Spaghetti-Spined Politicians

Twenty seven years ago, on Shushan Purim of 1977, the Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke out very strongly against forming any partnership with a government that goes against the decisions of the rabbis, against the Torah - essentially, against G-d.

Aliza Karp

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[The anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe, is this Tuesday, 3 Tammuz 5764 (June 22, 2004). - ed. note]

Twenty seven years ago, on Shushan Purim of 1977, the Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke out very strongly against forming any partnership with a government that goes against the decisions of the rabbis, against the Torah - essentially, against G-d.

The Rebbe spoke about religious members of the government who would not give up their seats when Halacha, Jewish law, ruled against them remaining. He said that the non-religious members were spitting in the faces of the religious members, while the religious members rationalized the insults by saying it was raining.

But then the Rebbe said that the example of spit is a mild expression; the actuality is much lower.

The Rebbe expounded that the religious members fool themselves if they think they can have an influence. Their government 'partners' tell them nothing and do not even invite them to meetings. Being part of such a government is a self-abasement and a path to destroying the Jewish nation in the name of religion.

In today's situation, concerning the Gaza/Shomron expulsion plan, the government does not have to listen to the religious members, the remaining National Religious Party ministers, at all. If they did not leave after the Nation Union ministers were fired, nor did they leave when the expulsion plan was passed, it is clear to all that they will stay in the government under all circumstances. And therefore, the government need not listen to them, not one iota. They will have no influence by remaining in the government.

It is clear that they want their seats at all costs; a total sell-out. If their alleged reason to stay in the government is to keep the Labor party out, then the powers that be know they can do what they want without regard to the wishes of the religious public ? and for sure, nothing to strengthen Judea, Samaria and Gaza ? the government can operate with certainty that the religious rubber stamps will be at their desks. Yes, sir! At your service.

A spokesman for the NRP member Sha'ul Yahalom claimed that as long as they keep Labor out of the government, the expulsion plan can be stopped. Who is going to stop it? Ariel Sharon has shown he stops at nothing. Not when President Bush tells him to wait until after the US elections, not when his own party votes against him and for sure not when some replaceable NRP members express dissent. Does the NRP think they can ? again ? threaten to leave the government, and this time Sharon will get frightened and scurry to undo all his hard work?

The remaining NRP ministers do not have the power to stop the expulsion, not even to delay it.

The remaining NRP members are claiming that their being in the government prevents a greater disaster, even accusing the ones who did have the integrity to resign of being the renegades. But they do not know for sure that in the wake of their resignation the Labor party would join. They do not know how the Shinui party would react to Labor joining. They do not know how Likud would react to Labor joining. They do not know the full positive effect of a strong opposition that could be formed if they would quit the government.

What they do know for sure is that they are participating in a government that is planning to expel Jews from their homes in the Jewish homeland, and replace the productive, healthy Jewish communities with terrorist strongholds. This is what they know for sure. And this is what they are choosing.

Or do they know? Have they visited the blossoming communities in Gush Katif, to see, smell and feel their beauty, and to experience their significance? And have they delved into the slimy details of the Hamas terror network and studied the horrific acts perpetrated by Hamas against innocent Jews? Or does their desire to stay in their seats remove any quest to know the truth and act with integrity?

And when there are complaints about what the government is implementing, all one has to do is look and see that there are religious people in the government, so therefore, what is being done must be kosher. Yes, religious people sitting in the government is like giving it a kosher certification. The plan to evict the Jews of Gush Katif and the Shomron is being done in the name of religion.

In his discourse mentioned above, the Rebbe uses the term "rochmonus gedola", a great pity. He says these religious members of the government are extending the Golus, the Exile. They think they are living through the beginning stages of Geula, Redemption, but in truth, they are pushing away the Redemption.

The Rebbe explains that when a Jew puts on Tefilin and then sits in such a government, he is not ushering in the beginning of the Redemption by elevating the government, not if the government is acting against the Kingdom of Heaven. Rather, the religious member is degrading the Tefilin, by selling out his Judaism in order to have a seat in the government, and he is spreading darkness, G-d forbid.

"How," the Rebbe asks, "can one trust someone who is ready to sell everything for the sake of his chair?"

So who can we trust? How do we move forward?

I am now going to leap from quoting the Rebbe to quoting Moshe Saperstein. Mainly because if a Rebbe tells you to trust in Hashem, you might discount it as something Rebbes are known to say. But when Moshe Saperstein, a resident of N'vei Dekalim, a victim of war and terror and a folk hero, writes about where to turn, he puts a different spin on it.

"We have finally been forced to cast off our hopes in spaghetti-spined politicians, or the desk-bound whores who make up much of the apparatus of the religious parties. We come to understand the Hebrew saying, 'There is no one on whom we can rely, except our Father in Heaven.'

"Relying on Him, we will win out. How this will come to pass is unknown, certainly by me. What means will be used, what sacrifices will be demanded, is hidden from me. But we will win and it will clearly be His doing. Not that I expect many to see His hand at work. Luck, they will say. But luck will have had nothing to do with it.

"At this point some of you, including some of my dearest friends, are letting out deep sighs and shaking your heads, 'Poor Moshe. He's lost it. He finally cracked under the strain.'"

Moshe is right. He is not saying that a strong West wind will blow all night and lift all our enemies into the sea. He is saying that we have to do our part and Hashem will do his. We do not have to worry about who to trust and what will be. We have to follow the Torah and do as many mitzvahs as we can. We have to trust that Hashem will orchestrate the right scenario, at the right place, in the right time.

We have to work with the system, support a righteous government, or bring down an evil regime. Even if this means toppling one government after another, eventually, the politicians will get the message. We have to vote for a political party whose leaders have fear of heaven, not love of power. But our loyalty and our trust do not belong in the system or with our leaders. Our loyalty and our trust are in the true Ruler. We have learned the hard way, but we have learned.