Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Gaza - Final Solution?


Let me tell you a little bit of my background…

I was born and raised in a country of peculiar history.

Country which lost its independents for long, being taken by several empires over the time.

A nation which survived only thanks to its literature and preservation of its once glorious history. People who were designated to be messiah for the nations by their most important bards, a prophet almost to their natives.

Downtrodden people whose several attempts to regain their independence were crushed in bloody persecutions and oppression.

Then a miracle happened, it was maybe more a right alignment of historical context and lobbying activities of the proponents of this new country than something supernatural; but who can tell me where natural ends and “super” begins.

Already before it happened the troops began to form, later to become a regular army.

The fights happened but with the support from the western governments the country was formed, and its administration formed as well.

A new era began for the once downtrodden nation, the second republic.

Technically democratic country but there were those “others” around. They were there for a long time, but their language and religion were different from ours.

The nation was trying to unify, as the people who formed it grew up in different countries. The obstacle of the “others” around was a thorn in that attempt.

Some proposed their integration, but others opted for separation. The second option prevailed, and the “others” soon became second-class citizens, in the country, in the cities and towns in which they were living for generations.

There was also danger looking from abroad. The countries around were not friendly and from the very beginning, our nation had to fight the wars for independence.

We won and extended our territory. Territory came with more of the “others” and that added to the problem of the enemies from within.

But as all the new nations gained their independence in those times, the phenomenon was not completely unique but rather… I would say common, the nation has built a strong army and its identity around the military forces.

Soldier was the best in the nation, elite units of the army its cream of the cream.

The might of the army was cherished and shown in public.

The media were informing people about the buildup of the army and patriotic books were written and read.

The military parade was in style in those days. So, the army paraded in big and small towns.

Soldiers were carrying their polished weapons, rumbling on the pavement was the shining from oil military heavy equipment in full display for the masses to admire.

And the masses admired the military and its might, its discipline and aligned with its movement’s marching troops. The heroes to be, the man able to defend the land and defeat the enemies.

The military songs were sung by the troops and catchy melodies and phrases were known to the general public. Even the “others” were using those melodies in their circles as the music doesn’t recognize the borders.

The spirit of love for the land was uplifted and willingness to spill the blood for the country for the state for the soil was generated. In fact, it was cultivated to be the highest value of the nation. G-d Himself ascribed this parcel of land to be a homeland.

Periodically, the military parade was a major event in the life of the city or town, an entertainment in the times when mass media were limited to the written word as the radio was not available yet for the masses. It was besides the street performer and traveling theater perhaps only visual entertainment available, in small towns the only entertainment.

You can imagine what kind of impact did it have on the populus, especially boys of all ages.

All of them wanted to be one day like those mostly admired which they were watching now holding their fathers by hands.

For those who preferred integrating of the “others” to the general society, the enlistment of the “others” youth to the army was the greatest toll to achieve it. Several years of strong discipline and straight nationalistic brainwash was granting that integration.

For those who opposed integration, for they saw the very existence of the “others” as the element of disintegration for the nation, they sought all kinds of obstacles in that process and proposed rather mass emigration of the strangers. Voluntary emigration of course, as they considered themselves to be civilized and moral people.

Either way, periodic and quite often military parades were preparatory tools for achieving national goals.

So Janek (Yanek) and Franek were standing on the sidewalk watching the marching soldiers while holding their kids by hand. Just above them on the porches Piotrek and Valenty were watching as well, also with their families.

But “others” were also coming. Moishe with his sons, and Yitschok holding his offspring.

Not comprehending that the parade has the same impact on their kids as it has on the kids of his Polish neighbors.

Yeah! If you still didn’t realize which country I was talking about till now, it was Poland, and if you got a filling that some other place looks like copy and paste…yeah, perhaps it was copied and pasted.

I was born much later but lived with the people who told me about life in previous generations.

I spoke to the older Poles as well as interviewed many Polish Jews describing that reality portrayed by me above. You can make your own work and find not only written words on the subject but also pictographic material. You may also find that the spirit of nationalism and militarism was for decades a dominating philosophy in Europe. Polish military parades were not the first marching through the streets of Shtetelach.

