Moshe BurtMoshe Burt is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of the Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
This past Sabbath's Torah reading (Parsha) brings to mind the evolution of Israeli political, governmental scene which has brought us to the state of affairs we have faced and continue to face today, including continued governmental tolerance of Arab attacks upon Jews -- near the Kotel and throughout Yehuda and the Shomron (Judea and Samaria) as well as thousands of Hamas/PLO rockets which have rained down upon southern Israel from Gaza, the prohibition of Jews, even MKs, from praying at Har HaBayit (The Temple Mount), of alleged police framing of Jews regarding alleged violence and damage in so-called "Arab areas."
These all show clearly that the politicians, the elitist intelligentsia, and many of the masses still have not learned and internalized the lessons which should have been gleaned after Jew expelled Jew from Gush Katif. Thus, it appears that we have been experiencing a prolonged internal war for the soul of Am Yisrael (the Jewish People) reminiscent of events surrounding the Divinely-sanctioned directive by Moshe (Moses) to send spies (miraglim) into Eretz Yisrael.
The conservative synagogue attended for Rosh Hoshana and Yom Kippur had a practice of bringing in a young JTS (Jewish Theological Seminary) guest rabbi to help and assist the synagogue’s long-time Rabbi who was getting on in years. This particular Yomim Tovim, holiday season, they brought in a young fellow who proceeded to pitch the philosophies of Breira, one of the leftist-agendized predecessors of Shalom Achshav (Peace Now).
These were years before Shalom Achshav emerged and succeeded in snowing and propagandizing thousands of Israelis while sprouting, with the help of European NGOs, numerous different heads and tenacles which connected with leftist, Arabist, anti-Semitic funding sources. And so this young conservative “traditional (sic)” rabbi-to-be proceeded to turn the Torah’s account of the Meraglim (the spies) on its head.
He portrayed the evolution of leftist “ideology”; from Breira, to the Progressives, to Shalom Achshav: of “land for peace (sic)” as a worthy sequel to Yehoshua and Caleiv, who took their lives in their hands to defend Hashem and who urged the people on into Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel.
"And they told him, and they said, we came to the land where You sent us, and it is flowing with milk and honey, and this is its fruit."
"Rashi cites the Sages on this verse that, 'Every falsehood that does not start with some truth will not last.' Unfortunately, today there are many people who mistakenly feel that every truth that is not mixed with some falsehood will not last." (Chayai Hamussar, vol. 1, page 71)
This wet-behind-the-ears so-called rabbi attempted to gain new adherents to the “land-for-peace(sic)” cause by portraying himself and other Breira, Progressive, Shalom Achshav, Noam Chomsky-types as if like Yehoshua and Caleiv -- the minority speaking truth about the Land and, as if life-endangered, “poor, misunderstood” under-dogs.
In fact they were the early version of what would later become a full-blown, well-oiled, mega-funded post-zionist Trojan Horse propaganda machine which would team up with the Arab enemy, the EU and leftists worldwide while steam-rolling and endoctrinating Israel's secular masses — the so-called (by Israelis re: post Six-Day War Youth) “golden youth” and their succeeding generations whose Jewishness and Torah rooting was anything but solid.
"They desire to be free of any ethical or spiritual bonds."
Nachshoni goes on to indicate (Studies in the Weekly Parsha -- Behaaloscha, page 991):
This is what Chazal mean when they interpret the word "free" as free from Mitzvot (Sifre). With their exodus from Egypt they had become physically free, but their souls took on Hashem as their master. Now they wished to sever that bond. That is why the Holy One says: "You have abhorred Hashem, Who is in your midst, and you have wept before Him saying: Why did we leave Egypt" (Bamidbar, Perek 11, posuk 20). They did not explicitly say this, but the Holy One, Who knows man's secret thoughts, knew that they wished to throw off the yoke of Heaven, but masked this with the complaints.
And so, the 10 of the 12 miraglim, seemingly selfish to perpetuate and maintain their little empires, seemingly preyed upon the weakness and vulnerability of the masses of Am Yisrael.
But why would Am Yisrael be such weak, vulnerable and suseptible prey? Nachshoni seems to trace possible roots behind this vulnerability (Studies in the Weekly Parsha -- Behaaloscha, page 995-996):
Chazal say that the controversy over fish was rumblings of immorality; a protest against the laws of matrimony which had become accepted by the community of Israel. The people speak about "meat" and then turn and long for the "fish" that they ate in Egypt; the fish signify licentious desire. And the verse... "crying in families" (Bamidbar, Perek 11, posuk 10) -- should be thought of as "crying about family matters." They complained that the Torah forbade marital unions with relatives they previously had been free to marry (Yoma 75a; Shabbos 130a).
...Israel had been given a marital code at Sinai. Now they wished to be free of that code. Kesav Sofer connects this decline in morals with their earlier demand for meat. They... complained of domestic strife. They went on to develop their argument and claimed that the family quarrels were a result of the marital code; they were married to comparative strangers. Had they been permitted to marry people who were more closely bound to them by ties of blood, the families would be more...united; these quarrels about fish and meat would never have arisen.
Moshe thought that the grumbling was about fish, meat and domestic strife and "it was evil in the eyes of Moshe." But Hashem saw the deeper hidden motives -- they wished to throw off moral restraints -- and "Hashem was very wrathful."
How do such hidden motives and their possible roots seem to relate to what appears as today's war for the Jewish soul??
