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Mixed Messages From Rav Yigal

By Batya Medad
11/18/2009, 12:00 AM

I hope that you've been reading my other blogs, Shiloh Musings and me-ander.  I post to them daily, including picture posts, which you may enjoy.
In a few weeks we will celebrate the Holiday of Chanukah, or Miracles of how the "small" defeated the "mighty."

Mixed Messages From Rav Yigal

HaRav Yigal Kaminetzky, Rabbi of Gush Katif, was in Shiloh for Shabbat.  He gave a shiur/talk to the entire yishuv, men, women, youth, anyone who was willing to give up their Shabbat afternoon rest.  Since I always go to a Women's Torah Class Shabbat noon, I had no problems with the timing.  I just had to wait until my husband returned home to be with my father; that made me a few minutes late.

When I walked in, Rav Yigal was talking about faith and the greatness of what his people, the Gush Katif DP's are experiencing.  I was upset, turned off.  This was too consistent with the reports I'd been reading and hearing of how he had worked with the government before and immediately after Disengagement.  I did not want to hear about the great opportunities for Kiddush Hashem etc.  I have no patience to hear about the "bright side" of the gerush, the expulsion from Gush Katif by the Israeli Government which turned loyal Israeli citizens into homeless, unemployed "evictees."

It took all my self-control to stay rooted to my seat and not make a fuss.  I'm glad I did it, because after that awful saccerine speech, Rav Yigal said much better things, things I could relate to, agree with or found particularly interesting. Just a couple of his points:

  • The families that stayed to the end and protested have done better, both emotionally and financially.  On the whole, his statistics, it was good for the parents and youth to defend their homes and very crucial for the children to see their parents doing so.
  • The time that those families were housed in hotels at full-board were less of a financial hardship than for the families which went immediately to Nitzan (the carravilla site) where they had to support themselves from day one.
  • The government's (Sela's) cruelty was unprecedented, and it continues to be inexplicable.
  • The Arabs had never demanded Gush Katif.  They had never lived there, and according to him, present agricultural attempts by the Arabs have not been successful.

Personally, I think that the official protest movement was not as determined to stop Disengagement as it should have been.  Rav Yigal was part of that movement.  Our soldiers in the IDF should have refused to participate.  It's interesting that davka now there is less fear to protest and pay the price.  This isn't all that surprising, considering that Israelis reelected the Labor Party after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the "mechdal," disasterous mismanagement and misjudgement of our defense and Military Intelligence.  But the following elections in 1977 brought Menachem Begin's Likud (or was it still GaHaL) into the government for the first time.

It does take a while for things to sink in.  There's the perspecitve of time, and many people need that to make changes in their thoughts and actions.  Change of any sort is not easy for most people, and very few are natural risk-takers.  G-d willing, the Jewish People will understand what we must really do.

Chodesh Kislev Tov.  In a few weeks we will celebrate the Holiday of Chanukah, or Miracles of how the "small" defeated the "mighty."