When Zionist agitators came to cities and the towns, it was now easy for them to capture attention and raise the imagination of the Jewish youth to their new nationalist gospel.

They promised not only the land but building it exactly in the model known to the young generation of Jews in Poland and other central European countries. Nationalistic society, built around its military and might with the “others” just being there to be soon treated the same and worse than Jewish population in Europe just before. Ideology born among many of the same ideologies where blood and soil were superior to everything else.

It sometimes seems that the Zionist state is a parody of the other nationalistic country in central Europe. With their constant push for “Lebensraum”, and their “drang nach osten”, the similarities are staggering. It would be a parody if it would be somehow diminished to their mighty predecessor of Nazi Germany, but at this moment it is on the same level or worse, it is only European fascism which survived longer than any other fascist country where it originated.

Yes, there are no gas chambers for the Palestinian people, those who think that Nazism began only after the Wannsee conference, know nothing about history and quite frankly, they have no heart in their chest.

I don’t care what some of the readers of this essay will say or think about me.

Beezras Hashem I laid down my beliefs over the years on this blog and other places.

I proved my faithfulness to Hashem, His Toira and His people in a way rare in this generation. Whoever knows me closer, knows it.

But I can’t stay silent when my people are going amok and even mad, and when my people are going mad, we all will pay the price for it. Just read the Prophets, just read the Sages ZT’L.

I can’t keep quiet now, when the original nationalistic secular ideology, by design of its originators, is mixed with messianic frenzy, dulling the conscience formed by thousands of years of study of morality and ethics. When once more in our history we got lost for putting our hope in something else than HBH or even worse, using Him as subservient to murderous ideology, turning Almighty G-d into national getchke.

I joined Children of Yisrael on the promise that as rav S.R. Hirsch puts it – It is law which gives me citizenship and not citizenship gives me the rights.

And as a Jew I have this right, to cry when I can’t hold my voice and my tears longer.

To all those who will use Talmudic statements about the ger who sides with the enemies only because he feels alliance with them, listen to me.

Way before I became formally a Jew, I came to the conclusion that human life is a superior value. In fact, it has more value than anything else in this earthly existence.

More than your prosperity, more than the country and soil. Is it that radical?

It wasn’t to the Uvois (Avot) it wasn’t to the holy man of our people.

If you want deeper understanding of value of human life according to Toira, and if commandment not to kill is not enough, please find it in the essay of rav Dessler on topic of suicide, very good explanation among the other explanations. Bezras Hashem I will try to come back to this topic, why life is superior to anything else, in some future too.

I was glad to get out of the poisonous mindset which was forced on my brain from the time of my childhood. I was happy to break the chains of patriotic mind where the value lies in killing and sacrificing your life and your wellbeing for the idea of the country.

If you think that in the Jewish religion, I’m just looking for confirmation for my preconceived convictions, please mind – Around the same time in my live I came to conclusion that fundamental powers of human body, lurking to be used in any circumstances possible, should be limited to the setup of the family. Namely that our sexual life must happen only between husband and wife. And yes, I also found it later in The Book and amongst the people living by this Book. But it was preconceived as well. Why? It is part of the story of my personal relationship with Boire Oilom.

Despite the most vicious antisemitism of the people which I grew up among, B-H I was able to clarify what is right and what is wrong. I was able to sharpen my sense of Tzedakah and Mishpat, pretty much on my own but with amazing guidance from HBH.

With that Divine guidance I found people who valued life like no other nation in the world.

People who as per words of Rav Hirsch - didn’t have human blood on their hands for some eighteen hundred years. Too many times paying for this moral high with their blood and blood of their children. Using allowed by Law self-defense only when it was feasible but not waging war against any nation as it is prohibited and matter of the oath – a covenant with G-d, imposed on the nation after the last revolt and recorded in the Talmud.

With G-d’s guidance I joined the people who gave the world the Law and conscience; and even though this Law is calling for capital punishment it was rarely used already more than two thousand years ago. People of Yisruel, whose judges made every possible effort to save the life even though it was obvious to them that the criminal was guilty of crime.

