defense policy and return it to its route is by reestablishing it upon its correct basis, which stems from the “Living Torah.”

Jewish Law – Beauty

After the sefirot of chesed (loving-kindness) and gevurah (might) comes the sefirah of tiferet (beauty), which is attributed to Jacob who is referred to as “The beauty of Israel.”[16] Beauty is the ideal blend of loving-kindness and judgments, as harmonious as a magnificent blend of colors. The inner attribute of beauty is compassion – empathizing with another as they are, through conscious choice, respect and attentiveness. While loving-kindness and might correspond to the right and left hands, respectively, beauty corresponds to the torso itself (which is on the central axis of the sefirot). This implies that it refers to our innermost identity: the Jewish quality of being “compassionate children of the Compassionate One.”[17]

With reference to rectifying the state of Israel, this brings us to Jewish law. In contrast to our present level of beauty, loving-kindness and might are concerned primarily with outward actions; those more physically-manifest aspects of a rectified state. But at the level of beauty we find ourselves asking: By what right can the state truly be called a Jewish state? The root of the word state (מְדִינָה) stems from the concept of judgment (דִין). And the most significant definition of a public sphere is the legal system that runs it.

The current state of affairs – in which rabbinical law courts have limited authority and zero power of law-enforcement, while the state-run law system is founded on a combination of remnants of Ottoman and British law – is in need of an overhaul. The Jewish People have a law system of its own, “And these are the laws that you shall place before them,”[18] covering everything from civil law to criminal law. Obviously, an updated set of statutes and regulations is required to cover all walks of modern life, including business on the stock exchange, or a traffic code – but everything must be under the umbrella of the Torah’s laws. Torah law tends neither towards pitiful sensitivity, nor to harsh vengeance. Instead, it is the revelation of the attribute of compassion for all. Indeed, the Zohar equates law with compassion.

In practice, we must remember that as a general rule; Jewish law forbids initiating legal action in court systems that are not committed to Torah law (except in specific cases). We must always make use of the Torah law courts wherever possible, and must set our goal to establish Jewish law in its rightful place in our Jewish state, which is relevant to the judiciary, the legislature and also to the executive branches. Once the legal system is rectified, it will be possible to rejoice in and be proud of the fact that we are citizens of a state that follows the path of justice and honesty, and regard it as the realization of the prophecy, “And I will restore your judges as at first and your counselors as in the beginning; then you shall be called the City of Righteousness, Faithful City. Zion shall be redeemed through justice and her penitent through righteousness.”[19]

TO BE CONTINUED



[1] Micah 7:2.

[2] Psalms 102:15.

[3] Maimonides, Laws of Kings 5:10.

[4] Deuteronomy 6:5.

[5] Leviticus 19:18; Rashi ad loc.

[6] Deuteronomy 8:17-18.

[7] Avot 1:14.

[8] Ibid 4:1.

[9] Psalms 128:2.

[10] Leviticus 25:36.

[11] Genesis 31:42.

[12] Sanhedrin 107b.

[13] See, for example: Ketubot 26b; Maimonides Laws of Idol Worship 10:6.

[14] Isaiah 2:4.

[15] Isaiah 33:14. See also Berachot 60a.

[16] Lamentations 2:1

[17] See Yevamot 79a.

[18] Exodus 21:1.

[19] Isaiah 1:26-27.

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