Sunday, May 07, 2006

Can I Have the "Hate Your Neighbor as Yourself" and Pass the "Love your Enemy!"

He is an “older Jew,” coming from a pre-State of Israel world, and like all Jews, lives in a post-Land of Israel world. He is one of the Jewry’s responses to and products of thousands of years of Exile, as we all are. I say this as an Orthodox Jew myself; he is a Chassidic Jew from Europe awaiting Messianic Redemption of the Land of Israel, and in 1948 we got (some of) the actual land back, but the Redemption was not there. Therefore, to some degree, his response is that of sharp honesty, a view of the bigger picture, that much is to be improved when it comes to Jewry, independent of the fact that we have established a (relatively) sovereign state in some of the borders of the land that belongs to us. In his mind, he is making the sharp contrast between the Land of Israel as the place that G-d delivered to the Jewish people to live out their lives in accordance with the commandments, and the State of Israel that was a response to the German Holocaust, and even though many religious Jews came there with the waves, there was a right of return, but no religious return. Their central thesis is that Zionism, a modernized (and thoroughly secular) conceptualization in its original form in the late 1800’s, is a bastardization of the real reason to return to the Land, real Torah living, real Judaism. The view is that G-d has not yet decided to return the exiled to their Land, and even though they may perhaps come on their own accord, they must come for reasons of Torah, not for reasons of escaping oppression. To some degree, Israel was erected as a safe haven for Jews to live freely, and there was no other place in the world where this could have been done, but years of the accumulation of other societies’ cultures, philosophies, and ways of life were superimposed on many of those same Jewish people and the State of Israel became a manifestation of those two things; safe haven and internalization of ways of life adopted in Exile. Any sort of awakening will be to begin touching on what it really means to be a Jew, the task of trying to remember what it was like before the thousands of years of Exile in which we’ve been, the fog that has haunted our memory, obstructed our knowledge of self, and is keeping us from the righteous living of the Torah.

But it also ignores the situation at hand and refuses to understand it. The creation of the State of Israel in 1948 was no Messianic Redemption, although it was miraculous and definitely implicative of G-d’s Hand behind the scene. It is true that G-d desires effort before perfection, and Israel, the State, seems to be one of those generational tests that the Jews receive; how will we respond to the next fork in the road? Will we take the right path or the wrong path? There has been a mixed response thus far. Other religious Jews, no less devout and committed to the Torah life than others, while understanding the shortcomings of the State notion, see the significance and potentiality of the State of Israel. Large groups of Jews congregating and creating their lives in (some of) the borders of the Land of Israel, reviving the language into spoken form (what did our sovereign ancestors speak on the soil of the Land?), and having at least some sovereignty, although making many concessions to the neighbors. The scenario is not as good as it should be and seems like a page right out of history, but the ability for growth is there, in the face of institutionalized secularism. We see that it is imperfect, but we cannot ignore the signs, we do not have the luxury to do so; we are less than halfway there and it is time for the people to speak – we want what is ours, we want to live right, we want to say what will we do and what we will not do – why is it acceptable to speak up for any ideal except the religious ideal? What makes any one ideal inherently better than another, or than the religious ideal then? Why can we not see that a wise return to proper living will provide equilibrium for us, give us our compass, and orientate us to our path? Why have we rejected such notions as the very existence of a compass; if we do not believe that we are lost then we do not need to be found – but our primal nature as human beings screams it, “We are lost!” We fear being like our neighbors in their religious extremism, and fear being like our own religious extremists. However, the cognitive dissonance here is astounding, for those secular Israeli’s that spurn the religious right, those who dream of a Greater Israel, completely and thoroughly ignore the religious kaleidoscope, that is, the segments of honest-to-Torah and G-d that radically reject the State. It is acceptable to reject the State in the most vociferous of forms as long as you are an atheist or an agnostic, but the secular Torah-spurning Israeli Jew that hates his country’s policies will never align himself with his “religious counterpart” because he just can’t stand how he looks. What is the difference between a secular anti-Israel Jew and a religious anti-Israel Jew, and if “anti-Israelism” is so the motivating factor of these two ideologies, why cannot they find room for alignment? The strangest truth is that each finds it more viable to align themselves with anti-Israel Palestinian groups than anti-Israel Jewish groups; each rather don the red, black, white, and green and stand at a pro-Palestinian rally than with each other. Each rather align with the enemy than with the friend, of whom the enemy they each see as a tool in our destruction (like Babylon or Assyria), a mark that we are giving ourselves to defeatism, that we embrace our enemies and spurn our friends; we love the enemy and hate our neighbors as ourselves.

Note: what the heck?

These Jews are real juicy nuggets for Palestinians, affirmations of all the propaganda they’ve been screaming for thirty eight years, but they have no clue as to the internal workings of the Jewish mind. This works to affirm the Muslim concept of triumphalism; the belief that Islam has replaced Judaism, which for the Muslim is the basis of such an allegiance. However, in this picture, we see a man standing in the name of what he deems to be authentic Judaism and a man that Muslims can’t even privately support as an authentic Muslim.

* I'll add some pictures later.

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