Friday, April 01, 2005

Column: What Now?

So what happens in Israel now that the budget vote is secure and the referendum has been voted down? I am reminded of what the Rabbis said in the Talmud; “Let the redemption come but I don’t want to see it.”

The Talmud Sanhedrin is full of dire warnings about the days preceding the redemption if the Jewish People do not return to Hashem and keep the Torah. Those passages are concentrated around pages 97 and 98 in the tractate.

Of course, to go into this subject and to bring down quotes that evoke trepidation and fear, it is necessary to answer a few preliminary questions.

The first question is about the presumption about the time we are in. Are these days really the days preceding the redemption as I presume in the first paragraph?

One might ask even more fundamentally, what is the redemption of the Jewish People and will it ever happen or is it merely a fantasy?

A further question involves the nature of the Talmud and the Rabbis quoted there. Is what they said 2,000 years ago of any relevance to us today? Why should we be concerned about warnings made so long ago?

That many books have been written addressing these questions is a fact that I won’t allow deter me in trying to make some sense of perhaps these most important questions and issues in an effort to lay a foundation for quoting the Talmud. I make the effort for the sake of those that haven’t heard these questions and for the sake of those who suffer the misunderstanding of their own people with regard to them daily and sometimes harshly. Now, with the threat of Jews of faith being expelled from their homes by other Jews clearly at the doorstep, there is a necessity for non-believing Jews of good will to look at and see and learn and try to understand what makes the believing Jew tick. It is the responsibility, with this grievous decree at the threshold of implementation, for every Jew of good will to think very seriously about where he as an individual and a Jew stands on the questions I raised and many others.

The very nature of the Jewish People and the Jewish State hinge on these issues and questions and the very fate of the Jewish People may rest on the question of whether these questions are asked.

Is there a G-d? Does he really exist? Are the Jews who believe in Him and in the promise of the Land of Israel to them by the Almighty good Jews and good people or are they dangerous fanatics? Is holding onto the Land of Israel by the Jewish People a fulfillment of Devine command and will or is it the flash point for global destruction?

The time has come to think deeply about these issues and to ask these questions. Ask your Rabbi and if he or she doesn’t have good answers to your hardest questions then go ask another Rabbi. Go to a yeshiva if you have to and ask your hardest questions and do it fast, because sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing is not good enough when Jews are about to be expelled from there homes in Israel by a tyrant that has lied to the electorate about his platform and is poised to destroy the communities of those very people who put him in power – people who like those who voted with them for Sharon are the majority in this country regardless of the nonsense that leftists and their pollsters might have you believe.

It is simply not good enough to take a comfortable position at this time. It is a time for questions – and as my space runs out here, I realize that I have answered none of them and have strayed wildly from my subject. Perhaps it is best. Perhaps it is better to ask a few of the so many questions that must be asked by American Jews who still have a voice and influence both in America and in Israel – a voice that is being denied the Jews of Israel by a tyrant and a hostile world press.

Maybe next week I will return to the warnings in tractate Sanhedrin. I hope that by then at least some of you will be touched by my words and make an effort to understand a little better Jews that are different from you – how they think, what they feel, and why they want so desperately to hold onto the Land of Israel.


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