I was privileged recently to screen my movie, “Stories of Rebbe Nachman” in the city of Hevron. The holiness of the Biblical resting place of our Forefathers is awesome. Just being there gives a Jew a tremendous infusion of true Jewish valor. Jewish children walk the streets of the Jewish Quarter totally unafraid, not like the Spies, in the days of Moshe, who arrived in Hevron and felt like grasshoppers in their fear of the gentiles. Their timidity and fright, and their lashon hara against the Land of Israel, weakened the Jews in the Wilderness and brought about the generation’s destruction. Hashem called them rebels for wanting to remain in the Diaspora, in Paris, Berlin, Brooklyn, Chicago, and Palm Beach, instead of journeying on to the Holy Land. Hashem doesn’t want “grasshopper Jews.” He wants Jews to be like Joshua and Caleb, and like the Jewish residents of Hevron who sanctify His Name daily by living in the resting place of our holy Forefathers, and watching over their graves, often sacrificing their own personal comfort for the greater good of the Nation.
Until the day of his death, 34 years ago, on Purim, at the age of 91, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook championed the principle of Jewish settlement in all of Eretz Yisrael. Rav Tzvi Yehuda was the only son of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook, and Rosh Yeshiva of Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem. In addition to being a giant in Torah, he was the spiritual father of the Gush Emunim movement and the renewed Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, East Jerusalem, Gush Katif, and the Golan Heights. In the rush before Purim, we didn’t have an opportunity to remember his contribution to our generation in the proper manner. Thus, as a memorial to his recent Yahrtzeit, we are presenting a few of his teachings, may his memory be for a blessing.
“The Ramban clearly establishes that this Land, which has Hashem has promised to our Forefathers, must be kept under our control, and not under the control of any other nation. This is clearly meant in a national sense, for everyone understands that ruling a land means the establishment of a State in that land. Thus the establishment of Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel is a fundamental precept of the Torah.”
“We are undividedly attached to Judea and Samaria, and to all the expanses of our Land, through the eternal bond between the Holy Nation and the Holy Land. We must stand in defense of this to the uppermost limits of dedication and self-sacrifice, without any surrender at all. There is absolutely no room to entertain thoughts of relinquishing even a single square meter of Hashem’s inheritance to us. There is not to be any blemish in our borders, G-d forbid, just as there is not to be any blemish in our Torah. We are to battle for this end with all of our strength.”
“There isn’t any man in Israel who is permitted to make territorial concessions over this Land. Are these kilometers ours? Is someone the owner of them? These kilometers belong to the millions of Jews in Russia and America and throughout the world, no less than they belong to us. How can a person not feel ashamed by the thought of making do with a truncated State? No one has the right to relinquish lands which belong to the millions of Jews of all generations. This is a disgrace, a sorrowful shame, and a violation of the Torah.”
“The setbacks we face are temporary. All steps backwards are transitory and passing. Advances sometimes come in hidden stages. One must look at the global upheaval involved in bringing us back to our Land, and recognize that this is the Divine unfolding of, ‘When the L-rd brings the exiles back to Zion.” Because of its staggering scale, the process naturally undergoes difficulties and problems. The greater a thing is, the more complicated it is. The unfolding of our Redemption is an historical event of colossal proportions. All of the disturbances and temporary setbacks are trivialities which have no substance in this sweeping historical pageant. The actions of the gentiles, or of superficially thinking Jews, which oppose this Divine plan, carry no weight whatsoever. They are null and void in the light of the Torah and Hashem’s promise and providence over His people.”
“In our time, when our enemies seek our destruction, all weakness of speech is forbidden. All talk about withdrawal, and abandoning settlements, and surrendering territory is as forbidden as eating pork.”
“The wholeness of the Jewish People appears only in Eretz Yisrael. The Divine value of this great Nation appears only when it is situated in its own Land, in all of its health and stature. The revelation of Hashem’s honor in the world comes through this holy Nation in this Land. This is the order of Creation, that ‘There is no G-d in all of the earth, except in Israel’ (Melachim 2, 5:15). When this portion of mankind is situated in this particular Land, the Torah is revealed in all of its truth.”
“Because of our long exile amidst the impurity of the gentile nations, we have become accustomed to think that our life of exile is normal, and we forget that Eretz Yisrael is our natural, healthy, Divinely-intended place. We need to foster the understanding, and the feeling, that we must live in Israel, that this is our normal place, in terms of religion, and in terms of our Nationhood. If we are not here, we are unhealthy. And from time to time, the gentiles forcibly remind us that we are living in their domain, in an alien land.”
“The time has come to return home. Whether we want to or not; whether we recognize this truth, or whether we want to run away from it. ‘And I will bring them back to their Land.’ Hashem has decided that the time has arrived.”