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“From the World of Rabbi Kook”
“The best cure for political divisiveness is for the ruler to repent fully. This restores his stature and restores the foundation that was pulled out from under him. The people then cling to him affectionately once more, and the blessings of peace penetrate Israel.” (Orot HaKodesh 4:495)
Rabbi Dov Begon – Founder and Head of Machon Meir
Message for Today: “The Nation Will Rise up Like a Lion”
Wicked Bilaam is forced against his will to ponder the Jewish People in a profound and all-encompassing manner, going back to Israel’s inception – the patriarchs and matriarchs who are the roots of our people. Regarding the verse, “From the mountaintops I see them; from hills do I observe them” (Numbers 23:9), Rashi comments, “I am observing our people from their earliest origins, and I see them as strong and cohesive as the hills and mountains, thanks to the patriarchs and matriarchs.” He also saw forward until the end of time. Bilaam was not caught up with the complex, harsh reality of the present. Thus he said, “I see them, but not now. I look at them, but it is not near” (24:17). Out of a profound, all-encompassing look at Israel from beginning to end, he prophesies regarding Israel’s victory in the end of days: “A star shall issue from Jacob; a scepter-bearer from Israel. He shall pierce the nobles of Moab and undermine all the children of Seth” (Ibid.). Bilaam observed the Jewish People from beginning to end from a perspective of thousands of years. With this as a background, he prophesied about the destiny and eternity of the Jewish People.
How much more so that we, today, must study and gain an understanding of the Jewish People. We must learn what are the roots from which they blossomed forth. We must learn who were the patriarchs and matriarchs, and what are their virtues, their unique traits and their destiny. Surely whatever applies to them applies to us as well, for our ancestors’ deeds presage our own.
We must not just ponder our people’s glorious past, but we must also take a direct look at the glorious future promised us, as our prophets and sages have told us throughout the generations. Only through an all-encompassing perspective that links the past to the future can we confront the difficulties and complications of the present out of faith and trust in the Eternal One of Israel. Only through such an approach can we understand that the Jewish People’s rebirth in our generation is an irreversible process. Only through such an approach can we know with certainty that all the present difficulties and hardships are only a preparation for the next stage in our redemption. At that time, the Jewish People and the nations of the world will know and recognize that Bilaam’s blessing that we recite upon entering a synagogue, “How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel” (24:5), is indeed being fulfilled before our eyes in our land.
More and more we will recognize that Israel are the people of eternity, a nation for the world created by G-d to shower light and goodness upon the world, as it says, “This people I created for Myself that they might tell My praise” (Psalms). Israel has risen to rebirth in their land. Behold! The people will rise like a lion cub and raise themselves up like a lion” (23:21,24). Looking forward to complete salvation, Shabbat Shalom!
Write a letter of support to Jonathan Pollard, in jail for 20 years because of his love for the Jewish People and our Land! Address letters to:
Jonathan Pollard # 09185-016
FCI Butner Medium
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 1000
Butner, NC 27509 (USA)
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner – Chief Rabbi of Beit El
The true educator is not one who talks but one who acts. That is how he influences his environment. Therefore, I hereby offer my thanks to the people of Gush Katif for what they have been teaching us for a long time: day by day, hour by hour, about faith, trust and spiritual fortitude. When we look at you, or even just think about you, we are filled with strength, valor and courage. I thank you for the things you have taught us: perfect faith, joy and hope.
Thanks to the men and women, rabbis and rebbetzins, to the young and old. Thanks for the unity, love and brotherhood, peace and friendship of both individuals and the public at large. Thanks to the little boys and girls who have been through some hard times and are continuing to face hard times, yet they continue to proclaim, “This land is ours!”
HaShem is certainly proud of you and tells His angels: “Observe My beloved children who risk their lives for My land, My people and My Torah.” All the heavenly hosts rise up and sanctify G-d’s name together with the Jewish People, the earthly hosts in Gush Katif.
Yet I do not know if the angels truly understand. “You angels – do you know what it is like to live in the shadow of daily terror attacks and bombings? Do you know what it means for children to have amputated limbs? Have you ever felt what it is like when a family loses one of its members? Has anyone ever spat in your face after you innocently came to settle our land? Have you ever experienced the threat of expulsion and uprooting? If not, stand at respectful attention before the people of Gush Katif.” We too are standing respectfully in the face of their daily, quiet, joyous, humble, physical, spiritual and monetary self-sacrifice. All of us, and the entire Jewish People who dwell in Zion, are donning the orange color, the symbol of Gush Katif. I myself humbly wear an orange ribbon even though I am unworthy and undeserving of it. It is my small way of saying thank you to all the men, women and children of Gush Katif for their love of Israel and the Land.
To the boys and girls who paint the world orange: Great going!
To the heroic, faithful boys and girls who sacrifice themselves for our holy land,
Who are on their feet all day long giving out orange ribbons by the roadside.
They do not yell or insult. They just paint in orange. They magnify the nation’s cry,
Against the great crime, the terrible injustice.
How fortunate you are that you are so devoted! G-d sees you and says to His angels:
Observe the boys and girls who go so long without sleep; who stand without tiring, entire days, and all of that for the sake of My land, for the sake of Eretz Yisrael, The Holy Land.
