Wednesday, July 17, 2013

chush makchish

The Netziv in Matos-Masei writes that the greater the level of kedusha, the greater the yetzer ha’ra’s efforts to undermine it.  Why does the Torah warn so many times against worshipping idolatry in Eretz Yisrael?  Because Eretz Yisrael is the place of greatest holiness; therefore, it is subject to the greatest temptation to go the opposite way.

The development of Torah she’ba’al peh, says the Netziv, reached its peak during the time period of the Second Temple.  Therefore, the yetzer ha’ra made its presence known davka in evil speech, gossip, and slander which was spread by and effected even talmidei chachamim.  This is the sinas chinam that led to the churban.
I guess when you combine the kedusha of Eretz Yisrael with the kedusha of limud haTorah you get a double-whammy dose of yetzer ha’ra (is that maybe why it says "Nachamu, Nachamu..." 2x?), which may be why the discourse over the current issues in Eretz Yisrael has degenerated to the point of farce.

B’shlama the usual so called “frum” websites, which in my view are worse for your neshoma that even the NY Times because you know it is acheinu Bnei Yisrael writing every dig and every silly comment, neicha that there are those commentators who use the most warped sevaros and “thinking” to defend any statement, no matter how repulsive and outrageous, given that it came out of the mouth of someone that people identify as a gadol.  With enough “lomdus” you can justify any conclusion.  Everyone knows that most of the chatter is stam am ha’aratzus. 

But yesterday I was sitting at another Tisha b’Av kinus (not the one from the previous post) and I had to check with my wife (who was also there) afterwards to make sure I heard one of the speakers straight.  This chashuv Rosh Yeshiva quoted R’ Elchanan’s Ma’amarim as explaining that anyone who wages war against Torah, as is currently happening in Eretz Yisrael, is following Amalek, as that is Amalek's agenda.  Maybe he had something else entirely in mind (I am still trying to be dan l'kaf zechus), and I am obviously only paraphrasing here, but coming a few days after another Rav in Eretz Yisrael called anyone who wears a kipa seruga Amalek, one cannot help but draw the connection.  The original comment from earlier in the week has since been “clarified” – it’s not everyone who wears a kipa seruga, it’s just some of those folks – as if somehow that makes it better.  Is this what things have come to?!?!  We are not talking about a shverr Tosfos that you say a sevara from a Koveitz Shiurim to be meyasheiv – we are talking about using R’ Elchanan’s words (and hopefully I am not crossing a line myself in saying that there is no shortage of kanu’us in the Koveitz Ma’amarim) as a means of labeling members of Klal Yisrael as equal to our greatest enemies.  And so what (as some have suggested) if it is meant as a derasha and not as a provocation to commit genocide – do the words used derech derush have no meaning anymore?

Maybe I should say baruch Hashem?  Yes, baruch Hashem that we in the Five Towns, not always thought of as the most yeshivishe community, have now risen to a level of ruchniyus that allows us to call other Jews “Amalek.”  An achievement indeed. 

Again, hopefully this particular Rosh Yeshiva meant something else entirely.  At least let me pretend that he did.  But why play even close to the third rail?  Why are we speaking of Amalek when discussing these issues?  Why should we even have to debate who said what and what they meant?

In my not humble opinion, if you are reading R’ Elchanan’s Mamamarim for insight into current events, you miss the picture entirely.  Eretz Yisrael of 2013 is not the Eretz Yisrael of 80 or 90 years ago.  Religious Zionism is a reality that has proven itself.  It may have been possible to speculate back then that a synthesis of Zionism with a Torah outlook would fail, but today, chush makchish, anyone with eyes can see that it has not happened.  I remember once reading on R’ Aviner’s blog that a relative of his learning in a right-wing yeshiva came to Merkaz haRav for a visit and was shocked to see guys learning in the beis medrash at 1:00AM (and he would have seen the same in Gush, in KBY, and in so many other places.)  His whole life he had been told that the dati-leumi don’t have Torah, and here his eyes told him otherwise.  Chush makchish – it is very hard to maintain the illusion that religious Zionism is ma’aseh satan, that its adherents are Amalek, when the talmidei chachamim, the committed  bnei Torah produced by the system, prove otherwise.  Similarly, you can scream about breaches of tniyus all day long, but when you see a Youtube video of people throwing rocks are little girls who are wearing skirts and blouses that would pass muster in any of our Beis Ya’akovs in the US, then chush makchish.  Is a person supposed to ignore his eyes and mind and say “afilu omrim al yemin she’hu smol,” that it’s all a false illusion designed to mislead? 

I have no idea how things ultimately will play out in Eretz Yisrael.  The journey, however, is making for a very bumpy ride. 

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