People whose ancient kings were evaluated not by pails of dead bodies but by their loyalty to the Law. Even the one who inspired mankind in his everlasting poetry was criticized by the prophet for spilling human blood – Duvid Hameilech.

It took all of my youth to search and find the people of Tzedakah and Mishpat and I learned and solidified my conviction in the framework of the Halacha. Circumstances were not favorable, but I joined the holy people of Yisruel and was adopted by them. All of them are my people – those in Mea Sheurim or Monsey and those in Givatayim or Varanasi. All of them are my beloved brothers and sisters.

It tears my heart apart, I’m bleeding and crying through the sleepless nights, seeing my people where too many of them are now.

It is not only a matter of stealing other peoples’ belongings in nationalistic madness, it is not only constant bloodshed and harm to the wellbeing and dignity of other people to build and maintain the state. It is also dehumanization of the others; the same what Europeans did to Jews over millennia culminating in extermination of Holocaust. And as the wise man says - dehumanization of others dehumanizes us at least equally. Violence just follows.

Now grotesque and unprecedented violence.

If anyone wants to understand why I use those words and this language I will send you not far, just read my other essays. It will help to understand my Mekoros – the sources – the spiritual one.

For most of my life I have been thinking that religion makes a person better than spiritual indifference.

I will not go into the debate about what caused the wars and bloodshed in the past as I’m fully aware of how emotional issues of our beliefs can be used and misused by the rulers and politicians of this world. Not time for it now.

I was in believe that religion brings to life values otherwise not present in person's conscience. And yes, I’m aware that an agnostic can have moral convictions putting him sometimes in better position in moral ranking than someone declaring himself as a religious person.

But I struggle with this notion these days. What if indeed someone commits crimes from his love to the Supreme or superior values as he or she understands them.

Toira is clear to me on this matter but obviously not to all my coreligionists.

Should I tell them - drop your religion if it tells you to kill, to steal, to mistreat, to make widows and orphans, to treat humans as cattle or even subjects, to support almost all the atrocities which we experienced in our history? And then to lie about it in public while the world is watching and seeing through those lies? Using all kinds of deceit, pressure and machinations to defend this obvious to all crime? Should I tell them to drop it and rather become a nonbeliever if it saves a life?

And why is this crime and lies obvious to all? Because besides the natural, Divinely imprinted sense of justice, we thought them “right and wrong”.

To those who will come to me with usual lines and talking points, please don’t gaslight me with “self-defense” and Amalek and all the other rubbish. Anyone who knows anything about Zionist ideology from its inception, knows that conquer control and expulsion of indigenous population from Palestine was part of that ideology. There were few exceptions where some Zionists proposed peaceful inhabitation and collaboration with indigenous and neighboring people, like Martin Buber, but ultimately even he, a major European philosopher, was marginalized and ostracized by Zionist establishment.

There are sources to learn from. Not from late apologists of that ideology but from its early writers and ideologists of Zionism. Don’t be afraid. Their writings will not make you worse than now if you already support any actions of the Zionist state.

If you believe that any of those actions are pleasant to your god, I think I can say it – leave him and first became human as Rav Hirsch says here:

“Now, had Scripture not told us here that Avraham was ninety nine old when the covenant of Milah - which is the founding covenant of Judaism - was established with him, we would have thought that all of Avraham's virtues, of which we have learned until now, were the result of the covenant established with him in his youth, and that the whole flowering of this covenant consisted in these virtues. In fact, however, they all preceded the covenant of Milah. The full attainment of purely humane virtues preceded the mitzvah stated here: וֶהְיֵ֥ה תָמִֽים . The covenant of Avraham is a higher perfection of the humane virtues. The inference is twofold: On the one hand, "Be a mensch, a decent human being, before you attempt to be a Jew." First acquire all the humane virtues; only then can you become a Jew. On the other hand, you are not yet a Jew if you have reached only the level attained by Avraham until this point. A person who is compassionate, forgiving, and benevolent qualities demonstrated by Avraham until this point is merely the embodiment of the ideal Noachide.

