The Religious Jew

The "religious" Jew? Nay, say rather the Orthodox practitioner of Jewish ritual whose sojourn in an Exile two millennia old has corrupted and perverted the most basic of real Jewish values. Bearded and piously payotic; or cleanshaven and woolly skullcapped, they join with all the others in the ecumenical worship of the Golden Calf of our times: The Golden Exile.

Israel? Go up to the Land of Israel? Go up to the Land to which they turn in prayer three times daily - meticulously; never missing a ritual? Go up to the Land concerning which they shed hot tears every Tisha B'Av, anniversary of the national day of national mourning? Actually uproot themselves from the Exile and go dwell in the Zion and Jerusalem they piously seek every year, "next year?"

But the chandeliers and the expensive
shaitel wig and the quicksand that is the good life are far more powerful than commandments.

"For you are to pass over the Jordan to go in to possess the Land which the L-rd your G-d giveth you, and you shall possess it and dwell therein." (Deuteronomy 11)

"And they scorned the desirable land." (Psalms 106)

And so they invent all kinds of rationales, all cloaked in a tallit that is all blue. "Israel is also Exile..." "This is not the beginning of the redemption, merely the footsteps of the Messiah..."

Do they understand what they speak? Can one look at a state that rises miraculously after two millennia and watch an ingathering of exiles from a hundred lands and not see in this the beginning of the great vision and redemption? Regardless of the sins and abominations in the land?

No, that which we do not wish to do, we do not. But first, we must stamp the swine with the
halachic label of kosher...

How they hallow the profane! How they sanctify the desecration! How they magnify and exalt the Exile which - in its very being - represents the degradation and profaning  of the Holy Name!

�And when they came into the nations, whither they came, they profaned My Holy Name, in that the nations said concerning them: These are the people of the L-rd and they are driven forth from the land! But I had pity for My Holy Name which the House of Israel profaned among the nations whither they came. Therefore say unto the House of Israel: Thus saith the L-rd, G-d: I do this not for your sake O House of Israel, but for My Holy Name� And I will sanctify My great Name which hath been profaned among the nations which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am the L-rd, saith the L-rd, G-d, WHEN I SHALL BE SANCTIFIED THROUGH YOU BEFORE THEIR EYES. For I will take you from among the nations and gather you out of all the countries and will bring you into your own land.�
(Ezekiel 36)

The Exile is the personification of Jewish weakness, defeat, flight, persecution, torture, humiliation, genocide, holocaust, degradation. And because of this, it must - in the eyes of the gentiles - personify the weakness, so to speak, of the G-d of the Jews. To the enemy of the Jew, Jewish defeat is proof of the inability of the G-d of Israel to give His people strength and triumph and glory. Such a G-d is either impotent or non-existent�

�Not for our sake, not for our sake but unto Thy Name give glory� Why shall the nations say: 'Where is G-d?'� (Psalms 115)

�Oh L-rd, what shall I say, after Israel hath turned their backs before their enemies� and what wilt Thou do for Thy great Name?�
(Joshua 7)

�Israel�s degradation is the desecration of the Name of the L-rd.� (The Biblical commentator Rashi, Ezekiel 39:7)

The humiliation will come to an end. It comes to an end. The scriptures of the Almighty fairly thunder the Divine message: The L-rd, G-d of Israel, is stirring, the end of strength and power, of the strength and power and real presence of the G-d of Israel. He does, indeed, exist! Awesomely!
�The L-rd reigneth; let the nations tremble!� (Psalms 99)

The era of hallowed sanctification has begun;
it cannot coexist with degradation and humiliation. A Jewish state cannot live side by side with the Exile. The latter is doomed; it is a Divine decree. The Exile will be destroyed in a holocaust of horror!

�As I live, saith the L-rd, G-d, surely with a mighty hand and 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 hand, and with an outstretched arm and fury poured out.� (Ezekiel 20)

�Fury poured out.� Heaven help us!

But nothing moves the "religious" either. They have been inordinately twisted and corrupted by twenty centuries of abnormality. One simply cannot live as a minority for twenty centuries,
two thousand years, supping at others� tables, pleading for a smile, a tolerant act, love, and remain normal. One cannot live in a stranger's home and remain stable. A minority must, of necessity, inherit insecurities, complexes, fear, instability. A minority must, of necessity, be exposed to and influenced by the majority culture that insidiously enters, corrupts, changes, lays its permanent hand on Judaism, so that the Jew, without realizing it, assumes the gentile value and assumes, too, that it is Jewish.

And no one can remain normal without a state, a nation, a concept of nationhood and statehood. The religion that was totally intertwined with land and earth and nation and power, becomes a pale, vapid set of rituals. When roots have lost their hold on the land, they slowly die of malnutrition.

And so, they discover a new Zion and a New Jerusalem in the filth and impurity of the Exile. They immerse themselves in a ritualarium even as they wave high the impure creeping creature. They become Americans or Englishmen or Frenchmen or Canadians of Mosaic piety, deeply pious piety. They stand firmly on the barricades to insure that their meat shall be more than merely kosher; that the gorgeous wig shall cover the rather plain woman as she wears her very expensive dress that overshadows her neighbor, but which properly covers the elbow as she installs her chandelier; that they shall live in the comfort of the swine and not have to risk the sufferings of the pure in Eretz Yisrael. What matter that the rabbis decree that
"a man shall rather live in the Land of Israel in a city with a majority of heathens rather than in the Exile in a city with a majority of Jews." What matter that the rabbis proclaim that "one who lives outside of Israel worships idols in purity..."? What matter that they intone that one who lives outside the land "is as one who has no G-d"? One knows how to explain away rabbinical injunctions when the spirit so desires...

And the Land of Israel remains for them �exile�. And nothing touches their conscience. And there is no shame, no shame.

�And they scorned the desirable land and believed not His word.� (Psalms 106)

�And the handlers of the Law knew me not.� (Jeremiah 2) �These are the Sanhedrin.� (Tana Dvei Eliyahu)

�What is the reason that the righteous shall not receive their full reward in the World to Come? It is because of the tininess that was amongst them.� (Sotah 48) �Tininess of faith.� (Rashi)

�You have shamed me, King of Khazars� For the Divine presence was prepared to descend upon the world as in the beginning, had all the Jews agreed to return to the Land with a willing heart. But only some returned and their leaders remained in Babylon desiring the Exile and their labor in order not to be separated from their homes and affairs.� (Yehuda Halevi, Sefer Hakuzari)

�There is not one in a thousand who is aroused to settle in the Land to dwell there� No one seeks its love� and does not expect to see it. It appears to us as we sit in comfort outside the Land that we have already found another Land of Israel and Jerusalem, similar to it�� (Yakov Emden, Prayerbook introduction)

And so the Jew sits. Sits with all the others, the strangers, the foreigners, the gentiles, from whom he is bid to separate himself. He sits and sups and drinks and laughs and enjoys. And sees nothing.

�Ephraim, he mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is become a cake not turned. Strangers have devoured his strength and he knoweth it not.� (Hosea 7)

The Jew waits. He waits to be a victim, twice over.

By Rabbi Meir Kahane
Forty Years
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