By Moshe Burt
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.
Parshat Nitzavim begins, "Atem Nitzavim HaYom...Today you are standing before Hashem, your L-rd...You are thus being brought into the covenant of Hashem, your Lord, and [accepting] the dread oath that He is making with you today. He has established you as his nation, so that He will be a G'd to you..." (Devarim, Chapter 29, verses 9-12)
In the renewal of Hashem's covenant with B'nai Yisrael, the concept of responsibility for one another is introduced where every Jew is obligated to help others to cleave to Hashem, to observe the Torah and to restrain them from violating Halacha. Artscroll refers to the Or HaChaim who noted "...that Hashem would not hold them responsible for the sins that had been done secretly, but that they would be liable for transgressions committed openly."
Artscroll then states, "This is essential to the world view of the Jew, for it explains why one may not be apathetic to the shortcomings of others and why public desecrations of the Torah are the concern of every Jew of good conscience." (Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash, Parsha Nitzavim, page 1086)
And in Torah Gems, a Maharal is brought on "Atem Nitzavim HaYom Kulchem L'fnai Hashem..." which teaches that "Moshe assembled them before G'd on the day of his death, to enter them into the covenant (Rashi). Only...on the threshold of Eretz Yisrael were they able to enter into the covenant, because it is Eretz Yisrael which unites the Jewish people." (Torah Gems, Aharon Yaakov Greenberg, Parsha Nitzavim, page 297)
It would seem that this concept of collective responsibility for each other is not restricted to the Asseret HaDiv'rot (Ten Commandments), refraining from loshen hora or pointing out to our fellow Jew the position of his Tefillin Shel Rosh when need be. It would seem that this concept of collective responsibility extends to such Halachot as Pidyan Sh'vu'im, redeeming our Jewish brethren held captive, whether it by their home nation, by a foreign nation or by an enemy nation.
And collective responsibility extends to asserting our inalienable, divinely-given legacy, our right and inheritance of Eretz Yisrael.
But Jewish non-action, political cheshbonot (considerations) and equivocation have resulted in Jonathan Pollard's continued incarceration in prison in the US for the "crime" of having a Yiddishe Neshama (Jewish soul) and for having acted to save tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands or millions of Jewish Lives.
The collective non-action, equivocation and abrogation of responsibility by the government of Israel and by American Jews constitutes a transgression committed so openly as to be an obvious Chillul Hashem (disgracing G-d's name) in the eyes of the gentile nations. It is at least the equivalent of Jewish collective self-doubt about their divine inheritance of The Land of Israel and the resultant gezeirah rah (evil decree) in which thousands of Jews were expelled from their homes, communities and synagogues in Gush Katif and Samaria and made destitute by a hard-hearted government of Israel. It is the same self-doubt which fosters the dagger of the gezeira rah now aimed squarely at the Shalhevet neighborhood in Hevron for immediately after the Chaggim.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, the Shalhevet neighborhood is the former Arab Shuk (market) that the IDF shut down in the 1990s after daily attacks on Jews by Arabs in the Shuk. The vacant buildings gradually were occupied by young Jewish families, and this neighborhood was later named for Shalhevet Pass, the baby gunned downed down by Arab snipers.
The collective non-action, equivocation and abrogation of responsibility is exemplified by the recent expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif makes a mockery of Jewish values and casts doubt, in eyes of the nations, upon the divine validity of Jewish connection with Eretz Yisrael. In fact these two open and obvious transgressions of expulsion of Jews from their homes and roots on Jewish land and failure to perform the mitzvah of Pidyan Sh'vu'im seem intertwined, each Chillul Hashem seems to feed on and reinforce the other in a strange, myopic and perhaps supernatural way.
A vulnerable and already brain-washed segment of Israel's population, as well as American Jews, has long been victimized by both the anti-Torah big-lie of Israel's hard-hearted political leadership as well as by that false American demon of "the Council of Presidents" called "dual loyalties."
Pollard's continued incarceration, now nearly 21 years, is due to the same perennial myopic, "whatever gets you through the night..." mind-set of many who similarly viewed or perceived "separation" from Gush Katif as part of the "only" solution to a so-called demographic problem as well as an offering to Avodah Zora (idol worship) Washington in order to maintain the expensive Israeli addiction to American Foreign Aid. Somehow, from generation to generation, the demographic bomb never seems to materialize and has recently been shown authoritatively to have been overstated by at least one third.
However, there are substantially increasing numbers of our Jewish brethren cleaving to Torah, to the ways of Hashem, doing Chesed for those of our brethren in need and who have Jonathan Pollard constantly in their prayers and thoughts. For that reason, the "Old General", despite his "victory" at the Likud Central Committee in keeping the contest for head of Likud at it's originally scheduled date in 2006, is locked way over his head in a struggle which he can't possibly win or politically survive ultimately. And as Sharon's house of cards of the various rationales for the expulsion collapse one-by-one in a heap, so too will the dominoes of lies and tall, dark, evil political intrigue and cover-up keeping Jonathan Pollard behind bars be revealed.
As the Yom HaDin approaches, our brethren, the refugee families from Gush Katif as well as our dear brother Jonathan Pollard, are central in our thoughts, prayers, chased and actions.
B'Ezrat Hashem, may we soon know the day when Torah is the law of the land, when we pray thanks to Hashem for the Ge?ula Shlaima and for the restoration of our brethren, expelled by the evil regime from Gush Katif and the Samaria towns to bigger and more beautiful homes and neighborhoods, synagogues and yeshivot in Gush Katif and Samaria and only happiness and success for all time. May this abominable period of history called hitnatkut be as a bad dream. And may we soon see freedom and long life in Eretz Yisrael for Jonathan Pollard.
May we see the 'Yom Hashem Al Kol HaGoyim," and may we be zocha the Moshiach, the Ge'ula Shlaima, "Yom Hashem V'Kol HaGoyim", the Ultimate Redemption, bimheyra b'yameinu, speedily in our time", immediately--Achshav, Chik-chak, Miyad, Etmol!!!.