Then you can begin to regain your status as a Jew.

Following this essay, I quote more and at length commentaries from Hirsch’s Chumash.

Some may say that His opinions are his and there are plenty of commentaries explaining those issues in different light. It is true that we have a principle of Ailu Ve Ailu. But in my simple understanding, one Ailu can usually be reconciled with another Ailu. And then there are opinions which were never accepted but nevertheless recorded and there are opinions which are straight ‘outside” - heretical.

Hirsch’s Hashkafa is exceptional in its clarity and fully able to reconcile with all Divrey Chazal as far as I know.

But for argument’s sake, hypothetically; let’s say that what he writes below is something out of range, some ideas that can’t be taken seriously, because other logical constructs based on Scriptures and Divrey Chazal present to us opposite ideas. For it is true that this Holy Book served dictators and murderers to justify their atrocities all over history. Some say it is like a fiddle which you can take and play any melody you wish to. It is true that pasukim can be taken, twisted, moved around, taken out of context and made into some scriptural Frankenstein to provide support for every possible sin under the sun.

Ultimately, how someone uses the Toira, tells more about the person than Toira itself.

But if anyone, anybody, no matter how big or small will present to me “logic” opposite to that below, I will rather stay “wrong” with Hirsch than “right” even if it is with majority.

Genesis chapter 12

Avraham appears merely as an individual who is told: "Go your own way, dare to be alone." In verse 2- וְאֶֽעֶשְׂךָ֙ לְג֣וֹי גָּד֔וֹל the nation already appears, but not yet in the context of interaction with other nations. Then, verse 3וַאֲבָֽרְכָה֙ shows Israel in its relationship with other nations: The blessing of Avraham is made dependent on others blessing him, and there are also those who dare to curse him.

Avraham's task was to isolate himself, to walk alone with God. The second stage was the creation of a nation out of this Avraham. It was destined to become apparent that the existence of this nation is a second act of creation by God in history, and toward this end it was necessary that Israel become a nation only by way of Golus (exile) and Geirus (homelessness), without a homeland. Had Israel, from the very beginning, dwelled in its own land, its creation would not have appeared as אֶצְבַּ֥ע אֱלֹהִֽים or as  מעשה ה'

וַאֲגַדְּלָ֖ה שְׁמֶ֑ךָ "And I wish to make your name great." Scripture does not say: "I will make your name great." God can bless people and nations, but He can only wish that they will attain moral virtue and that their deeds will be exemplary, for that depends on their faithfulness to the Divine Law. Similarly, Scripture does not say והיית ברכה or ותהיה ברכה "And you will be a blessing" but, rather: " וֶהְיֵ֖ה בְּרָכָֽה "Become a blessing." These two Hebrew words capsulize the whole moral mission on whose accomplishment the fulfillment of God's own wish depends: "I wish to your name great; therefore, you, become a blessing! I wish to make of you a nation that will be a beacon to the nations, a nation to which the others need only look in order to become aware of their own tasks. And the task that is assigned to you as distinct from the aspirations of all other nations - is: to become a blessing!" Everyone aspires, not להיות ברכה but להיות ברוכים to be blessed. This is the aspiration of every person and especially of every nation. Honesty, humanity, and love are duties incumbent upon the individual, but are regarded as folly in relations between nations and are viewed as unimportant by statesmen and politicians. Individuals are imprisoned and hanged for the crimes of fraud and murder, but countries murder and defraud on a grand scale, and those who murder and defraud "in the interest of the state" are decorated and rewarded.

Not like these is the portion of Avraham. The nation of Avraham is to have no national politics and no national economics. The One Who guaranteed its national welfare does not need to allocate funds, form coalitions, or conclude treaties. At His command are rain and sunshine, strength and life, power and victory. אִם־בְּחֻקֹּתַ֖י תֵּלֵ֑כוּ then all will go well. In the midst of a world where mankind's stated aim is וְנַֽעֲשֶׂה־לָּ֖נוּ שֵׁ֑ם and its ambition is to increase its power and extend its domain no matter what the cost, the nation of Avraham is in private and public life to heed only one call: to be a Blessing. Its life is to be devoted to the Divine aims of bringing harmony to mankind and to the world and restoring man to his former glory.