Through the systematic use of a financially well-greased left-wing print and electronic media and an ever-increasing leftist influence and control over Israel’s educational institutions, as well as financially well-oiled descendents of Shalom Achshav such as "J-Street", the left propagandizes the masses such as to subtly, or not-so-subtly impose it’s will on the masses and attempts to bring the secular masses to serve the avodah zoras, idols, of disdain for Torah, denial of the righteousness of the modern-day return of the Jew to his land, etc.
In the same way that the Jews in Bamidbar reacted to change -- a new code of marital unions which they were unaccustomed to and needed to acclimate themselves to, the leftist media and intelligencia, along with deeply engrained leftist roots in political and governmental institutions seem to have evolved to prey upon vulnerable masses of today's Am Yisrael who, like B'nei Yisrael in Bamidbar, seem not sufficiently knowlegeable and unaccustomed to Halakha -- Jewish law and morality and the eternal Jewish link and connection with Eretz Yisrael.
As a result of this ever-growing, corrosive leftist influence, we see a trend and evolution which has progressed toward such abominations amongst the Am, as the new "civil rights movement" -- equality for and evolvement toward state sanction and sponsorship of same-gender relationships and "marriages" and attempted enticements, subversions and coercions by others to bring the state to hand sovereignty over
Jewish Holy Places to other religions, i.e. Vatican's ambitions to acquire King David's tomb (click here as well).
This young conservative rabbi-wannabe counted on the abject ignorance of American Jews to their history, to their heritage and even to events of contemporary modern days, such as the Entebbe rescue as a means of gaining gullible adherents by default. These were the predecessors of Oslo who blazed their way toward the phenomena of Jew expelling Jew, attempted implementation of "Road Maps" and of leaders being “too tired to fight, too tired to win.”.
"The Midrash Says," by Rabbi Moshe Weissman (Sefer Bamidbar, Parsha Shelach, pages 162-163) discussses the corruption of the spies:
The twelve spies were dispatched on the 29th of Sivan, 2449.
Although they had been tzaddikim, pious, at the time of their appointment, they turned sour as soon as Moshe sent them out. They immediately decided to bring back a derogatory report so as to detain Bnai Yisrael.
What caused the Spies to become corrupted?
They said to each other, "Under Moshe's leadership, we are heads of the people. As soon as we enter Eretz Yisrael, Yehoshua (Joshua) will become the leader. He will then appoint a different cabinet of ministers. Let us therefore detain the people in the wilderness to ensure that we shall not be demoted from our high positions."
They spent the next 40 days planning how to make it plausible that Eretz Yisrael could not be conquered.
In a National Council of Young Israel Parshat HaShevua (June 24, 1995) on our Parsha, Rabbi Dr. Chaim Wakslak cites a preface written by Chasam Sofer in his books of Responsa:
It was because of their leadership positions, intense piety and their acclimation to a miraculous existence that they wanted to avoid the non-spiritual, non-miraculous, somewhat pedestrian existence that awaited them in Eretz Yisrael.
Rabbi Dr. Wakslak goes on to write:
Had the Meraglim... realized that it was incumbent upon B'nai Yisrael to move from a realm of the overtly miraculous that they had enjoyed until then, to the fulfillment of Mitzvot..., they might not have arrogantly decided to resist the Divine plan and Bnei Yisrael might have been spared the punishment that the sin of the Meraglim led to.
In essence, the spies provided the perfect "out", the perfect rationale to sever the bond. As heads of the tribes, the 10 spies, with their ulterior motives: maintainance and perpetuation of their positions, station and empires, their perks and spoils, they covered and perpetuated their own kingdoms.
And so, true to the form which both Nachshoni and Rabbi Dr. Wakslak describe, the disunity, and apparent mutual jealousy and distrust within the religious sectors today, coupled with the leftist, elitist intelligentsia scoffers have fed efforts by successive Israeli governments who sought, seek to divide and conquer, maintain, consolidate and perpetuate their secular kingdom at the expense of the governed and at the expense of Jewish sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael as well as against the advent of a real Jewish leadership. Such a Real Jewish leadership would be in nobody's pocket, would owe no debts to today's political hacks, would make no bargains with hacks who would throw any locality or segment of the governed "under the bus." This Real Jewish Leadership would subserviant only to G-d.
If today's political/governmental leaders only realized and internalized the Eternal Incumbency of G-d, maybe they would realize that they need to step aside in favor of Real Torah-true Jewish leadership which reconnects the Jews with their Divine legacy: Eretz Yisrael..
We live in contemporary times where the earliest vestiges of disunity and disdain for one’s fellow Jews and for our land manifested itself in propaganda displays, such as the convoluted logic of the JTS student noted above, and have evolved into engrained, morally corrupt historical revisionist institutions and media which have lost grasp of who they are and why they or we are here in the first place.
But we, the masses don’t have to accept, support and rally around these contemporary false miraglim who defame our Divine legacy — Eretz Yisrael while endoctrinating and brain-washing successive generations. We must not support a hack "political beltway" whose mindset and actions have their roots in those false miraglim of Bamidbar, and who like them, fear for their modern-day secular empires -- empires which would be lost for all time in an Authentic Jewish Torah-based governance, and for their political perks and spoils above all else.
We long for the attributes of a Moshe Rabbeinu, of a real Jewish leadership, which by its very nature, recognizes the necessity of national unity and the continued building and ingathering of the Jews to modern-day Israel. Such a leadership recognizes that success in Yishuv Eretz Yisrael, settling the Land of Israel, and in conflicts with enemies bent on our destruction are in the Hand of Hashem, but that this depends on our unity and the labor, planning and efforts of our unity.