Friday, June 25, 2010

Some Thoughts On The Fast Of The Fourth Month (17 Tammuz)

Erev Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Balaq 5770
משנה תענית
ד,ו חמישה דברים אירעו את אבותינו בשבעה עשר בתמוז, וחמישה בתשעה באב. בשבעה עשר בתמוז--נשתברו הלוחות, ובטל התמיד, והובקעה העיר, ושרף אפסטמוס את התורה, והעמיד צלם בהיכל...;

Mishnah Ta'anith
4:6 "Five things happened to our 'forefathers' on 17 b'Tammuz, and five on 9 b'Av. On 17 b'Tammuz--the tablets were broken, and the Tamid [offering] ceased, and the city [of Jerusalem] was breached, and Apastimos burned the Torah [scroll], and he set up an image (statue) in the Temple....."
A few years ago, I wrote about how significant I thought it was that 234 years ago, the Fast of the Fourth Month fell on July 4. It was in 1776, the day the United States of America declared its independence from England, its birthday as it were.

In a nutshell, I wrote that the founding of the U. S. A. was bad for the Jews. Even with the countless times the U. S. provided a haven for Jews, and to a degree, religious freedom, I concluded that the U. S. A. was not a good place for us,...spiritually. Eretz Yisra'el is the homeland of Am Yisra'el, not the U. S.

Recently, I mentioned this coinciding of dates to the friend of a friend. This friend of a friend happens to be a Chabbad Messianic, and you all must know by now how I feel about them!

Nevertheless, I mentioned this coinciding of dates specifically to him, as he is one of these Jews who seems to know everything there is about the Hebrew calendar. Mention any Hebrew date to him, and he will tell you whose death or birth or brith milah, or other significant event occurred on that date, whether it be from Biblical times, Modern times, or any date in between.

His take on the birth of the U. S. falling on the Fast of the Fourth Month was that it does not indicate an inherent "bad thing for the Jews." Rather, we Jews made it a bad thing for ourselves, and in particular, through assimilation.

His argument was based on the lack of free choice amongst the goyim. The goyim are just "doing their job," so to speak, and everything is dependent upon Jews and Torah observance.

I don't have much argument with this. I am all for us Jews accepting responsibility for our actions, and moving as far away as possible from our communal mentality of victimization.

However, Jews1 who not only take on customs, names, clothing, and mentality of the goyim, and actually believe that these are Jewish or at least compatible with being Jewish are one thing. But Jews who go above and beyond the call of assimilation by accepting a foreign land as their own?

This Chabbabnik leaves this out of his argument. Even though Chabbadniks are referred to in Me'ah She'arim, for example, as being "more Zionist than the Zionists," they are still quick to make excuses for Jews to continue to reside outside of Eretz Yisra'el.

Hey, wait a minute! So do many Mamlakhtim (undying State-loyalists, yet "Zionist")!

At least Chabbad has a consistent hashqafah to rely upon, and thus, are at least being consistent.

But, I digress....

To emphasize the severity of the rejection of our Promised Homeland, I will mention some words of HaZa"L: A Jew living outside of Israel is likened to one who is doing avodah zarah (foreign worship) or to one who is God-less. Certainly, then, Jews who have the power to come and reside in Israel, yet do not, are rejecting a fundamental principle of Jewish identity, and are some of the guiltiest of assimilation.

The Yossi Beilins2 of the world go as far as proclaiming to us that we no longer need a Jewish State. After all, things are so good for us throughout the world! Yeah, right! Just look at England, France, Belgium, and Germany! Of course, what does Yossi Beilin care about the spiritual effects of Galuth (exile), let alone Torah? Or perhaps his belief is that the ideal state of the Jewish People IS to be fully assimilated amongst the goyim. Ya' think?

The Avraham Burgs3 of the world tell us to acquire a foreign passport. He got out while he could. He now proudly resides in his eternal Homeland of Am Yisra'el,...France. Don't let the kippah fool you! He is not, I repeat, not living the Homeland of the Jewish People!

Money, cars, a high standard of living, they have really got you hooked, don't they?

Can't handle it in Israel?

Three things are acquired through suffering: Torah, Eretz Yisra'el, and Ha'Olam Ha Ba (Bereshit Rabba).

It's not supposed to be a picnic. We are supposed to work at it, to show that we are worthy. It is only through such an investment that we truly learn to care for not only this Land of ours, but for the truly Holy gift of HaQadosh Barukh Hu, that it truly is.


1I leave out the super-assimilated Jews here, the intermarried, the ones who do not care to investigate their heritage, deny or are ashamed of it. It's mostly not their fault; as condescending as it may seem, they just don't know any better.

2Yossi Beilin (Meretz-Yachad) is a former minister in the Israeli government, and self-identified "post-Zionist."

3Avraham Burg is a kippah-wearing (still?), former Speaker of the K'nesseth (Labor), as well as former head of the Jewish Agency. His father Yosef was a leader in the National Religious Party [NRP], famous for leaving Torah out, when asked about his vision for the state of Israel. Thus, how "religious" could the NRP have been?


Anonymous said...

B"H - Well said. See also

Jewzilla said...

Damn good blog post, fine sir. You come down quite hard on the lazy Jews who can't seem to get out of galuth--but I think that is entirely necessary and appropriate.


Esser Agaroth said...

Thanks to both of you!

Anonymous said...

Only one problem with your analysis, the vote to declare the US was actually held on July 2,1776. It was read to the public on July 4.So the US was truly created 2 days before the fast of Av.

You may be angry at what you see as the assimilation of the Jewish American community but it has nothing to do with the disasters associated with the holiday of tisha b'Av.