by Rabbi Ben Tzion Krasnianski / Director Chabad Upper East Side
The measure of a person is how he treats his own family. It would be tragic if someone was loving, kind and concerned about his neighbors but beat up his wife and abused his children. Such kindness to strangers is an indication of sickness, not an expression of goodness. Charity begins at home, and from the home it pours outward.
The essence of the Jewish people is that we are a family. While the Gentiles of the world might be our best friends, we consider a Jew, every Jew, as part of our family. Even a renegade member is still family. When the Jewish family readily gives up its own treasured heirloom and shows more care and concern for strangers than it does for its own members, this suggests that we are a dysfunctional family.
Something is fundamentally wrong with the state of the Jew. The very foundations are crumbling. Something insidious is nibbling away at the very core and essence of the Jewish soul. Its very fabric is being torn apart. We are witnessing a massive failure, a colossal collapse and the rapid deterioration of all those values that are dear and sacred to us.
No nation could survive without a sense of pride. A spineless people can not possibly persevere. While we could survive Hitler, we cannot survive this offensive. A people who do not believe that they are a chosen people will inevitably decompose. A people without a dream cannot possibly endure.
The Jew’s extraordinary history and his belief in his unique destiny constituted his raison d’être to live and to survive as a singular people. The foolish pragmatists have done irreparable harm. No nation on earth could be powerful enough or mighty enough that it could afford to lose its soul.
If Jeremiah were alive today, he would surely write a new Eicah befitting the magnitude of the tragedy. Woe is to the eyes that saw Arafat march his victory march in Hebron. Cursed are the eyes that witnessed, for the first time in history, Jews exiling themselves.
The biggest shock are the observant and Chassidic Jews who have voted for the relinquishing of Hebron. Every cheder boy studied the first Rashi in the Torah which states: The only reason the entire Book of Genesis, and the first two and a half portions in Exodus, were included in the Torah was so a Jew could have the courage and conviction to proclaim before all the nations of the world that Israel was granted as an eternal inheritance by the eternal G-d to his eternal people.
The thing that matters most is not how the accord is interpreted in some shtiebel, but rather how it is interpreted by the entire world. Any Gentile will tell you that the premise behind the peace accord is Israel’s relinquishing its biblical claim to the Land of Israel and burying its dream of a greater Israel forever and ever!
How can a Jew proclaim before the entire world that the Torah is a wonderful collection of perennial insights, inspiring stories, and epic drama, but is irrelevant in the real world of geopolitics, and still remain observant?!
The Hebron accord should be a wake-up call for all lovers of the Jewish people. We have very serious soul searching to do.
If our ancestors were here today, would we be able to look them in the eye? What will we tell our children and grandchildren when they ask us why we gave away their inheritance, their trust, without their consent? Will they ever forgive us? What will we tell them – that we had no choice? History will not be so kind or forgiving.
We have put our unique, G-d-given capacity to change the world to novel use. We have demonstrated our ability to transform light into darkness, sweetness into bitterness, victory into defeat, and redemption into exile.
Was it practical for our ancestors to remain Jewish while surrounded by a vast ocean of anti-Semites? Could one “sheep” surrounded by seventy “wolves” possibly survive? If the Jewish people were practical, they would have chosen to surrender long ago. The survival of the Jewish people is irrational, illogical, impractical and miraculous.
Yet all the practical people throughout the ages are long forgotten, reduced to the dustbin of history. Only the impractical, stubborn, proud, and stiff-necked Jew remains! In a world that is constantly changing, only the impractical Jew never changes. The Jew never lived for the moment. Consequently, Jewish history is the only eternal history. When President Bill Clinton will be long forgotten, the Jewish people will eternally remember the names of those who have betrayed them.
The Jewish people were always ready to sacrifice short-term gain for long-term goals. They knew that life is not a popularity contest. They taught their children not to succumb to the coarse, the immediate, the expedient and the popular, but to choose instead a life of honor, dignity, nobility and refinement.
While everyone is occupied looking out for Number One, the Jew is busy martyring himself. Mayor Rudolph Guliani could be called a practical man, because he is looking out for the welfare and well being of all New Yorkers. His record speaks for itself. Crime has dropped 50 percent throughout the city, and New Yorkers feel safer and more optimistic than ever before.
In Israel, however, since they signed the Oslo accord, Jews have not had a day’s rest! The country is divided. The defense minister publicly declares that anyone who believes that the present accord will not endanger Jewish lives is naive! Could you imagine any nation on earth agreeing to put its own people in harm’s way?!
Is there any one who doubts for a moment that if the Arabs had the capacity to destroy Israel today that they would do so instantly? Is there anyone who doubts that if the Arabs unilaterally dismantled their armies, that Israel would pose no threat to its neighbors? Even when Israel could have, and had every right to march into Cairo and Damascus during the Yom Kippur war, they chose not to.
The Jewish people are the most impractical people on the face of the earth. Only the Jew is constantly looking over his shoulder to see what the world will say. No one suffers from an inferiority complex as much as the Jew does. No one suffers from a crippling exile mentality as the Jew does. No one feels so uncomfortable in his own skin as the Jew does.
Is there any nation on earth that would have behaved as Israel did during the Yom Kippur war? On the eve of Yom Kippur, when the enemy began to march toward Israel’s defenseless borders, Israel decided to show the world that it was not the aggressor, so it did nothing to protect itself. How many casualties would have been avoided if Israel would have reacted as any reasonable, sane, rational people would by protecting their families from mortal danger?!
I genuinely pity our brothers and sisters in Israel who are at the mercy of Jews. Only Jews could place their fellow Jews in harm’s way and call it peace!
Israel has de facto ceded its sovereignty to the United States. It has invited America to dictate to it the future of the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. When they are through with the 1967 Palestinians, naturally they will begin addressing the 1948 Palestinians and their rights and the problems of the refugees, who number in the millions. The next step, of course, will be to strip Israel of its nuclear arms. It sends shivers down your spine just thinking down which path our “practical” Jewish leaders are heading.
The Oslo accord only proves that the Jewish people are indeed a nation apart, a unique and peculiar people. The architects of Oslo in their attempt to normalize the Jewish people have only proved beyond a shadow of a doubt how abnormal the Jewish people really are.
The darkness and confusion that has engulfed the Jewish community is thick and palpable. Now that we have abandoned our compass of 3,700 years, our ship is sailing in treacherous waters, rudderless and leaderless with only today’s headlines to navigate our course.
Although G-d is infinite and his patience is limitless, this latest insult surely is too much for even G-d to bear. Certainly he will have mercy on us and end his mysterious silence, bring an end to the charade of Exile, lift the veil, and reveal his very essence for all the world to see. G-d’s unconditional love for each and every Jew will then be tangibly manifest, with the coming of our righteous Moshiach. Now!
Published by the Algemeiner Journal
225 East Broadway New York N.Y. 10002 – Tel. 212-267-5561 Fax: 212-267-5624