A Jewish State Pt. 2: The Jewish Mission

Humanity is called, in Judaism, the "sons of Noah," for it was the flood that destroyed all the rest of the descendants of the first man, Adam. And that flood came as awesome punishment to teach man that which is among the greatest of all lessons:

There is no purpose for the world except that it do "good," except that it follow G-d's will. Totally in opposition to those who see the end of life as the worst of all possible nightmares. For Judaism there is not the slightest meaning to having a world except that it follow "good." The worst of all nightmares for the Jew is a world that rejects G-d and His will, for the doing of "good" is more important by far than life itself. Life, the world, has no purpose at all, no value, if one swerves from the purpose for which it was created, and that is why the Almighty destroyed a world with a flood and swept away the creations of His own hand. To engrave on our hearts the lesson that more important than life is living that life in the proper way. The doing of good, keeping from evil, is the eternal challenge in the world. There is a perpetual battle between good and evil and, in that sense, between G-d and the people who defy Him and commit evil. And thus the rabbis proclaim: "As long as the wicked rule in the world, the Almighty, so to speak, does not sit on His throne. And when does He sit on His throne? As it says: 'And the redeemers shall go up to Mount Zion to judge the mountain of Esau, and the kingdom shall be that of the L-rd'" (Obadiah 1) (Yalkut Shimoni, Psalms 47).

How totally different this concept of the world from that of the secular, gentilized Jew, rooted in that materialism and self-centeredness that is the precise opposite of Divine will and law!

And that is why Judaism, in such total contrast to the liberal and permissive West, cleaves to the concepts of punishment for evil, as over and over again the Bible cries out:
"And thou shalt eradicate evil from thy midst," and the rabbis explain: "And thou shall eradicate THE DOERS OF EVIL from Israel" (Sifrei, R'ey 86).

"All Israel shall hear and fear and shall not continue to do such wickedness among you." The world is not a game, a plaything. G-d made a world for good, and when there is evil within it, that destroys and pollutes and defies G-d's creation. There is no place in this world for evil. There is no coexistence with it. Good and evil must be made separate, and, indeed, the very first act of the Almighty was separation: The separation of light and darkness since, in the words of the commentator Rashi: "G-d saw that it was not good that the two serve together." Unlike liberal Man who so wants and needs a befogging, clouding, confusion of values so that he may be permitted a maximum of freedom, of personal anarchy, Judaism clearly defines good and evil and then goes much further: It forbids and punishes for the committing of that evil.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saieth the L-rd" (Isaiah 55).

And because of this, G-d chose, out of all the peoples on earth, a single one that would be His chosen one. A nation that would be an example of the magnificence of Divine life as practiced in totality by Man. A life that is pure and holy, free from the abominations of ego and materialism and "I." The Jewish people was chosen to accept and observe and bring into fruition the laws of G-d, so as to show how magnificent and wonderful human life can be when Man, in every phase of that life, in the totality of life, bends the knee and cleaves to G-d and the yoke of Heaven. The Jewish people was chosen to be a light unto the nations by practicing fully and exactly the laws of the Almighty, as individuals and as a nation within a specific, isolated state of their own - within the Land of Israel.

What magnificent glory, but what awesome obligation, too! For along with the greatness and the privilege came a life far more difficult and demanding than that of any other of the sons of Noah. To be pure and holy and elevated is wonderful, but difficult and exacting. Judaism is not the plaything, the fraud, of Reform and Conservatism. It is not a "religion" created by Garment Center man to fit the client. G-d is not made in the image of man. G-d exists as the Creator, as the One who rules history and who is not a Santa Claus figure, perpetually smiling and doling out gifts to little children. We are not little children but adults who are expected to live a certain way - the good way - and if not, to be punished for our refusal. There is sin and punishment just as there is goodness and reward. It may be unnerving to most Jews, unsettling and uncomfortable. It may, indeed, be frightening and unacceptable. No matter. It is true, and Jewish destiny on both a personal and national level is based on that scale of reward and punishment.

"If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments and do them... you shall dwell in safety in your land and I will give peace in the land."

The G-d of Israel, in His deep love for His people and the world, gives them an opportunity for a wonderful life, for a life that makes them great and elevated and holy, a life that is good for them. "And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the L-rd THAT IT MAY BE GOOD FOR THEE..." (Deuteronomy 6).

But it is more than an opportunity for magnificence. It is a demand, an obligation. It is an ultimatum, and there is no escaping it.
"The Almighty wished to purify and benefit Israel, therefore He gave them Torah and many commandments." What a magnificent gift, indeed! On the one hand the degrading, bestial, animalistic life of wallowing in the mud of cheap materialism and ego and selfishness and violence and pettiness, the utter waste of a life that passes all too quickly, the kind of society that we see daily in the West; and on the other, the life of greatness and holiness, of spiritual elevation, of reality and permanence, of Torah. A magnificent gift that the Jew must accept, is not permitted to reject.

"And if you shall despise My statutes, and if your soul abhor my judgments so that you will not do all My commandments, so as to violate My covenant... I will set My face against you and you shall be slain before your enemies."

"And if you shall not listen to the voice of the L-rd, thy G-d, to observe and to do all His commandments and statutes that I command you this day, then shall all these curses come upon you."

The people of Israel, given a Torah, given a land in which they were ordered to create a Torah society, were given the choice of observing or not, the choice of life or death:

"See, I have set before you this day, life and good, death and evil... therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."

There is no escape from it. It does not matter that one agrees or not, finds it "acceptable" or not. The Almighty has chosen us, and our destiny is fixed and clear. That is why a Jewish government in a Jewish State is established and precisely fixed by
halakha, by Jewish law, and commanded to see to it that the Jewish nation within the Jewish State will, indeed, obey the will of G-d. For our own sake!

By Rabbi Meir Kahane
1987
Uncomfortable Questions For Comfortable Jews
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