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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

What Jerusalem Reunification Day Means To Me

יום ירושלים תשע"ג
Jerusalem Reunification Day, 5773/2013

Times Of Israel: Not so blue and white: Pondering Jerusalem Day

Yehuda Lapian, May 6, 2013

Despite the fact that I wear a knitted circle on the top of my head, for years Jerusalem day elicited feelings of distaste and aversion in me. But given an unexpected two-hour break from classes last year, I decided to take advantage of my college’s great location on HaNevi’im Street, set aside my cynicism and snobbery, and join the by-now famous “flag parade.” Just be like everyone else.

I found myself walking alongside an enthusiastic 14-year-old boy from Givat Shmuel, thrilled about being in Jerusalem with his Bnei Akiva youth group. “We’re the troop that boosts morale most in Bnei Akiva. Without us it won’t be cheerful here.” Wow, this is one strange boy, I thought. I moved away and joined the parade at the King David Hotel. Ahead of me were dozens of boys and girls of various ages, all of them dressed in blue and white. The flag of Israel (made in China, of course) was everywhere, hundreds of them, it seemed. (cont.)

Esser Agaroth (2¢):
I have to appreciate Yehuda Lapian's honesty, if nothing else. His assessment of the naïveté of certain groups of Jews, the apparent apathy and/or disenfranchisement of others, and the ambivalence and confusion of still others.

The B'nei Akiva denial that anything is in the least bit wrong with their Holy State (...and their education, designed to make them the perfect loyalists, and later, cannon fodder for the Labor Zionist leadership). The Secular "What does the re-unification of Jerusalem mean to ME?" and the Haredi "Hmm...maybe HaShem gave us back the Kotel after all, and He used the Zionists as His tool. Just don't tell the Gedolim that I have always had Zionist friends." These stand out for me loud and clear from Lapian's piece. Whether that was his intent or not, I do not know. I am simply conveying to you what I got from his piece.

I also appreciate his self-awareness, his perceived need to lighten up, and then lightening up, and enjoying himself. After all, Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Reunification Day) IS Yom Tov, a day of celebration, Hallel, and for an increasing number of Jews, the inclusion of al-HaNissim in prayers and birkath hamazon, regardless of our respective moods on this day or our general cynicism.

However, I believe that Lapian misses one crucial point.

Jerusalem is in our hands, because it is HaShem's Will that it is in our hands. Most of Israel is in our hands, because it is HaShem's Will that it is in our hands. And the Torah is the only justification for the Jewish People to have any claim on either.

OK. So, I guess that's two points he misses.

Perhaps his current association with Ya'ir Lapid's Yesh Atid Party is a reflection, or perhaps a result, of the Western (ie. /non-Torah/non-Jewish) perspective with which he comes across. Could it be that Lapian's attitudes, and might I say, cognitive dissonance are reflected in that perspective, and may actually stem from his B'nei Akiva and Israeli religious educational experiences?

Here are a couple of clues, I found in Lapian's piece which I believe suggest this:
"All this leaves me wishing that the Religious Zionist public, of which I am maybe a part and maybe not a part, would grow up and get real. Enough with the excessive nationalism and outdated world-views. You are out of sync with the modern world, I think."
Excessive nationalism? Well, I would certainly agree that B'nei Akiva's "nationalism," if he insists on calling it that, is horribly misguided.

18 "In that day the Lord made a covenant with Avram, saying: 'To your seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.' 19 the Kenite, and the Kenizzite, and the Kadmonite, 20 and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Rephaim, 21 and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Girgashite, and the Jebusite.'" - Genesis 15:18-21
But, "excessive" in my opinion, would be for a Religious Zionist youth group to go (unchaperoned) to Amman, Beruit, or Damascus, to start planting Israeli flags, and to claim these cities for Israel,...before the Melekh HaMashi'ah has arrived, to give the go ahead.

Now, THAT would be excessive.
"Unfortunately, the people in charge of the Western Wall and their attitude towards women remind me every time that there’s nothing Western about the Western Wall."
And why should there be anything in the least bit Western about the Western Wall, save for it being on the western side of the Temple Mount?

What does "being Western" have to do with being Jewish, with the exception of the wisdom you and I and our fellows brought with us to Israel?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Is Western Lapian's euphemism for "progressive" or for his perceived need "to be more like everyone else (ie. the goyim)?"

This is just the result of another one of those qelipoth, which seems to be difficult for him to shed. But, that's OK. We ALL have them. But, does Lapian recognize this as such?

B'nei Akiva, the "Religious Zionist" youth group was the youth group which students of the Merkaz HaRav Kook Yeshivah did not want their children to be a part of. It wasn't "religious" enough. (And, quite frankly, I do not find it "Zionist" enough.) And so, they founded a new Religious Zionist youth group, Ariel.

In addition, more and more independent and semi-independent Talmudei Torah and yeshivoth have been popping up for the same reasons. Some Religious Zionist parents, who did not have that luxury sent their children to Haredi schools, providing them with a strong Zionist hashqafah at home.

Likewise, it was students of the Merkaz HaRav Kook Yeshivah who were the first to block streets in protest of the impending expulsion of almost 10,000 Jews from their homes in Azza (Gaza), and the giveaway of their lands to the Yishma'elite enemy (Arabs).

Rb. Avraham Shapira ztz"l
And it was also their Rosh Yeshivah, Rabbi Avraham Shapira ztz"l who told soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces [IDF] they had to refuse orders which violated the Torah, such as kicking these Jews out of their homes, and participating in the handing over of their lands to the Arabs (mesirah). Not only that, but soldiers should sit in jail, and be proud to sit in jail, rather than violating the Torah.

In other words, unlike B'nei Akiva and the Israeli, religious, public educational system, real (and awake) Religious Zionists may appreciate the State and its army, but do not view the State of Israel and its laws to the be all and end all. Rather, the Torah is the be all and end all.

The Government of the State of Israel makes mistakes; The Holy One, Blessed Be He does not.

So, as far as "growing up and get[ting] real" are concerned, please pardon my ideological idealism. But, I do not see it as ideological idealism. Rather I believe it to be my role as a Jew to participate with the greater Jewish Community's obligation to make Torah the reality in This World.

Part of that Torah reality is Am Yisra'el living in Eretz Yisra'el, not in New York...regardless of the dollar rate. 

יום ירושלים שמח!
Happy Jerusalem Reunification Day!

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