A Jewish State Pt. 1: The Purpose Of Man

A Jewish State, and the State of Jews that exists today in Israel, stand in stupendous opposition to each other in terms of the very character of the state, its values, its laws and its institutions. Judaism, if it is Divine and G-d's word, simply cannot and does not countenance the secular, liberal, democratic state that the west postulates and that the gentilized Jewish leaders of Israel and the Exile swear by.

Can one begin to imagine that Judaism or any rational belief can accept with equanimity and approval the kind of secular state that the west produces today? Can anyone begin to believe that G-d or Judaism can look with acceptance on the kind of state that Israel is today? What possible social redemption is there in a state and society and people for whom pleasure, total freedom, materialism, and the race for hedonism are at the center of their lives? What conceivable greatness is there in a state that is wracked with drugs and drink and sex and violence and hate and boredom and flight from responsibility and flight from the state itself? What kind of state is it whose basic tenet is a democracy and liberty guaranteed to allow Man to do evil and destroy himself? This is a positive value? For this we dreamed and hoped? This is the culmination of a chosen people? This makes us proud of Israel, the Jewish state within the Holy Land? This is what makes it important and vital to be a Jew and die for it, if need be?

It is far more than a question of the Arabs and non-Jews of Israel. The ultimate question is, what kind of country shall it be for the Jews who live there? And the answer to that is to know why G-d made the world and what is the role in it of man in general and of the Jew in particular.

The Jewish people and their vessel, the Jewish state, in which they are to create the Torah society of the Almighty, were created by Him in order to bring to fruition His purpose for the world itself. A world that would accept Him as the Divine creator and Omniscient King, that would accept His sovereignty and heavenly yoke, do His will and sing His praises. And this is what will surely be in the end of days:
"And many nations shall go and say: 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the L-rd, to the house of the G-d of Jacob, and He will teach us His ways and we will walk in His paths, for out of Zion shall come forth the law and the word of G-d from Jerusalem'" (Isaiah 2).

The Almighty made the world for "good," an
objective "good" that He created and knows and defines, an objective "good" that he insists the world shall follow. Judaism rejects emphatically a world of "freedom" that is license to a world that insists upon the right to do what it wishes, a world that defines its own path. Man is not free to do that which he wishes; he is free to do that which he must. "Good." He is free in the sense that he can refuse to do that, but let him know that that there is Divine punishment for that refusal. Man is not a creature of accident. He did not suddenly appear. He was created by G-d, with purpose and for a purpose. His obligation is to cleave unto that purpose. And that purpose is the "good" that the Almighty created and gave man as his challenge on earth, in life.

For G-d created man as the most unique, single, specific, special creature of all. Alone of all His Creation, Man has choice, freedom of will. The ability to do good and to do evil. No angel or celestial creature can ever claim glory or reward for doing good, for he cannot do aught but that. And no beast of the field can ever be punished for his "evil" actions since he cannot ever do "good." Both heavenly creature and beast of the field are locked into an existence that precludes choice. Only Man has the power to, the Divine power to choose, to be great, if he but choose to go that way. And herein lies his true greatness. The ability to choose good, though it be terribly difficult. The ability to reject that which is evil, though it be so wonderfully tempting and sweet. That is the greatness of Man, that is his uniqueness, that is why he was created. To choose good, to do good, to appreciate the magnificence of good, and to sing the praises of the One who is the totality of Good. G-d.

Man alone was given the opportunity to climb the higher mountain of Creation. His is the challenge to take the ego that is such an integral and deliberate part of him, to take the "I" that is the source of all that is selfish and egotistical and coveting and self-centered and sanctify it through limiting it, through self-discipline and self-sacrifice, through denial of that which he could freely take if he were unfettered.

That is the essence of "good" that G-d gave and obligated Man to accept. And he defined it specifically in the form of seven basic laws for all humankind:

1. Prohibition of idolatry;
2. Prohibition against blasphemy;
3. Prohibition against murder;
4. Prohibition against immorality;
5. Prohibition against robbery;
6. The commandment to set up laws and courts for the proper, just working of society; and,
7. Prohibition against the eating of a mutilated animal.

These seven basic laws take wild, primitive man, the one who is totally free, the one born in supreme, sublime anarchy, the idol of Rousseau, the one who, if he were to follow his natural bent would be worse by far than the beast of the field as he adds cruelty to his evil actions, and raises him up by the greatness of free will. To bend the knee and bow the head and accept the Divine yoke as one does "good" unto humanity in the way that the Almighty commanded, and then appreciate and hold Him in awe and love Him in a totality of body and soul. That is the purpose of Man.

By Rabbi Meir Kahane
Uncomfortable Questions For Comfortable Jews
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