Several months ago, I received a tremp (ride) from Jerusalem to Ofra, the first leg on my trek home. As we turned into Ofra, another car was blocking ours from completing the turn into the town. I personally did not think it was a big deal, but the driver of the tremp thought otherwise. At the top of his lungs, this long-time resident of Ofra yelled at the driver of the offending vehicle, finishing his tirade with...
"When you violate the [Israeli] law, you violate the Torah!"
My eyes popped out of my head in shock.
Sure, I can think of several reasons why this driver who parked his car could have been "in violation of the Torah." One could say that he was putting others in danger by parking there. One could also say that he was sending the message to other drivers that it was OK to park there, thus encouraging others to endanger people's safety in the same way. Etc., etc.
But the breaking of any old Israeli law equating a violation of the Torah? I think not.
And, no, I am not encouraging people to go around violating Israeli law.
We don't even have to get into how the concept of "dina malkhuth dina" (the law of the land is the law) does not apply in Eretz Yisra'el. It doesn't, by the way, but that's another controversial blog post for another time.
No. He was talking about the mamlachti (undying state loyalist) concept that everything about the State of Israel is sacrosanct, and that anyone thinking that Torah and Israeli law are NOT fully compatible is "confused, and doesn't really understand Rav A. Y. Kook's teachings, let alone the Torah."
Now you know one of the reasons I moved out of Ofra.
Here's another one for you...
Upon crossing the street on a red light, I was told that this, too, was a Torah violation, again, not because I was leading an unattentive Jew into a potentially dangerous situation, and not because I was modeling potentially dangerous behavior to on-looking children (against which I have no argument), but specifically because I was violating Israeli law.
I mean, seriously, where do these people come up with this crap?!
a. The Mamlachti-Datti (state religious) schools?
b. The Mechinoth (pre-IDF study) programs?
c. Certain yeshivas?
d. All of the above?
If Moshe Rabbenu appeared before them to tell them that their thinking was off, they would probably have him arrested for hasatah (incitement/sedition).
Some frightening thinking, some frightening thoughts....
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