Be strong and of good courage in your holy work!
Realize that there is reward for your deeds.
Each orange ribbon becomes part of an enormous account.
HELP SAVE GUSH KATIF!
www.savegushkatif.org : an excellent site for information about Gush Katif and the thousands of Jews living there, and what you can do to help. Visit the site; send a link to everyone you know!
Rabbi Elisha Aviner – Education Corner
“Open Letter to the Heads of the Police and the General Security Service”
You might ask: What connection is there between a column that deals with educational issues and an open letter to those responsible for the internal security of the State of Israel!? The answer is that if the police and Shabak function unsuccessfully, that is liable to cause such grave social harm that a hundred years of hard work in education will not rectify. Such unsuccessful functioning is liable to diminish the confidence of Israeli citizens so seriously that thousands of talented educators will not succeed in restoring things to be as they were. Violent, provocative behavior in the lower echelons of the police is liable to shake the basic faith of tens of thousands of our youth
The police are the only body entitled by law to use violence within society. This is their privilege and obligation in order to ensure the rule of law in our country. Even so, the level of that violence has to pass the test of reasonableness. Our sages taught us this principle in the context of the laws of “rodef,” the assailant with intent to murder. If someone chases someone else with intent to murder him, everyone is entitled to kill the pursuer in order to save the person being chased. Nonetheless, such license exists only when there is no less violent alternative for saving the victim. If he can be saved by attacking “one of the pursuer’s limbs,” then there is no license to kill him. This rule is correct regarding any action taken to save someone being pursued or to prevent a crime. Only the necessary level of violence required for restoring order is a mitzvah. Anything beyond that is a sin.
To our great chagrin, much testimony is accumulating about unnecessary violence by the police against demonstrating youths; for example, purposeless beating of hand-cuffed youths, and the kicking of twelve-year-old girls. Even if the police believe that roadblocks are illegal, there is no need to use so much violence in order to remove a bunch of kids from the road, especially if their protest is nonviolent. Pictures of youths being pointlessly dragged, of girls being beaten, and testimony about youths being beaten inside police stations are circulating by word of mouth among tens of thousands of youths and are influencing their relationship towards the State and towards the bodies charged with preserving the law.
These pictures and testimonies are liable to cause many youths to become estranged from and hostile to the State. The damage is enormous, and it is highly doubtful that educators will succeed in restoring to those youths the proper approach to the State of Israel, the appropriate respect and the desirable level of appreciation. The police might win the battle, but by using force to subdue the youths’ protest, they will lose the war. They will bring about the loss of tens of thousands of citizens faithful to the State. The police can win the battle without losing the war, if they use less violence and remove policemen with a tendency towards violence, aggressiveness from police activities involving youth.
The behavior of the lower echelons of the police has been disapointing, hence my letter is addressed to those in charge.
Torah commentaries struggle over why Aaron the Priest collaborated with the sinners at the Golden Calf, and what was his part in the sin. Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi (Kuzari) answered that Aaron’s intentions were praiseworthy. He wanted to purge the Jewish People of negative elements that had infiltrated among them. He therefore encouraged the people to make the Calf in order to expose the “rotten apples” and to discover who was attracted to idolatry. What then was his sin? Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi answers: He made the Israelites sin. He took the potential sin hidden in their hearts and actualized it. There are many weaknesses hidden in a person, yet they remain latent and find no expression. By such means, many sins are avoided. Whoever arouses a person’s weaknesses and makes him sin is a senior partner in that sin. He becomes an inciter.
The police are entitled to plant undercover agents for purposes of reportage, but not agents who encourage criminality among youths. Weaknesses can be found in all walks of society. If the police planted agents in high schools in the country’s center for the purpose of encouraging youths to use drugs and then to arrest those who used them, all the jails in the country wouldn’t be able to hold all the kids who would be arrested.
Provocation is a dangerous tool. The gains are short-term. The damage is revealed only after time. Who knows? Perhaps if not for the provocations of the Shabak, an Israeli Prime Minister would not have been killed! Provocations are ugly and unseemly, all the more so when they are intended to entrap a few youths so that all youths can be delegitimized.
In conclusion, we must work hard to make our youths more moderate. We warn them time after time not to run wild and not to behave violently. We demand of those liable to be drawn into violence to avoid participating in activities involving friction with the police. We strongly and publicly condemn every act of violence of our youth and we do not cover up for them.
It is appropriate for the police, as well, to behave in the same way. They should criticize police violence and condemn it publicly. They should avoid sending policemen suspected of exaggerated violence to confrontations with youth. They should display more alacrity in placing policemen on trial who have committed crimes (just as the police rush to arrest and indict youths who have behaved wildly). This plea does not derive from naiveté, but from deep concern for the future of the State. The unbridled behavior of the police is liable to cause indirect educational ruin that will harm the future and fabric of the country. The short-term gain will result in long-term destruction. Even though the police are not charged with educating the country’s youth, they must still show sensitivity to the educational damage resulting from their activities.
Be sure to catch Rabbi David Samson’s weekly Torah insight on “Israeli Salad” at www.israelnntv.com (produced in cooperation with Machon Meir).
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