When the Spies returned from Eretz Yisrael with their evil report of the Holy Land, they put ashes on their heads, sat on the ground, and began to wail out in a loud voice so that all of the congregation could hear:
“Gevalt! There are giants in the Land, and we’ll have to enlist in the army to fight them! Gevalt! Gevalt! Gevalt!”
Influenced by their dramatic cries and their flamboyant display of righteousness, the rest of the Jews joined them on the ground until a great roar was heard all over the wilderness, “GEVALT! GEVALT! GEVALT! WE’LL HAVE TO ENLIST IN THE ARMY!”
This scene came to my mind as I read this morning’s top headline in The Jewish Press: “Sack and Ashes Rally Against Haredi Draft,” with an accompanying photo of the protestors who “repeated chapters of Tehillim, verse by verse, and sat down on the ground in mourning just as Jews do on the day of Tisha B’Av.”
Funny, Tisha B’Av was the day when the Spies returned with their devastating report which brought about the death of that whole generation in the wilderness until a new, de-galuted generation of Jews born into freedom arose to conquer the Land.
The Spies were diehard adherents of galut. They wanted to remain with the Torah of galut, and sit all day learning the Torah of galut in their four cubits of the Beit Midrash of the wilderness, protected by the Clouds of Glory, eating the manna and bottled gefilte fish without have to exert themselves in any mundane matters like defending the nation and cultivating crops for food.
But the Holy One Blessed Be He wanted something else entirely for His Holy People. It was time to give up the miniaturized Torah of galut and begin to observe the complete Torah of Eretz Yisrael!! No one loves Torah more than Hashem, but nonetheless, He wanted the Spies, and all of their yeshiva students, to take up their journey, and their rifles and swords, and go up to conquer the Promised Land!! Hashem wanted them to till the fields of the Holy Land, plant seeds, and harvest their own food! He wanted them to establish a holy Torah society, not in the wilderness of galut, in a geodesic dome, protected by the Clouds of Glory, but in the hills and valleys of the Land of Israel, the Holy Land, the unique place on the globe which Hashem Himself created for the Jewish people and Torah.
Only Yehoshua ben Nun and Calev ben Yefune had the courage and faith to stand up and shout out: “NO! THE LAND IS A GOOD LAND. DON’T BE AFRAID!! JUST AS HASHEM HAS BEEN WITH US UNTIL NOW, HE WILL LEAD US TO CONQUER OUR ENEMIES!”
But the “adah” of devout and righteous Jews yelled out “GEVALT!! WE’LL HAVE TO ENLIST IN THE ARMY!!”
The Jewish Press reports that the newspaper ads calling yeshiva students to this morning’s protest in Mea Shaarim stated: “We are prepared with the utmost devotion to fight for the integrity of our holy Torah and not sacrifice any one from Israel to the military Molech.”
My dear friends, let it be as clear as the noon sun in a cloudless blue sky, without that military Molech know as the Israel Defense Forces, all of those devout holy Jews in Mea Shaarim wouldn’t survive more than ten minutes before Ishmaelite murderers stormed into their yeshivot and slit their throats from ear to ear until their blood reddened all of their pages of Gemara, just as the Arab savages did to the devout holy Jews in Hebron and the Old City during the pogrom of 1929 when there was no Israel Defense Forces to protect them.
Take a look at the photos of the pogroms yourself. True, they are black and white, but you can picture the rivers of bright crimson blood spilled all over the pages of Talmud as the devout holy Jews were butchered in the study halls of Torah that they so cherished.
Every morning after their davening, the devout holy Jews of Mea Shaarim should rush out to the streets of the city, find themselves one of those soldiers of Molech, fall down on their knees and kiss the soldier’s boots for risking his life 24 hours a day to protect the devout holy Jews of Mea Shaarim from the bloodthirsty Arabs who are just waiting for the chance to flood the streets of Mea Shaarim with glatt kosher blood.
About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon.The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.
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