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A Gadol In Torah Rabbi Kahane had an encyclopedic knowledge of Torah. He didn’t merely obtain semicha as some sort of rabbinical certificate, study and teaching Torah were his life. Amongst  his great contributions to Am Yisroel were the sifrei kodesh he authored, dealing with fundamental Jewish concepts and halachot that no other rabbis addressed. Along with his magnum opus, The Ohr Ha’rayon (The Jewish Idea), he authored several other seforim, such as his fascinating Pirush Hamacabi commentary on the Chumash, and his Al Ha’Emunah, V’all Ha’Geulah. The former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Mordecai Eliyahu (of blessed memory), often praised Rabbi Kahane’s knowledge of Torah, as did Rabbi Moshe Tendler, shlitah, who eulogized Rav Kahane as a gadol in Torah.

A close friend and mentor of mine was very close to Rabbi Kahane. He once opined that Rabbi Kahane’s greatest contribution to Am Yisroel was that he was the first to address the real provocative Halachic issues that the State of Israel faces. Certainly, he was, and remains, the only one who actively campaigned for the transfer of all hostile gentiles from Eretz Yisroel, as per the requirements of Halacha. (Rachavam Zevi’s (may G-d avenge his blood) notion of voluntary transfer was ridiculous and impractical. Hence, it had no teeth and it didn’t raise the ire of the left.)

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Yet Rabbi Kahane was not a one-issue personality, as those who know nothing of his authentic teachings are wont to believe. The Arab question was essential and integral, but merely one component of Rabbi Kahane’s comprehensive program for saving Eretz Yisroel and Am Yisroel. His Torah ideology was  sophisticated and intellectual which grasped the significance of our miraculous age, and accepted the challenge to turn the State of Israel into a true Torah state, seeking to transform it into a precursor to Moshiach.

The small minded Jewish leaders and lay people (religious and secular) who condemned and smeared him were dishonest when it came to addressing the logical Halachic issues he raised. Worsel, something that the great man always resented, they were afraid to debate him on these very same issues. They naturally feared and insulted employing him ad hominem attacks, because in a debate on Jewish issues, they would have come up short. That is an understatement. He would have dissected them intellectually, as he always did during debates, radio interviews, or question and answer sessions with hostile individuals. The pathetic excuse of not wanting “to dignify his remarks” or “place him in the bounds of intellectual discourse” was aggravating enough when it came from hypocritical secular Jews. But when it came from religious Rabbis who knew that Rabbi Kahane’s message was predicated solely on Torah, the refusal to engage in debate was beyond grotesque.

Israel: Inherent Contradictions When Rabbi Kahane made Aliyah, he addressed the existential Arab threat facing Israel; the problem of demography, and the inherent contradictions between Western Democracy which allows the voting Arab to become a majority one day (even theoretically), and a Jewish State, which by definition must remain Jewish lest it become something else. He was the first to throw the “T” word into public discourse, TRANSFER, which raised the blood pressure of the Left, who only tolerate the word when it is applied to Jews as evidenced during the Gaza expulsion of Jews. Of course, then they use the ridiculous euphemism, “evacuation,” as if they are saving Jews from a typhoon or an earthquake.

If Jews are stoned today from atop Har Habayit, it is because Labor and Likud are committed to appeasing Arab terrorists. While the Arabs set Jerusalem on fire, and run over Jewish babies with their new “car intifada,” Netanyahu grovels before the head dog of Jordan to assure him that he needn’t worry. Jews will not be able to pray on Har Habayit. If Arabs are ramming their cars into crowds of Jews, crushing our brothers and sisters, it is because Israel’s leadership fails to grasp the message. If Arab lynch mobs, armed with knives and deadly weapons, are roaming Jerusalem to spill Jewish blood, it is only because our leaders are impotent, fearful, and weak. They silenced Rabbi Kahane, and the Jewish people are bleeding for it.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. My own return to observance and zionism was largely inspired by the life and writings of this great Rav. Thank you for writing this wonderful tribute and thank you to the Jewish Press for publishing.

  2. I met Rabbi Meyer Kahane in Jerusalem and felt his energy and dynamic personality. He would have set Israel on a righteous and solid foundation to deal with murderous Islam whereas Bibi doesn't know what to do except to give in to them in shame in the eyes of the world.

  3. [Surak] Thank you, Mr. Fuchs. I'm one of those people who acknowledge in the closet "R. Kahane was right." Now what? The people are so delusional that it's hard for them to detect wisdom until they are personally hurt (and not always then). Otzma performed so poorly in the last election they didn't elect a single member to the Knesset. Perhaps Moshe Feiglin will succeed where others have failed; I don't know.

    R. Kahane was virtually alone in promoting a holistic Judaism that includes the critical ingredient of nationalism, a trait that is accepted in all other peoples of the world but is somehow controversial with respect to Jews. I enthusiastically share your rejection for G. Meir's inane hand-wringing comment about peace.

    Still, you must admit that as much as R. Kahane was factually correct about issues of our survival, he also scared off many Jews. His legacy is one part of what is needed to heal the Jewish nation, but the other part comes from the other great rabbinical leader of the 20th century, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. His warmth and ahavath Yisrael provided and still provide encouragement for our timid brethren to reconnect with our heritage. I am still looking for that leader who synthesizes the warmth, righteousness, and outreach of the Lubavitcher Rebbe with the passion and national dedication of R. Kahane. Chesed and g'vurah both giving rise to tifereth.

  4. Same for me and Rabbi Kahane instilled in me Jewish pride and the knowledge of the greatness that we lost in during exile. I used to religiously read Rabbi Kahane's articles in the Jewish Press every chance i had.
    Since my parents came from Iraq, I learned what Arabs were from them and the danger they pose to us. Rabbi Kahane IS right about the Arab cancer in Eretz Yisrael.

  5. As a great admirer of R' Kahane HY"D, i especially appreciated this quote: "In Eretz Yisroel, the Arabs were truly terrified of him. Like an enraged Shimshon Hagibor, the Arabs feared him, because much like Samson, his strength was an anomaly that they could not understand. It derived from the very personality of this magnificent tzadik. He had their number."
    Amen

  6. The Jews one encounters in the TaNa"KH are not trembling, sniveling cowards begging the world to love them. And they weren't hyper-liberals who thought their great mission was to destroy the idea that there is such a thing as Objective Religious Truth and a One True G-d. The Jews of the TaNa"KH were rustic Theocratic warrior-shepherds who kicked tachat and took shemot. Even back when I was a Xian I admired Rabbi Kahana' (zt"l; Hy"d) and thought he was a gilgul of Yehoshu`a Bin Nun. And when reading the TaNa"KH, what picture forms in one's mind? Rabbi Kahana'–or (lehavdil!) Abe Foxman???

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