web analytics
August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Jerusalem Rally Reflections: When Thoughts Win Wars

jerusalem haredi rally

Photo Credit: Yaakov Naumi/FLASH90

No, I didn’t attend the rally Sunday. Although I saw the buses, cars and heavy pedestrian traffic outside, I stayed at home. But while I followed the news from afar, I also didn’t consider myself one of the “anti-rally” contingent.

Was I ambivalent then? Disinterested? Quite the contrary. The thought of hundreds of thousands of Jews gathered together in prayer was quite profound, as in the following post:

It was an experience of a lifetime. To be part of the biggest minyan since the Beit Hamikdash. To daven mincha with so many people…

So why didn’t I attend? Whenever a difficult situation arises, I think back to the Chassidic festival of the 19th_of_Kislev and the recent day festival of Hei_Tevet. In the former, the arrest and imprisonment of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi was viewed as a Heaven-sent case on the entire Chassidic movement. To be sure, it is told that the Ba’al Shem Tov and the Maggid of Mezeritch were together with Rabbi Schneur Zalman in the Peter-Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg.

The second event in some way is harder to digest as the situation came through a relative of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. But instead of viewing the removal of precious books from the Chabad Library a simple act of theft, The Rebbe approached these troubling events as a Heaven-sent call to increase our efforts in studying and publicizing these and other holy books, as in the following statement made after their return:

…We must say that the reason for these problems was only to bring a greater level of ascent. The only reason for the troubling and uncertain situation was to accomplish greater things many times over, in the area of spreading Yiddishkeit.”

So what was my disinterest? Not that people shouldn’t be allowed to study Torah all day. But that when a law is issued (or proposed as in this case) it is an opportunity to further the way we relate to Torah study itself.

As explained with regard to journalism, something is called disruptive when we perceive it as coming from a higher world to a lower world. We don’t expect the realm of thought to come down into action. But when it does, when it becomes evident that some article or class began a revolution, or the momentum to overthrow a dictator, then we begin to take notice. Instead then of the abrogation of a proposed law, the message that I found most profound from this difficulty was the expansion of a concept we call “soldier.”

Some months ago I mentioned to a soldier that I too am a soldier. At first he wasn’t sure how to digest the remark, then he laughed when I explained that we are both soldiers in Hashem’s army. Just like he has a uniform, I too have a uniform (e.g., tzitzit, tefillin, etc..) and the weighty job to help bring Mashiach.

But before this call to enlist every eligible male in the land of Israel, a person could mistakenly think that someone who studies Torah all day is not enlisted in an army. But a good result that will hopefully come from this test is that there aren’t two inseparable worlds: the world of thought where people study Torah, and the world of action where people fight with guns, etc… If there is a proposed law to make everyone a soldier, then the Chassidic response is to promote the conceptual truth behind these words; to promote the real-world impact Torah study has in overcoming physical enemies. As explained in the article on disruptive_journalism, the ability for thoughts to descend into action comes from a sense of responsibility. Thus the best outcome of the proposed law is an increased fervor to enlist in the active duty of Torah study.

On the surface it may seem that Mordechai’s initiative to study Torah with 22,000 children, in the face of the terrible decrees, was passive compared to dressing in sackcloth, fasting, giving instructions to Queen Esther, and the other seemingly more active events that transpired during that difficult episode. But the opportunity in our present day is to rethink the way we view Torah study in combating physical enemies.

The moment we close the book, however, and begin to try to bring down thoughts by brute force, we run the risk of being seen as an inciter. This is not the case, however, when thoughts come straight down into action. While they may go unnoticed at first, later these people are labeled visionaries, people who lived way before their time, etc…

The secret behind this approach is that focused Torah study has a tangible, real-world effect in the present day; even more so than those other physical acts. While prayer and fasting are important when necessary, our call today is to begin a new revolution grounded in Torah thought.

For those interested, there are a total of six battalions to this thought army, related to the six meanings of the world pakod, finding one’s role or purpose as explained_here.

About the Author: Yonatan Gordon has spent most of his past 13 professional years in the world of Jewish publishing. He was the Marketing Manager at Kehot Publication Society (publishing arm of Chabad) for the better part of six years. He is founder of the website Community of Readers.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

4 Responses to “Jerusalem Rally Reflections: When Thoughts Win Wars”

  1. I don’t recall you have fight in any Israeli’s fights, with or without the Israeli uniform!

  2. They’re fighting a war most Israelis don’t even realize is being fought and lost.

  3. Dan Silagi says:

    People who evade military service by studying Torah all day are indeed in an army: The army of slackers, parasites, freeloaders, and draft dodgers.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
Political Fallout Begins From Ceasefire
Latest Indepth Stories
Front-Page-082914

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

Palestinian patient enters Israel for emergency treatment.

We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .

Mark Twain

Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.

Brudner-012414-Hollywood

The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Israelis in Gaza border communities need to get out; who will help them?

The contrast between the mentality of Israel and the mentality of Hamas was never so loudly expressed as when the Arab killers became heroes and the Jewish killers became prisoners.

There is a threat today representing a new category of missionary:They call themselves “Hayovel.”

Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.

Is Woodstock still leading the world to destruction?

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

Blaming Israel for the violence in Gaza, he ends up justifying Hamas’s terrorism.

In the Thirties it was common for anti-Semites to call on Jews to “go to Palestine!”

Obama never hid his contempt for the Israeli government or the majority of Israel’s voters.

“This arbitrary ban is an ugly stain on our democracy, and it also undermines the rule of law.”

We take US “aid” for psychological reasons-if we have an allowance, that means we have a father.

ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.

More Articles from Yonatan Gordon
Light up the world copy

Maimonides: “Your 1 mitzva may tip the scales and bring redemption to the entire world and creation”

journalism

With no shortage of leftist media that seek to distort the news, what should our Torah response be?

This week we witnessed the true unity of the Jewish people rallying around, and praying for, these three boys.

We must learn how to portray reality correctly and in a positive way.

The moon-inspired public is searching for something like the renewal and redemption of the Jewish people.

In contrast to the hate-filled stones thrown by Arabs, Jews threw non-physical ‘stones’ of love.

Inspiring thoughts about memory, completing tasks, marketing, and anorexia.

Taking risks for outreach is not easy and there have been spiritual pitfalls over the years.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/jerusalem-rally-reflections-when-thoughts-win-wars/2014/03/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: