Chapter Seven


The current situation in Israel is such that the duty to protest falls squarely on the shoulders of the rabbis. This obligation falls upon all rabbis who arbitrate practical matters of Jewish law, and especially those rabbis who have at one time expressed an opinion on this issue, no matter where they are — whether in Israel or in the Diaspora.

2. The ruling must be explicit and definitive, being the result of exhaustive consultation with present military authorities who have actual firsthand knowledge about these issues, and who express their opinions through purely security-oriented considerations, and not political ones.

In order to save the rabbis the trouble of researching the issues which are required for a ruling, the Rebbe informs us that he has already investigated the matter, and the conclusions are:

a) Those involved in military affairs say that surrendering any portion of the West Bank, places untold numbers of Jews in danger, G-d forbid.

b) The past is well known (e.g., Golda Meir not listening to David Elazar prior to Yom Kippur War).

3. A ruling must be issued quickly, and a rabbi must not wait until he is asked about the matter. Rather, he must see to it that the law is publicized everywhere — to the extent that "there will not be a single individual who has not heard of this ruling." This is because regarding these matters, "he who asks (rather than acts) is a spiller of blood, and the one who waits to be asked is contemptible" for not having publicized his opinion.

4. Similarly, one should publicize the decision of the "Great Assembly" of 1937 which states that "it is forbidden to cede to a non-Jew, even a tiny strip of the Land of Israel." This should be publicised until the entire Jewish people are aware of this ruling.

5. Every Jew, regardless of where he lives, is connected with every other Jews in the rest of the world. Therefore, according to Jewish law, he must protest any action taken by another Jew which is not in accordance with Jewish Law. Protest is required even if the forbidden action took place a great distance from him — because he is still obligated by the command, "Thou shalt not stand idly by thy brother’s blood."

6. At times the situation is such that there is nothing left to do but to protest. This is a precise indication that our task in this situation is to protest.

7. The claim that protest will not affect the situation does not absolve any of the rabbis, no matter where they are, from their obligation to publicize a clear ruling because:

a) Who knows where we would be if no one were to speak up.

b) Regarding the mitzvah to admonish one’s fellow man, the Talmud says, "even one hundred times," meaning, if one unsuccessfully gave rebuke ninety-nine times, one is bound by Jewish law to engage in rebuke a hundredth time, for it could well be that the hundredth time will be decisive.

c) The rabbi must do his job and protest without fear, and without considering the reaction which may follow his ruling (such as being ignored); especially because this is an ongoing matter, which concerns saving Jewish lives.

d) The obligation not to stand idly by while your brother’s blood is being spilled, applies in every situation, even when one is uncertain that his protest will have any effect. Even if the chance that protest will assist is only one thousandth of a chance, or a fraction of that, one is obligated to protest, because this is the law in the Code of Jewish Law.

8. Even if the majority remain silent, and those protesting are in the minority, nevertheless, the minority is taken into consideration.

9. The rabbis who remain silent cause the greatest damage. This is analagous to the Talmudic law concerning seventy rabbinic judges who rule for or against a certain side, with one judge "abstaining." In such a case, Jewish Law requires the entire trial to be rendered null and void.

10. The Rebbe’s opinion is that were there to be a sustained protest, carried out with the greatest intensity — as the present situation clearly demands — it would eventually succeed, in the near future.

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