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Down with the Hooligans

By Tzvi Fishman
12/8/2008, 12:00 AM

I have question regarding the proper attitude toward Medinat Yisrael, in light of the Oslo Agreement, the disengagement from Gush Katif, Amona, and the expulsion from the Peace House in Hevron.

I know that Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook taught that the statehood of Israel is holy, but for a long time now the government in Israel has been turning against Jews who don't conform to its secular agenda. Certainly, surrendering pieces of the land of Israel to the enemy isn’t holy behavior. It seems to me that by looking at the State of Israel as holy, this paralyzes us from taking the necessary steps to bring about the drastic changes needed to put things back on their proper Torah course.

Answer:

As we have written in many blogs, there is a positive commandment of the Torah for the Jewish People to conquer and dwell in the Land of Israel. This commandment is repeated time and again in the Torah. The settlement of the Land of Israel is the foundation for all of the Torah. As the Ramban explains, the commandments were given to be performed in the Land of Israel. The Torah can only be observed in all of its fullness in the Land of Israel. So important is this mitzvah, our Sages have said that it is equal in weight to all of the commandments in the Torah.

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook explained that conquering and dwelling in the Land of Israel means establishing a national state to impose Jewish sovereignty over the land. We are commanded to establish a Jewish State in the Land of Israel. Thus, Medinat Yisrael is holy in its being the vehicle which enables the Jewish People to perform this all-encompassing mitzvah.

But here a distinction must be made. Yes, Jewish statehood over the Land of Israel is a holy mitzvah. Nevertheless, governments may arise within the State that flagrantly transgress the Torah. While these governments may be corrupt and work in opposition to the true goals of the Jewish People as set down by Hashem in the Torah, they do not nullify the holiness of the State, which continues to enable the Jewish People to dwell in the Land of Israel.

A few examples may help shed light on his important distinction. Let’s say that a man erects a succah. On the second day of the holiday of Succot, hooligans show up and take over his succah. They kick him out and open a gambling hall in the succah. Now even though the succah is being used for evil purposes, gamblers can still sit in it and recite the blessing over dwelling in a succah. The succah retains its holiness even though it is being used in a sinful way.

Similarly, when the Greeks took over the Temple in Jerusalem and set up idols in the sanctuary, the Temple did not lose its holy standing. As soon as the Maccabees regained control, Temple services could continue as before.

In a similar way, the fact that hooligans have taken over the political leadership in Israel does not nullify the intrinsic holiness of the Jewish State. It is the political leaders and their governments who are corrupt. Not the State. For instance, if all of the religious in Israel would unite into one large political party that would attract a large block of voters, and if all of the faithful readers of INN would make aliyah, the tables could be overturned in swift fashion, and a Torah government could be established to replace the band of hooligans who have presently hijacked the State.

For our part, we must do all we can to bring about this turnaround by opposing the hooligans at every turn, without giving in to weariness or despair. This isn’t a simple task for the faithful readers of INN have a hundred excuses for not making aliyah, and the religious parties have a hundred excuses for not joining together. In the meantime, the hooligans continue to damage and destroy. But just like the Hellenists of old, their downfall will come, and Hashem’s promise to the Jewish People will be fulfilled, “For Torah will go forth from Zion and the word of G-d from Jerusalem.”