Then God will grant this nation His blessing for a life of dynamic action. Its name will become prominent among the nations, so that they, too, should be educated to these same aspirations: וַאֲבָ֣רֶכְךָ֔ וַאֲגַדְּלָ֖ה שְׁמֶ֑ךָ

This second stage of Jewish history, the creation of a nation out of Avraham, was to have become a reality in ארץ ישראל. There, Israel would live apart from the nations. Not only would Israel be blessed, but blessing would spring from Israel; Israel would become a source of blessing וַיִּשְׁכֹּן֩ יִשְׂרָאֵ֨ל בֶּ֤טַח בָּדָד֙ עֵ֣ין יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב (Devarim 33:28). Had we been worthy, all the promises to us that are to be fulfilled at the end of the days, would have been fulfilled thousands of years ago, and the whole course of human history would have been radically different.

It appears, though, that this first promise to Avraham (vv. 1-3) alludes to a third stage. We have already noted that the form וַאֲגַדְּלָ֖ה is expressive of a wish; for the realization of the second stage does not depend on God alone. Verse 3 appears to allude to a third stage in which Avraham's people - its blessing or curse are dependent on man, a stage in which man has the power to bless them or to curse them. This is the stage of גלות which was decreed to befall this people if they would forget their mission and seek - like the other nations להיות ברוכים instead of להיות ברכה

In the stage of גלות the people of Israel are subject to the nations and dependent on them, for blessing or curse. Of this stage Avraham is told: וַאֲבָֽרְכָה֙ מְבָ֣רְכֶ֔יךָ. That is to say, those who bless you and help you, who value your principles and submit to the service of your God I those will I bless. “

“Yet another truth was revealed here to Avraham. He came face to face with a reality that concerned his people in particular. In the land promised to him as the future homeland of his people, the first trial he faced was famine, and the second was war! The land does not, by its very nature, provide material prosperity and political independence. In both these respects, the land of Israel is the antithesis of Egypt. The land is dependent on heaven for its fertility, and its political position is one of dependence; it cannot offer resistance to a foreign invader. In and of itself, the land of Israel is prone to famine and political dependence. Since it is situated at the crossroads where Europe, Asia and Africa meet, all the major wars that have shaken the world have inflicted severe damage upon it.

But precisely for this reason it was chosen. Had Israel built a holy life on this land, no foe would have dared to approach its borders. Three times each year the borders of the land would have been left undefended and vulnerable, yet no one would have covetingly touched the land (see Shemos 34:24). All the countries of the world would have fought one another and passed near Israel's land, but no sword would have entered this most prosperous yet most defenseless of lands וְנָתַתִּ֤י שָׁלוֹם֙ בָּאָ֔רֶץ וּשְׁכַבְתֶּ֖ם וְאֵ֣ין מַחֲרִ֑יד וְהִשְׁבַּתִּ֞י חַיָּ֤ה רָעָה֙ מִן־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְחֶ֖רֶב לֹא־תַעֲבֹ֥ר בְּאַרְצְכֶֽם׃ (Vayikra 26:6). Then all the nations of the world would have seen with their own eyes: "God is there!" God is the stronghold of Zion; His deliverance stands in place of wall and bulwark אֱלֹהִ֥ים בְּאַרְמְנוֹתֶ֗יהָ נוֹדַ֥ע לְמִשְׂגָּֽב׃ (Tehillim 48:4) יְשׁוּעָ֥ה יָשִׁ֖ית חוֹמ֥וֹת וָחֵֽל׃ (Yeshayahu 26:1). All the prophets' promises for the future would have been fulfilled thousands of years ago; Zion would have shone forth as a light unto the nations, and the peoples would have said: "Let us go with you, for we have seen that God is with you" (Zecharyah 8:23).”