Skip to comments.The Real Crisis Facing Jewry
Posted on 07/18/2012 3:42:46 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator
The recently highlighted crisis of Zionism is in fact a quandary afflicting Jewry and no new phenomenon. Rather, it has two sources, each centuries old.
One source is the exile and dispersion of a majority of the Jewish people from their native land of Israel by Emperor Hadrian in the year 135 CE, and the deep-seated and long-lasting consequences on the Jewish psyche over the course of the ensuing 1,813 years; the other source is about 200 years old, a gradual religious erosion which begins with the radical Reform movement of Samuel Holdheim in Germany and David Einhorn in the U.S., continues with Conservative and Reconstructionist Judaism in America, and culminates in mass Jewish assimilation throughout the Western world in contemporary times.
Expelled and wandering over many centuries, Jews evolved from an eastern, Oriental people embedded in its homeland to a nomadic mass settling amid the western vistas of Europe and ultimately the Occident of the Americas. While ties to Israel were never severed, the collective recollection of the failed Bar Kochba revolt and subsequent messianic pretenders caused many even among Jewrys leadership to believe that the foretold ingathering of exiles required the coming of the true Messiah and nothing less.
Despite the early political Zionism of such farsighted rabbis as Yehudah Alkalai, Zvi Hirsch Kalischer, and Shmuel Mohilever, other rabbinic leaders eschewed political Zionism. Had more Jews been influenced by their leaders to forsake European and Muslim lands for what was then Ottoman Palestine, the number of casualties in the Holocaust and Arab pogroms would have been significantly lower.
Still, an overemphasis has been placed on political Zionism inside and outside of Jewry: the pragmatic manifestation of Zionism is less than 200 years old. The original Zionism the millennia-old spiritual, psychological, and emotional yearning of Diaspora Jews to return to the land of Israel is itself only one aspect of Judaism; to dwell on political Zionism, therefore, is to abstract an aspect of an aspect of Judaism as if it equates to Judaism as a whole.
When Jewish and Israeli leaders speak of why the Jewish people belong in Israel, they err when they emphasize political Zionism or the Holocaust rather than our religious, historical, and cultural identity. Whether or not a Herzl or a Hitler had ever lived, the people and land of Israel would still have belonged to one another.
Notably, the two sources of the Judaic crisis prolonged exile, and secularization of religion exist in parallel to the dual heritage of Jewry: both the land of Israel and the Torah form the Hebraic inheritance. One was not meant to be fulfilled without the other.
This leads us to the second source of the crisis: the attenuation of religious observance. Modern Jews especially North American Jews have a predilection for dispensing with religious components of ideas they find otherwise useful. Most notably, the concept of tikkun olam has been co-opted ad infinitum by well-meaning liberal, non-Orthodox Jews for purposes of social justice, yet the notion and the very wording derives from the religious phrase to emend the world under the sovereignty of God, the latter part of which is routinely neglected. Similarly, some sentimental non-observant Jews pride themselves on maintaining that they eat kosher style if not actually keeping kosher (akin to being pregnant style rather than pregnant), and some Jews who do not adhere to the norms of Orthodoxy still claim with satisfaction to be Modern Orthodox.
Likewise, when discussing the state of Israel and its declaration of independence, liberal North American Jews underscore the democratic element while downplaying the Jewish element mentioned therein. For them, the state is Jewish by virtue of its Jewish inhabitants; the state is Jewish the same way they are automatically. Whether the states collective character, morals, ethics, values, and principles are traditionally Jewish is of little interest to them, because it is of little interest to them as individuals who are either irreligious or part of the diluted modern-era movements for which the foundational laws of kashrut and Shabbat are not binding, scripture is creatively reinterpreted in light of secular humanism, the distinctive roles of men and women are overturned, and faith in God obsolete.
Thus, it is inconceivable that most modern North American Jews numbering around 7 million would hold any attachment to the state of Israel if as assimilated persons they never held any special attachment to the land of Israel. It is fatuous to imagine they would care about dividing Jerusalem when they have not daily longed and prayed for the holy city as did their predecessors. It is far-fetched to believe they would think twice about ceding Shiloh, Beit El, Jericho, Hebron, and Bethlehem without knowing how much these seminal sites meant to their ancestors, and without being able to readily locate these sites on a map. Who mourns what was never valued in the first place?
But pressure North American Jewry to relinquish New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, Miami, Toronto, or Montreal to the indigenous peoples of the Americas, and its resistance is certain to be enormous, despite the fact that these sites never belonged to their forebears.
And so this crisis, the longstanding devolution of historical identity and disintegration of religious integrity among Jewry, creeps forward with the march of time. The solution to the crisis lies solely in the hands of Judaisms most knowledgeable teachers, sages and scholars, who alone can shepherd the wayward flock back to its spiritual and historical origins.
