Beyond the Cusp

June 25, 2017

The Scene Turned Ugly at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn

 

The rally was organized by extremist groups in the camp of Orthodox Jewry in both the United States and Israel who are against their congregants having to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) because they believe that their willingness to study Torah, most of them, should exempt all of them from service just in case they decide they desire to study Torah today. These groups are part but not all of the Haredi movement. What is interesting is that in the United States the Haredi have normal lives, as they would see things. In Israel, many of the Haredi do not work and instead spend their days studying Torah, or so the argument is made. This is why they claim they should not be forced to serve in the IDF. They claim that according to Torah, their study brings about peace and that is their contribution to the safety of Israel. This is not a universal belief and there are Haredi who serve in the IDF with great distinction in many cases. These soldiers are in risk should they visit friends or family in Haredi neighborhoods and one recently suffered broken ribs as he was attacked in his own Haredi neighborhood. This was a disgrace and the most despicable of actions by those Haredi who perpetrated this beating.

 

IDF Crest Insignia

 

This takes us back to the rally held at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York, New York. This rally was anything but inexpensive. Those behind organizing this rally have deep pockets and cannot be taken lightly as with such pockets comes power. This makes the events which transpired at the rally of importance. The rally was announced as being held in sympathy with the Haredi in Israel and their soon being required to serve in the IDF except for a percentage who will be Torah scholars, but the average Haredi are going to be drafted, as are everyone else, to serve their term in the IDF. This is part of the effort to integrate the majority of the Haredi into mainstream Israeli society as this is quickly becoming a necessity as the numbers of Haredi in the population increases the remainder of the Israeli people will be unable to support the Haredi. This is being resisted and the movement has been joined by other extremist groups in the camp of Orthodox Jewry. The rally very quickly turned from supporting the Haredi cause to being grossly anti-Zionist and then finally anti-Israel. That is where the rally became troubling and unacceptable.

 

Having political views is one thing which is acceptable. Turning against the Jewish state by organized Jews and doing so in such a publically observable manner is unacceptable. Jews who believe that Israel has no right to exist because according to their belief and interpretation of Torah the Jews were to await the Messiah before reestablishing their homeland is one thing. Publically calling Israel an abomination or decrying her existence is something entirely different. By expressing such views in a public forum can only result in enforcing the enemies of Israel and possibly result in enemies of Israel acting claiming that even the Jews do not believe in or support fully the Jewish state. Calling for an end to Israel is calling for the elimination of the Israeli Jews who are going nowhere voluntarily. That is well over six-million Jews plus all the rest of the Israeli population. This is a serious breach of reality. The Jewish state is a fact and exists. Claiming that the Zionist Jews should have awaited the Messiah is a wonderful thought. There are also Jews who read the same Torah and believe that there need be a Jewish Israel and Jerusalem into which the Messiah can return. Obviously, both sides of this argument cannot be correct and to muddy the waters further there are those who believe that there will be no Messiah, but only a Messianic Age. There will be only one means of determining which of the three sides are correct, and that will require either the arrival of the Messiah or the Messianic Age. The arrival of the Messiah will, of course, answer many, many questions and settle who was correct, as if it makes any difference at that point.

 

That brings us back to now. There are far too few Jews for us to go around accusing one another of presumably unpardonable sins, at least not so publically. Jewish sects have had their differences in every age. Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Ben Azzai had a few differences over which Jews to this day can discuss and argue over the merits of the two Torah scholars. There are many who could rightfully declare that opposing the Jewish state today is tantamount to opposing the survival and welfare of the Jewish people as a whole. Debating Zionism was the biggest argument in Judaism a century ago but as of May 15, 1948 (5th of Iyyar, 5708) that debate was made mute. There is no reason to continue to beat a dead horse, as the saying goes. That debate is over, Israel lives and now it is the future of the Jewish people. Should Israel disappear the remainder of Judaism would assimilate and disappear except for a few stray groups clustered around their Rabbi and the Jews would become more of an oddity than a religion. That is the future of Judaism without Israel.

 

Yes, there are those with a differing view of Torah than the religious Zionists like myself. They believe the Messiah must come to establish Israel and we believe that Israel must have been established and Jerusalem brought into Jewish hands for the Messiah to have an Israel from within which to enter Jerusalem. We believe that Israel is not yet ready to receive the Messiah and until we hold Jerusalem as our capital undivided and wholly holy and ours and with all the holy cities of our Torah under Israeli law and with Jews as the citizens within. Then once we are worthy, the Messiah will come. That is when all the Jews are worthy and we will never be worthy as long as we are at one another’s throats. We are one people despite our differences and we need to act as one people. Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Ben Azzai had differences and debated their different interpretations all while each respecting the other. We could learn a lot from their friendly rivalry which was carried forth with high respect and never with animosity from one for the other. Debate within Judaism is almost a tradition, but always with respect and cordiality. As fellow Jews, we must act as what we are, brothers and sisters, a glorious family, the descendants of Abraham, Isaak and Jacob. Differences aside, we all say the same prayers and observe the same holidays and enjoy our Sabbath meals with family. While I understand the arguments of whether Israel was to be established before or by the Messiah and understand how many rise and fall over this argument, I see all of us as Jews first and foremost. We must all adopt this view for there are too few of us as has been the sad reality in every age. When we fight amongst ourselves, we only stir up wrath which will be our downfall. We must overcome out differences and learn to love one another as the siblings which we are. That is the long and the short of this and displays such as the one at Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York, New York can only serve to destroy the Jewish people making us but a footnote of history. Torah say such can never be, so apparently Torah says we must mend our ways.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

    Like

    Comment by OyiaBrown — June 29, 2017 @ 9:05 AM | Reply


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