Friday, May 25, 2012

Does Rabbi Kahane Need Defending?

Erev Shabbath Qodesh Parashath Bamidbar 5772


A  friend from yeshiva asked me to help defend Rabbi Me'ir Kahane  hy"d.

He was referring to the comments made on some post on Gil Student's blog (now, more than one post)

What's the point?  I know it's sad, but I have long given up on the same ol', same ol' Jews, be they modern orthodox, Litvaks, or Satmar, buried to their necks in galuth (exile), and in the galuth mentality.

Yet, truth be told, though, the main reason I write Esser Agaroth is because of the crazy idea that I can help one more Jew escape galuth, and that (OK, I'll say it) un-Jewish mentality.

So, I guess I really haven't given up; I'm just pessimistic and frustrated, and want to give up.  But, I can't.
לֹא תַעֲמֹד עַל-דַּם רֵעֶךָ - שמות יט,טז
Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor - Ex. 19:16

But, why should I bother defending Rabbi Kahane hy"d?  These clowns* aren't going to listen?  They have already made up their minds, most them not having read a single one of his books.  And, those who have undoubtedly, refused to accept anything he says, even though backed with halakhic sources.  If it doesn't fit into their hashqafas, then it couldn't possibly be correct, right?  (See below, for the use of the word "clowns.")

The next question is does Rabbi Kahane NEED defending?

Jews will either listen, or they won't.  They will either get on the plane, or they won't.  Funny thing is why Jews, religious Jews, feel a need to debate a rabbi who has been dead for 20 plus years.  My theory is that they need to justify their Western ways, and/or their belief in the acceptability of making a permanent residence in a "strange land," a land not their own.  they need to justify their "feelings," in perfect Western progressive fashion.  They need to discredit Rabbi Kahane, to prevent the onset of the greatest cognitive dissonance they have ever to experience.

Rabbi Kahane quoted halakhah, believed that Jews should follow halakhah, and that halakhah takes precedence over contra-Torah laws of the State of Israel.  No one has yet been able to refute his positions by applying halakhic sources, particularly the issues of goyim residing in Israel and the distinguishing between Israeli Law and halakhah.  They are not identical, as the mamlakhti (undying state loyalists) would have you believe.

Everyone who has tried, has done nothing but apply their "feelings" to a situation, sometimes calling it "facing reality," and has picked and chosen various halakhic sources out of context, not in the least bit shayach, and have quoted random pesuqim to support their "feelings."

The Rabbinical Council of America [RCA] is a good example, when it has criticized rulings of Rabbanim such as Rabbi Shmu'el Eliyahu shlit"a, and yet has insisted that Israeli rabbis stay out of its business.  Go figure...

Clearly, they have forgotten where the capital of Torah is, treating physical boundaries made up by goyim as relevant.

Rabbi Me'ir Kahane's primary "crime," as it were, was to dare to quote verses from the Tana"kh, as well as from halakhic sources, while speaking in the Knesseth.

He was demonized a racist because of it, and because of his second crime: He differentiated between the Torah-true, Jewish mentality and the Western/assimilationist un-Jewish mentality.  He taught Jews that one was correct, and the other was not. 

The recent ruling of Rabbi Shmu'el (ben Mordechai) Eliyahu , the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, that one may not rent apartments to Arabs, even though they are "Israeli citizens," incurred the same demonization.  The Rabbinical Association of America, which can't stand it when Israeli rabbis but into its affairs, did not hesitate to condemn his rulings as well. Its representatives used Western "logic," rather than halakhic sources, which basically boiled down to "What will the goyim say?"

The wives of prominent rabbis in Israel incurred the same when they came out against Jews dating Arabs.  Yet, even the so-called "Reform" movement discouraged it.

Rabbi Kahane also encouraged us to take a serious look at ourselves. 

Were we acting like good little Jewish boys and girls, hoping that the goyim would see that we're just like them, and thus gain their acceptance?

Or, were we concerned with how The Holy One, Blessed Be He, sees us?

Were we comparing ourselves with non-Jews in our countries of birth?

Or, were we comparing ourselves with ourselves with our scholar-warrior forefathers, and striving to live up to their examples?

Were we taking pride in what good American (or British or French) citizens we were?

Or, did we take pride in being Jewish, and that we now had sovereignty over our true homeland, and needed to become part of the only solution by making aliyah?

Rabbi Kahane had the courage to teach us that when there is a setirah (conflict) between the Torah and Israeli, and takes precedence over Israeli law.  He taught us so, even in the face of the sniveling lap dogs of the Israeli Government.  These puppets with kippoth could not sufficiently counter him with any halakhic argument, so instead they called him names, and buried their heads in their mamlakhti (undying State loyalist) hashqafah.