Brandon Marlon, a Canadian-Israeli playwright and poet, is author of Inspirations of Israel: Poetry for a Land and People and Judean Dreams.
That suicidal fantasy causes good people become deaf, dumb, and blind when the Tyrants among us sacrifice children to the alter of Baal.
I don't understand it, my own Jewish Grandmother would stay on a sinking ship if the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany for those of you not in the know) told her to do so.
Thanks for the ping.
The United States is a wonderful place for Jewish people to live. It has permitted us to prosper, be safe, and adopted us (and we it) as our country.
It is thus a hard place with which to part.
I strongly suspect G-d will make it a terrible and nasty place for Jewish people in His time, causing us to flee to Israel.
Has any Israeli political party had a straightforward platform pledge to demolish the al-Asqa mosque on Temple Mount?
More than anything else, it would be open the argument that it should be demolished. While some parties have taken a gradualist approach, I wonder if any have just come out and promised to do this?
It is thus a hard place with which to part.
I strongly suspect G-d will make it a terrible and nasty place for Jewish people in His time, causing us to flee to Israel.
Well Said Jewbacca, with the Homosexualists making inroads in our culture, HaShem's judgement will not be pleasant.
My Mother and Father have already gone back to Israel. Although this was more for their love of the Homeland than fear.
If I join them there. It will be because things have gone to Hell here in the states.
I believe the Talmud states that the nations are not exactingly judged on the Seven Noahide Laws as long as they do not sell human flesh nor allow homosexual ‘marriages’. Nations that allow those things do not merit existence.
It’s gonna get bad here for everybody.
Welcome to American Reform Jewry. I am a reform Jew but I am a conservative business person. My family arrived in the USA in 1882 and have always be Republicans they were from Germany/Austria. My Mother’s side of the family were more religious Jews from Russia. They came over in the 1880’s also but are liberals. My guess is that Russian Jews are the Liberals and German/Austrian Jews were conservative. Its strange as the German Jews were the ones who started the Reform movement.
Is that the slave trade or (ew!!!) cannibalism?
It’s non-specific. Seems to me that the sale of organs for transplant, or the sale of embryos for research or production of cosmetics, etc., would qualify, as well as the more obvious instances.
The discussion is in Ein Yaakov Sanhedrin.
“Homosexualists making inroads in our culture”
Sadly, they’re on the highway in Israel.
That said, they are a declining population, so given enough time, we will be OK.
Homosexualists making inroads in our culture
Sadly, theyre on the highway in Israel.
The reason for this is that mainstream Zionism has always been a secular nationalist movement, like most of the other nineteenth century nationalist movements (Irish Republicanism is another example). Though secularists at that time would never have dreamed of "gay rights," by rejecting G-d they rejected the reason for their own moral/ethical beliefs.
The identification of Judaism with liberal enlightenment is almost complete now. American Jews have told themselves for over two hundred years that America's enlightenment heritage comes from Mt. Sinai (as if Judaism ever recognized absolute "freedom of religion" in the enlightenment manner!), so naturally the "Jewish state" had to be uber-liberal, uber-western, and uber-Democratic (even if it meant being undemocratic). The early socialist Zionists (though please note the original Zionists were not socialists--merely secular nationalists) associated the Jewish religion with rootlessness, the ghetto, doing nothing but learning all day (no professions), and "alienation from the soil" (a complete list of anti-Semitic stereotypes). In order to go back to the land and once again become a fully functioning population, they theorized, G-d and Torah had to be abandoned. It's too bad none of these people apparently ever read the TaN"aKH, in which a fully religious (in fact Theocratic) religion meshes quite well with the fulness of life activities. Any redneck in a Sunday school could have told them that. Do you realize how utterly ridiculous the statement "Jews can't milk cows until they stop believing in G-d" sounds to anyone who has read the Hebrew Bible?
After the enlightenment the next great tragedy was Churban 'Europa' (the Sho'ah). Somehow instead of a return to HaShem the self-appointed secular "leaders of the Jewish community" instead reacted by internalizing opposition to Nazism as the touchstone of Jewishness. The Nazis were anti-Democratic? Then Judaism is democracy. The Nazis were bigots? Then Judaism is about combating bigotry. The Nazis were nationalists? Then Judaism is internationalism. The Nazis were mean to homosexuals? Then Judaism simply must be about "gay rights."
This internalization of the Nazis as the standard of Judaism is so complete that today the Law of Return in Israel does not use the Halakhic definition of "who is a Jew" but rather (lehavdil!) that of the Nazis, thanks to which Israel is now being inundated with anti-Semitic gentiles!
