On Iraq And The Gulf Crisis Pt. 4: Two Paths

And for the Jews of the exile, the ones who sincerely worry for us in Israel: That there is a crisis in the Middle East is undeniable. And that an Israel that does not go back to G-d faces terrible times is of course true. But the Jews of Israel can never be exiled again. There can be no destruction of the Jewish state; at worst - great suffering that can be stopped by a return to G-d and having the kind of faith in Him that leads Jews to do all the things that will anger the world: annex the territories, drive out the Arabs, strike at Iraq without asking American permission and without bowing to her wishes, take over the Temple Mount.

But for the Jews of the United States and the rest of the Exile - there is no way out. For them, who worry about Israel, let the message be: "Heal thyselves! Worry about your fate, for yours is by far the more dangerous situation. The Exile - which was never more than a curse and punishment for Jewish sins, never more than a forbidden spiritual graveyard for the Jew at a time when a Jewish homeland existed - is ending. The Jew there has no choice and the explosive upsurge of Jew-hatred throughout the world in recent months is part of the clear final period of the final redemption. The Jew has no choice, and though he willfully blinds himself to truth and though he stubbornly insists on remaining in the graveyard, the voice of the Prophet rings out:

"As I live� surely with an outstretched arm and with fury poured out will I be King over you; and I will bring you out from the peoples� with a mighty arm and with fury poured out� And I will cause you to pass under the rod� and I will purge out from among you the rebels and them that transgress against Me�"

That the secular and the denier-rabbis understand nothing is not in the least surprising, but one sadly watches and hears scholars and spiritual leaders of great stature who fail to speak out on the lessons of this era and this immediate turn of history.

And so the two Chief Rabbis tell Jews, "The Guardian of Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers and no doubt the present tensions in the Gulf will only turn out to be good for the Jews."

And the Rebbe of Lubavitch issued a soothing statement stating that there is no concern for the security of Israel since one should "ask any five-year old child who is learning Chumash what the Torah states explicitly - that
'Israel is a land which the Lord your G-d cares for; the eyes of the Almighty are always upon it.'" He adds that there is nothing to fear because all these events are merely preparation for the coming of the Messiah.

And I sit sadly and say: Learned rabbis, I have not merited understanding your words. Of course, the Lord neither sleeps nor slumbers, but that did not prevent Him from turning His face from Israel throughout the centuries and allowing tragedy to come upon them for their sins. And it did not prevent King David from crying out (Tehilim 44):
"Awake, why do You sleep, O Lord? Arouse Yourself, cast not off forever." And (ibid 78): "Then the Lord awoke as one asleep�" And the fact that a five-year old child knows that "Israel is a land which the Lord, your G-d, cares for," means he also knows that that did not prevent Him, innumerable times, from allowing the enemies of Israel to bring tragedy to it.

Of course, the events in the Middle East are the footsteps of the Messiah and a long way into the beginning of the Redemption, but what kind of redemption? That which will come swiftly because we merit it, or that which will be accompanied by awful tragedies because we sin and deny and trample the Torah and desecrate G-d's Name? We allow the Temple Mount to remain in the hands of the cursed Ishmaelites even as Jews are barred - not for religious reasons but out of a disgusting fear of offending Moslem sensitivities; we refuse not only to annex the territories of Eretz Yisrael, Judea-Samaria-Gaza, but also allow free and unlimited Jewish settlement anywhere in those areas; an
"intifada", deep into its third year, sees not only Jews stoned and firebombed but terrified to travel in large parts of Eretz Yisrael, including parts of the State of Israel, even as the army, de facto, creates a "Palestine" by pulling out of large parts of the territories, thus giving them over to the un-tender mercies of the "shabab" which flies PLO flags from every mosque; Jews are murdered in cold blood in Jerusalem; Jewish cars and buses are stoned and torched in Jerusalem; Jews are afraid to walk in the Old City of Jerusalem; and the Hillul Hashem, the desecration of G-d's Name, goes on with secular leaders deceiving us and themselves and religious leaders interested only in the funds for their institutions. And the name of G-d, the honor of G-d - what will be with it? And if the Rabbis cry out (Avot 6), "Woe unto us because of the shame of Torah which is not studied," what shall we say for the shame and humiliation and degradation of Torah when G-d Himself and His Torah prohibition against Hillul Hashem are ignored and trampled upon?

For this there can be no forgiveness except through pain and tragedy, G-d forbid; the travails, the terrible travails of the Messiah. The travails that need not be if only we would be the Jews of authenticity and courage and yoke of Heaven. The travails whose beginnings we see in the entire saga that is unfolding today in the Middle East.