He was known for quoting the Ramba"m, in particular the following from the Laws of Kings and Wars (I wonder how many Jews even know that there is such a thing.), to support his assertion:

ג,י  [ט] המבטל גזירת המלך בשביל שנתעסק במצוות, אפילו במצוה קלה--הרי זה פטור:  דברי הרב ודברי העבד, דברי הרב קודמין.  ואין צריך לומר אם גזר המלך לבטל מצוה, שאין שומעין לו.

3:10 [9] One who cancels the decree of the King for the sake of occupying himself with misswoth, even a misswah considered to be light – is exempt [from punishment].  The words of a rabbi and the words of a slave, the words of a rabbi take precedence.  And one does not [even] need to say [that] if the king decreed the cancellation of a misswah, that one does not heed him.

He could have cited this halakhah until he was blue in the face.  It didn't matter.  Those silly Jews who insisted that the K'nesseth was even a stand-in for a king, could not get their head around this extremely clear, Jewish source.  Rather they preferred to cling to their Hellenist democracy, not as a temporary system of administering a Jewish state, but as a "Look!  We're just like the goyim!" system of government.  The system of government pointed to by the Torah, was just foreign to them as the fact that Jews killing Jews, led us to the first Hanukkah.

At around the same time that Rabbi Kahane was attempting to convince Jews to think and act like Jews, Rabbenu Tzvi Yehudah Kook ztz"l, Rosh Yeshiva of Merkaz HaRav Kook, taught that one "…should do everything in order to prevent and delay the evacuation of Jewish strongholds" (Rb. Z. Melamed, Bet El; Rb. Elitzur Sege"l, Ofra)  He himself put his money where his mouth was, and planted himself in the Jewish town of Shavei Shomron to prevent its demolition. He, too, showed that following the Torah takes precedence over State laws which ran contrary to the Torah.  I doubt that anyone in the Religious Zionist communities would dare call Rabbenu Tzvi Yehuda an "extremist," like they would Rabbi Kahane.

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook ztz"l and Rabbi Me'ir Kahane ztz"l hy"d at the Kotel (Western Wall)
 *Rabbi Kahane said that he would never forget Rabbi Ya'akov Filber's shocked face, when Rav Tzvi Yehudah asked him to take their picture together at the Kotel.
Years later, Rabbi Dov Lior and Rabbi Zalman Melamed were barricaded within the beth k'nesseth (synagogue) of K'far Darom, making the last stand in the Jewish control areas of Azza.  The actions of these rabbis spoke louder than words, clearly demonstrating their belief that Torah and Israeli law were not one and the same, and that Torah took precedence over the other.

The previous Bostoner Rebbe ztz"l also cited halakhah, indicating that it was forbidden to give up Azza to the Arabs, contrary to the actions of the Israeli government, led by Ariel Sharon.

Rabbi Avraham Shapira ztz"l, the next Rosh Yeshiva of Merkaz HaRav Kook, after Rabbeinu Tzvi Yehuda, and former Chief Rabbi of Israel, told IDF soldiers that when confronted with choice of throwing Jews out of their homes (in Gaza, 2005), or sitting in jail, one should not only sit in jail, but to take pride in it.  In other words, he sent the message that Torah Law takes precedence over any State decrees which violated the Torah, just like Rabbi Kahane.

Rabbi Kahane also suggested that one of the requirements for being called "rabbi" is having sat in jail on behalf Israel, which he did.  So has Rabbi Yisra'el Ariel shlit"a, head of the Temple Institute, along with several others, many of whom I doubt you have ever heard of, there goals not including fame and notoriety.  Many years later, Rabbi Kahane's son Rabbi Binyamin Kahane hy"d did as well.  I wonder how many of those criticizing Rabbi Kahane have fulfilled this requirement.

So, does Rabbi Me'ir Kahane need defending?  I think not.  Although, it appears that some very unlikely rabbis have already attempted to do so.

*********

*clowns - From Eicha Rabba, among other sources.

"The "clowns of the generation," which our Sages describe are people with a purpose.  In order to nullify the truth, which they cannot accept, they grasp onto certain points and make a joke out of them.  But as time passes, all the ideology and seriousness that once cloaked them becomes undone, since their goal was to undermine the truth in order to continue in their ways of sin and falsehood.

-Rabbi Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane hy"d
on Parashath Toledoth

1 comment:

Daniel Ben-Shmuel said...

Wonderful post. I love it up when you address an issue that frustrates me immensely. You have an uncanny ability to tackle a difficult subject and flesh it out in all its intricacies. Shabbat Shalom!

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