WOULD KUSHNER EAT A HAM SANDWICH ON PASSOVER?

Yonaton Behar,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Yonaton Behar
Yonaton is happily married with 6 children, and 9 grandchildren, and lives in the most amazing Torah community in the world - Har Bracha.

Dear Mr. Kushner and Mr. Greenblatt,

Shalom from the Land of Israel! I hope this letter finds you in good health and spirits!

Sirs, as two God-loving and God-fearing Orthodox Jews, who, out of deep religious conviction would never fathom transgressing the Torah prohibition of eating a ham sandwich on Passover, or a bacon cheeseburger on Yom Kippur, I have no doubt that in your "Deal of the Century" peace plan, you will definitely not transgress these Torah prohibitions either:

1. The Mitzvah of Settling the Land

The mitzvah of settling the Land commands us to conquer the Land of Israel, as it says in the Torah, “And you shall dispossess the inhabitants of the Land and dwell in it, for I have given you the Land to possess it” (Bamidbar, 33:53). It is further written, “For you shall pass over the Jordan to go in and possess the Land which the Lord your God gives you, and you shall possess it and dwell in it” (Devarim, 11:31). As the Ramban has written in his “Supplement to the Sefer HaMitzvot of the Rambam,” Positive Commandment 4, this mitzvah is applicable in all generations. This ruling has been codified in the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 75), and the Pitchei Tshuva has written (ibid, sub-section 6) that all of the poskim have agreed. It has also been explained that the mitzvah of settling the Land even overrides the pikuach nefesh of individuals, for according to the Torah, we are commanded to conquer the Land of Israel, and, as is known, there is no such thing as a war without casualties. From here we learn that in the milchemet mitzvah of conquering and settling the Land, and defending it against enemies who seek to destroy us, the pikuach nefesh of individuals is not taken into consideration (Minchat Chinuch 425). In light of the commandment to conquer Eretz Yisrael, it follows that it is forbidden to surrender parts of the Land once we have placed it under our sovereignty.

  2. Danger to Life 

As explained in the Talmud (Eruvin 45A), and as it is codified in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, 229:6), in every concession to the enemy, even the smallest, there lies great danger. Therefore our Sages instructed to profane the holy Sabbath and endanger lives in order to fight enemies who come to steal straw and hay from communities situated on the border of the Land, for if we concede to them over straw and hay, our factor of deterrence will be damaged, and the enemy will come to conquer the communities themselves and murder their inhabitants. How much more so is it forbidden to surrender entire communities to the enemy!

  3. “They Shall Not Reside Within Your Land

In addition to the general mitzvah of conquering the Land, the Torah commanded: “They shall not reside in your Land” (Shemot, 23:33). The Rambam ruled that when we have the capability, we cannot allow someone who is not considered a ger toshav to reside in our Land (Laws of Idol Worship 10:6). However, the poskim hold differing opinions on who is a ger toshav. Some say that a non-Jew is only considered a ger toshav, and allowed to live in the Land, if he accepted upon himself, in front of a Beit HaDin, to guard the seven Noahide commandments, out of a belief in Hashem, the God of Israel. This holds true only when Israel’s “hand is strong,” meaning that Israel’s moral and military posture is such that it needn’t worry about excessively about world opinion. Other Torah authorities maintain that even if the non-Jew did not explicitly accept upon himself in front of a Jewish court to become a ger toshav, if he doesn’t worship idols and fulfills the seven Noahide commandments, there is no prohibition for him to live in Eretz Yisrael. According to their opinion, decent and righteous Muslims can live in the Land, for their religion is not considered idol worship. However, the Arabs who attack us, as well as their leaders, and the members of the organizations they belong to, certainly are not guarding the seven Noahide commandments, for, by their actions, they deny the God of Israel. In their support and aid to terrorists, they transgress the commandment, “You shall not murder.” And, certainly, they don’t establish a judicial system to try the terrorists in their midst. Consequently, according to both halachic opinions, when Israel has the capability, it is forbidden to allow them to remain in the Land. All the more so, it is forbidden to give them territory in Israel where they can settle more non-Jews who don’t guard the seven Noahide commandments.

    4. “Lo Tichanaym

Another Torah prohibition is “Lo tichanaym” (Devarim, 7:2), and our Sages have explained that it is forbidden to give non-Jews the right to acquire property in the Land of Israel (Avodah Zara 20A). This prohibition is complementary to the prohibition “Lo yeshvu b’artzecha” (“They shall not reside in your land”). The latter applies to Clal Yisrael, regarding the national mitzvah to conquer and settle the Land; and the former applies to each individual Jew – that one should not sell a house or field in Eretz Yisrael to a non-Jew who is not considered a ger toshav. Consequently, it is forbidden to give Arabs who do not scrupulously fulfill the seven Noahide commandments any part or parcel of the Land of Israel.

 5. “Lo Timachare L’tzmetut

It is written in the Torah (Vayikra, 25:23): “The Land shall not be sold permanently.” From this, the Ramban learns, according to the words of our Sages, that it is forbidden to sell any parcel of land in Eretz Yisrael to a non-Jew, for it will not return in the Jubilee year to its original owner (Ramban, Supplement to Sefer HaMitzvot, Negative Commandment 227). All the more so is it forbidden to give away part of the Land inherited from our Forefathers to non-Jews.

  6. Stealing an Individual’s House

No king or government in the world has the right to uproot a Jew from his home in Eretz Yisrael, for God has given the Land to the Nation of Israel, and thus, every Jew has a Divine right and portion in the land. No government has the authority to steal a Jew’s Divinely-inherited Land and uproot him from his house which he lawfully bought or built. Therefore, any agreement which is based on the expulsion of a Jew from his home is forbidden.

Thank you for your time, efforts, and concern for Israel's security, both physical and spiritual.  

With Love of Israel,

Yonaton Behar

Har Bracha

P.S. When the nations of the world pressure Israel to withdraw from parts of the Land which God gave to our Forefathers and to us, our agreement to do so is a Chillul Hashem, a desecration of God, and it is a mitzvah to sanctify God by opposing any coercion against our religion. 

(Halachot are taken from Rabbi Eliezer Melamed's "Peninei Halakha: The Nation and the Land").