In fact the ultimate illustration of where today's "official Jewish leadership" believes Jewishness comes from is the fact that most of that leadership advocates the criminalization of denial of the Holocaust. Please do not misunderstand me; I am not (G-d forbid!) advocating for Holocaust deniers. But civilizations only criminalize the denial of their foundational religious beliefs, and the foundational religious belief of today's "official Jewish leadership" is the Holocaust. Abraham may be a myth, Sinai may be a myth, the Beit HaMiqdash in Jerusalem may be a myth, but those are all perfectly legitimate positions to hold. However, if one denies Auschwitz, our whole civilization will crumble because that civilization is built on Auschwitz (what a foundation on which to build a civilization!). The Holocaust taught us that traditional moral positions cannot be tolerated; therefore it is the greatest event in history. If there is no Holocaust, on what do we base our ethics?
Nothing is more Jewish than the Holy Torah, yet the Holy Torah may be attacked over and over and no one will say anything (after all, attacks on the Torah are simply a healthy skepticism towards chrstianity[!]). No one is more Jewish than the Benei Yisra'el who stood at Sinai yet they may be attacked as stone age savages who murdered beautiful "indigenous pipples" and sent all of western civilization into a puritan nightmare; after all, attacks on Benei Yisra'el show a solidarity with Aztecs under attack by the Conquistadores.
The secular "official Jewish leadership" doesn't defend G-d because it doesn't believe in G-d. It believes, lehavdil, in Adolf Hitler (yimach shemo vezikhro!). That is where they get their worldview. That is how they define "Jewishness." And that is why the Israelis can't bring themselves to expel the hostile non-Jewish population of 'Eretz Yisra'el. After all, "Jews don't do things like that" because they were taught not to by the Holocaust.
The Jewish People do not have an official secular leadership. Their only official leadership is the Torah Sages.
It's time the Jewish People stopped thinking of themselves primarily as the people chosen by Hitler (for destruction) and remember that long before that they were chosen (for life) by Melekh Malkhei HaMelakhim, HaQadosh Barukh Hu'.
As an Israeli and a religious Jewish man, I do strongly disagree with your abhorrance of secular Jewish people in Israel.
The joke in Israel is that 50% of Israelis don’t belong to a synagogue, but the synagogue they don’t belong to is Orthodox.
Secular Jewish people, just by living together as Jewish people, start to become Jewish again, and generally (in a generation or so) become observant. I’ve seen it over and over, including in my own home.
Similarly, I don’t have a problem with the Law of Return as it is written. We are permitted to allow guests to live in Israel, and who better to invite that people who are already half-way in our family?
Moreover, while, yes, there is the rare Russian skin head who makes news, overwhelmingly, the young people who are not Jewish religiously, join the IDF, undergo a valid Orthodox Jewish conversion, and are fully Jewish.
Israel, the country, is not the KINGDOM of Israel.
There is no Mosiach ruling Israel today, so we have to elect our leaders the best we can, establish fair courts, and democracy is the way to do that.
Will I welcome a Mosiach King? Sure. But that’s not now.
Maybe next year!
I don't "abhor" secular people in Israel at all, and I share some of your own sentiments (living in 'Eretz HaQodesh being a pull towards holiness, the observant acknowledge only Orthodox Judaism, etc.); although I can't help but wonder why anyone who doesn't believe in G-d would live in such a (thanks to terrorists) dangerous place. My point was 1)to express amazement at how the public image of Judaism has been distorted and secularized over the past few centuries (and especially the last sixty-seventy years), and 2)to express amazement at secular Jews who thought that religious Jews couldn't live a full life outside the European ghetto.
I'm sorry if I sounded harsh, but with all the "Judaism is leftist social justice" garbage out there, I think that is understandable.
3)The Torah Sages always have been, are now, and always will be, the only Official Jewish Leadership. The "alphabet agencies" are not.
“The Torah Sages always have been, are now, and always will be, the only Official Jewish Leadership.”
Sure, but there is no legitimate Sanhedrin in place, just self-appointed folks.
In the mean time, alphabet agencies have to do.
(And besides, there has almost always been a clear distinction between King (government) and Priest in Israel. And for good reason -— the nitty-gritty of government corrupts the priesthood. I would expect that to remain so until the Mosiach can unite the two.)
They would, if they were made up of Torah Sages. But alphabet agencies made up of seculars and members of heretical movements won't cut it and have no business speaking as "the official Jewish leadership."
(And besides, there has almost always been a clear distinction between King (government) and Priest in Israel. And for good reason - the nitty-gritty of government corrupts the priesthood. I would expect that to remain so until the Mosiach can unite the two.)
While it is true that there is a separation of powers in the Torah (king, priesthood, and Sanhedrion), there is no separation of religion and state. All three branches are Theocratic, governed by Divine Law, and answer to HaShem. Separation of religion and state is a thoroughly modern concept, unheard of until the "enlightenment."
PS: I have read that Rabbi 'Eliashev has niftar. May the memory of the righteous be a blessing, and may his soul be bound in the bonds of eternity.