That is what the rabbis should be saying rather than soothing us with platitudes and easy answers that are so reminiscent, may Heaven help us, of the days of the Prophets who cried out (Jeremiah 8):
"And they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people lightly, saying: 'Peace, peace' when there is no peace." And (ibid, 4): "We looked for peace but no good came, and for a long time of healing, and behold - terror." For there can be no simple and simplistic and easy and soothing peace when all the above - not to mention the desecration of the Sabbath and the hallowed mitzvot of Judaism and the intrusion of foreign cultures and ideas, into the minds and hearts of Jews that turn them into gentilized and Hellenized practitioners of dead-again Jews, rage through the Land. The Almighty is not a subject for our manipulations. We do not create Him in our image, a jolly deity who give us a never-ending happy hour and life. He laid down a rule of reward and punishment for our conduct and only the denier and knave create a new "god" who ignores and overlooks sin and who, indeed, was created in the image of Jefferson and Hyannisport. And the Rabbis intone (Bava Kama 50): "He who says that the Almighty overlooks sin - may his life be overlooked." There can be never be a waiver of sin, without repentance and renunciation of it. There can never be the painless redemption for the sake of His Holy Name as long as there is daily and open desecration of it. "There is no peace, saith the Lord, concerning the wicked" (Isaiah 48). And there is no way out of that basic dictum of Judaism.

A foundation of Judaism is the concept of
"hashgacha pratit", the personal direction of G-d of the world and of the affairs of individuals and nations. And that is why one does not read a newspaper - one studies it. Events do not just happen - they are allowed to occur or they are compelled to occur because the Almighty directs the world. And in the affairs of the nations, the rise and fall of nations is directly connected to its effect on the Jewish people as part of their reward or punishment. Nations and rulers that rise and prosper are not their own masters. The concept of "Assyria, the staff of My wrath," lays down the dictum that the empires that rise to the top are nothing more than a staff, a dry stick, in the hand of the Almighty. When Israel merits punishment the Almighty allows the gentile staff to strike. When not, the staff breaks and splinters.

Thus with the events of our times. When the Shah of Iran was toppled, one of the two things might have occurred. Either the United States and its then President, Jimmy Carter, would have reasoned that if Iran of the Shah, the linchpin of American foreign policy, the major power of the region with the most massive and expensive army, could collapse so quickly and easily and completely, then it was clear that the Moslem was a volatile and uncertain and unreliable ally; that only Israel could be depended upon.

Or. Or Carter could have reasoned that with Iran's collapse it was more imperative than ever to solidify alliances with the "moderate" Arab states, such as Kuwait, Saudi and the other Gulf nations.

Had Israel and the Jews been worthy and deserving of it through their conduct and through their deep faith in G-d and willingness to do that which He wants without fear of the gentile, surely the first scenario would have been played out. But we were not, and the second became the reality. The Carter staff struck in the wrong direction.

Similarly today. Iraq, undergoing a brutal and bloody eight-year war with Iran might have come out of it bloody, battered, weary, despondent. And, indeed, that is exactly what would have occurred had Jews merited it by their own actions. Or Iraq could have emerged from that war with a tough, experienced, veteran army and a people propagandized by its "victory" over Iran. And that is what happened, because Jews did not merit it. And so, we pay for our sins and our blindness. We pay for our fear of the gentiles and our lack of faith in the Almighty. And the battle of Gog draws nearer.

When the United Nations Security Council unanimously, with the United States and the Soviets and China and all the rest joining in, voted to stop Iraq, Yossef Tekoah, former Israeli chief delegate to the United Nations, stated with joy and satisfaction that "there had never been such unanimity" before. Foolish, blind little Hellenist. Unable to understand the words of the Rabbis,
"the gathering together of the wicked is bad for them and bad for the world." Unable, in his secularized mind, captured by the foreign culture that grips him, to see that the unity of the world will, some day, be aimed against Israel and that the only positive thing about the United Nations since its birth was its weakness and impotency. Now, even that is changing and Israel is just down the path of its agenda.

"And though shalt come from thy place out of the uttermost parts of the north, thou and many people with thee, all of them riding upon mighty horses, a great company and a great army; and thou shalt come against My People Israel, as a cloud to cover the land"
(Ezekiel 38). And: "I will turn thee about and lead thee on, and will cause thee to come up from the uttermost parts of the north; and I will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel." (ibid, 39)

The Rabbis tell us that Gog will rise up against Israel in order to do war against the G-d of Israel. The ultimate Hillul Hashem. And, indeed, until the Jew understands that the war against Ishmael and ultimately the world, is a war of Judaism, of the G-d of Israel, against the nations and their religions and beliefs, a war to proclaim the G-d of Israel as King, as the One and only G-d, we will never understand any of the events that are taking place around us.

By Rabbi Meir Kahane
September - October, 1990
Kahane Magazine
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