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Ask the Rabbi
News & Call-In with Tamar Yonah
Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
I am deeply hurt by accusations that I violate the sacred commandment, “Love thy fellow Jew as thyself,” which appears in this week’s Torah portion.
Imagine someone who has never been to a hospital . If he were to wander into an operating suite and see a brain transplant in progress, he would react in horror, seeing the brain surgeon take an electric saw and slice open the patient’s skull like a watermelon. “What a cruel monster,” he would think, not understanding the brain surgeon was struggling to save the patient’s life.
In the same way, I am like a brain surgeon trying to save the lives of Jews who have been so severely brainwashed by exile existence that their thinking processes have become completely short-circuited. To all those who accuse me of being hateful and uncaring, the very opposite is the case. Out of my passionate love for all Jews, including brain damaged Jews in the galut, I am doing my best, with the skills that the Almighty has given me, to help them.
Unfortunately, sugar-coated aspirin and a moist compress won’t help someone who is suffering from severe mental disorder. In cases like this, immediate and massive intervention is needed. Sometimes an entire brain transplant may be called for.
I am not speaking about the average Diaspora Jew who doesn’t know better, because he was never taught that a Jew’s real place is in Israel, and because the darkness and spiritual pollution of the exile prevents him from grasping this clear message from a simple, straightforward reading of the Torah. I am speaking about a Diaspora Jew who is so mentally deranged that he tries to discourage others from coming to live in Israel. It isn’t enough to speak nicely to them, and show them pretty pictures of Israel, and to point out the endless Torah verses telling the Jewish People to live in Israel. These few, extreme cases have so internalized their gentile surroundings, cultures, and upbringing, they think like the goyim. Instead of a “Yiddisha kup,” they have a “goyisha kup.” Instead of thinking like Moshe Rabeinu, they think like Ben Franklin. Instead of thinking like David HaMelech, they think like Che Guevera. Instead of following the Jewish Sages, they follow themselves. For this, an electric saw is needed to crack through their skulls.
Of course, because of their dysfunction, they don’t even recognize that they have a problem. In their minds, all of the Jews who are dedicating their lives to the rebuilding of the Jewish People in Israel are wrong, and they, in their glass castles in Vienna and Japan are right. To their distorted way of thinking, even G-d was wrong in establishing the State of Israel as He did – they would have done it differently. And just as a patient with severe schizophrenia sees his psychiatrist as an enemy, they misinterpret my attempts to help them for hate.
But just as a psychiatrist doesn’t give up when his patient lashes out at him, because the doctor knows better, I won’t give up trying to help these lost, tormented souls. I know better because I was once severely brain damaged myself, when I was in Los Angeles, a stranger in a strange land, with the head of a goy. With the grace of the Almighty, I underwent a successful brain transplant myself. Today, I have a new head. When I see the Star of David flying in the wind, my heart beats faster. When I hear “Jerusalem of Gold,” I cry. When Yom Haazmaut arrives, I rush off with my children to see the fireworks and feel a surge of religious pride as Israeli fighter bombers roar overhead, spelling out the number 60. Just thinking about it gives me goose pimples. Any Jew who has a negative, cynical reaction to these things is mentally deranged. But I love him all the same.