A Jewish State Pt. 4: Democracy?

Jewish history is replete with examples of the national punishment of the Jews. By their refusal to be chosen and special, they do away with any reason for a world, for Creation; they thus bring the world itself to the brink of destruction. We will never lend our hand to a "freedom" and democracy that are the freedom and democratic right to destruction of the individual Jew, his state and the world. For that, we feel no guilt. Not the slightest. We must be honest; above all, we must be honest. We must be honest, no matter how painful it is and no matter how it shakes our personal illusions and lives. If we are not interested in Judaism, if it is not the ruler of our lives, that is one thing; but, in that case, let no one raise it as a weapon in the battle against "Kahanism." But neither can one use a fraudulent Judaism as an intellectual weapon unless one is intellectually dishonest. Judaism is either authentic Judaism or it is not, and if one chooses Reform or Conservatism or any other of the "wings" that fly on the words of human beings, no matter how "wise," then understand that this is not Judaism but the personal views of people who set their own view and their own beliefs as their G-d and their "Judaism;" know that it is fraud.

Judaism is Divine and it is G-d's literal word or it is worthless. It
is Divine! It is G-d's word! And He gave us not only laws concerning our personal lives but those that establish and control and direct the way a Jewish State and government must be. And the basic truth, no matter how bitter for Jews raised and influenced by the non-Jewish cultures of the West, is that Judaism does not postulate a state based on democracy in western form. Consider: If it is true that Judaism is a Divine Law given the Jew at Sinai by the Almighty, is it really logical to assume that the state which is sanctioned by Judaism should sanction, too, a system of government under which every four years or so the people shall decide whether to observe the Law of G-d? Would any religious code sanction such a political system? Obviously not, and clearly Judaism is not Western democracy as we know it.

The Talmud clearly states the Jewish concept of government. During the days of the First Holy Temple, as King Hezekiah reigned in Judea, the mighty Assyrian empire ruled the Middle East. Its armies poured over the area, conquering nations and states, never defeated. The northern Jewish kingdom of Israel fell to the mighty Assyrians, and they ravaged the southern kingdom of Judea, conquering every city and town except the capital, Jerusalem. The powerful army, led by Sanacherib, laid siege to the city and delivered an ultimatum to the Jews standing behind the city's walls: Surrender and live, be taken to another land to live lives of quiet comfort, or fight - and be exterminated. Within the city a bitter debate broke out, with King Hezekiah placing his faith in the Almighty, calling for resistance and refusal to surrender. A second camp, however, led by the scholar and scribe Shevna, called for surrender and peace. And thus says the Talmud (Sanhendrin 26a):
"Shevna spoke before 130,000 people and Hezekiah before 110,000. Hezekiah (seeing that the majority was with Shevna) was fearful and said: 'Can it be, G-d forbid, that the Almighty wishes to go after the majority and since the majority wishes to surrender, we, too, should agree to surrender?' The prophet [Isaiah] then came and said: 'Say you not 'a confederation' to what the people are calling a confederation (Isaiah 8). It is a confederation of the wicked and A CONFEDERATION OF THE WICKED IS NOT COUNTED.'" The votes and the majority of those who do not follow G-d's law and will are not "counted," are not considered in making a national Jewish decision.

Of course, there is a concept of democracy within Judaism. But that is
within a context of Jewish law, when the majority does not go against Judaism. Certainly the Sanhendrin ruled on the basis of the majority decision of its members and certainly the vote for people who are committed to Judaism and Jewish policies is based on the principle of democracy. But democracy can never be used to vote against Torah and Jewish concepts and Jewish values and Jewish laws. Democracy must bow before the truth of Judaism. That is logical and that is obvious if one is speaking about a Judaism based on Divine law. And that is logical and obvious to any Jew who is honest and open.

Democracy is indeed the only political system for people and societies that are not privy to absolute truth. Then, with no other choice, one must accept democracy lest the state fall into anarchy or secular dictatorship. But if Judaism is Divine truth and if the Jewish State is to be based on this Divine truth, it is simply the height of absurdity and madness to speak of a democratic vote by the people as to whether to abide by that law or not. Democracy is not Judaism; no one has the "right" to defy G-d's law. But, alas, there is a tragic "but." The pity is - the tragedy is - that most Jews today do not believe that Judaism is Divine and therefore do not accept it as the foundation of the state. Know, however, that punishment will be forthcoming against a people that refuses to create the kind of society that G-d demands. Tragedy.

By Rabbi Meir Kahane
1987
Uncomfortable Questions For Comfortable Jews
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