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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Eliezer Melamed’

In Defense of Rabbi Druckman

Monday, June 10th, 2013

A thousand words is not enough for a response to the withering attack being mounted against Haredi Zionist rabbis on the matter of selecting a chief rabbi.  The not-so-personal case of Rabbi Chaim Druckman, though, is representative. Since I know Rabbi Druckman as a man who takes things to heart in more ways than one, I gave him a call.  I consoled him, noting that in my estimation the “threatening” letter to Rabbi David Stav was not published by those who had attended the meeting at his home, but rather by opponents who disseminated the letter in order to get a boost in the media.

“Of course I know that,” said Rabbi Hayim, “but how do you?”

“Rabbi,” I answered, “I may not know how to study a page of Gemara, but I can give a good  lesson on how to read a newspaper.  The letter doesn’t contain any threat.  It’s very strident, but when push comes to shove, it’s as respectful as possible: a last-ditch call to Rabbi Stav not to run for the position of chief rabbi, despite the opposition of a good portion of the national religious rabbinate.  The assertion that his candidacy would create a rift between him and them wasn’t intended for the media.

The letter, titled “Threatening Letter from Rabbi Druckman against Rabbi Stav,” was released to the media by PR specialists working for Rabbi Stav, who decided to score some points at the expense of Rabbi Druckman and others who attended the meeting.

Rabbi Druckman sighed.  He may have enjoyed my media commentary, but, two months past his eightieth birthday, he has found himself in a war whose rules are not clear to him in the least.

*                              *                              * The proof for my thesis quickly arrived with the media gimmick’s second stage: a letter bearing the signatures of a hundred rabbis and lecturers who came out against the “threatening letter” to Rabbi David Stav.  He suddenly had become the attack-victim to whom everyone must throw his support.  Perhaps they couldn’t gather a hundred signatures in favor of his candidacy, but they could turn the issue on its head: simply gather a hundred signatures against the opposition.  And why waste more money than necessary on huge ads in the secular press?  Just have those other national religious rabbis labeled in the secular press as old-fashioned fanatics and Haredi Zionists, and let the new national religious trend continue to advance.  Secular Knesset members, for their part, including those in the Likud, won’t dare vote for any move to put Rabbi Ya’akov Ariel or anyone else of his sort in the office of the chief rabbi.

I asked a certain friend of mine, a rabbi who had signed the second letter but was not affiliated with Rabbi Stav, why he had put his name to it.  Contrary to my view, he felt that the letter to Rabbi Stav was too aggressive, and therefore signed onto the protest letter.  He really didn’t know, though, that it would be published in the general media in giant, paid ads.

“They used you, Rabbi,” I said.

“True,” he answered, “but that won’t make me excuse myself from my duty to protest”—even though, he granted, he does not think that Rabbi Stav should be the chief rabbi.

My friend is a principled man.  Rabbi Stav’s strategists are a bunch of connivers.

Bennet’s Debt to Rabbi Lior

Rabbi Druckman, who is an example to so many members of the national religious community, thought that since Naftali Bennett and his people had come to him to enlist his support before the elections, they would be faithful to him in the aftermath.  Perhaps not absolutely, but at least on basic ideological and spiritual matters, such as selecting a chief rabbi.

No such luck.  Or, as it was put this week by Colonel Moshe Hager, head of the pre-military academy system and a divisional chief of staff in the IDF: “You can quote me on this: Bennett is playing with the rabbis.  He invited me to meetings with rabbis.  After two meetings, I understood that they were for public consumption: at the end of the day, he does what he wants.  I’m not going to any more of those.”

*                              *                              * Here is a statement of defense against the sophisticated campaign that is playing out in the media, brought to you by one old-fashioned but authentic advocate:

Christian Supporters Of Israel Deserve Our Respect And Love

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

In recent times we have witnessed increasing support for Israel on the part of evangelical Christians. They view the establishment of the State of Israel as the miraculous fulfillment of the vision of the biblical prophets.

The Jewish nation returns to its land and the soil yields its produce. “For the Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden and her desert like the garden of the Lord (Isaiah 51:3).”

Bible-believing Christians see the settlements and vineyards and are deeply moved. “And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them” (Isaiah 65:21). “And I will bring back the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink their wine; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them” (Amos 9:14).

While many countries support the Arabs out of economic interests or fear or false beliefs, the evangelicals are clearly on our side. Their point of view is very important, for they are a significant and influential group in the United States, the strongest country in the world.

Many Jews wonder how we should we relate to Christians who love Israel. After all, for nearly two thousand years the Jewish nation was persecuted, plundered, forced to convert, expelled and murdered in the name of Christianity. Advertisement

The most severe sin of Christianity was its teaching that Israel was no longer God’s Chosen Nation, and that all the prophecies of Redemption now pertained to the Church rather than the Jews.

But then came the return of the Jews to our Land after all the centuries of dispersal and mistreatment culminating in the Holocaust. Israel’s agricultural miracles, along with its ability to withstand enemies all around it, have inspired many Christians.

As they understand from the Bible, Israel is still in a covenantal relationship with God, and the Jews must return to their land, settle it, and occupy themselves with Torah and mitzvot.

Those Christians who believe God chose Israel, and who are not working to convert us, are righteous gentiles, and God will reward them. Because of their faith in the Bible and their ethics, they are closer to us than are secular leftists.

Some Jews will still ask, “What if among our friends there are some missionaries who want to convert us?”

Indeed, if and when such a thing is proven, they must be fought. However, any supporter of Israel who is not a missionary must be treated with respect and love.

As Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook wrote, “Love of creation should spread to all mankind, despite all the differing opinions, religions and faiths, despite all the differences of races and climates ”

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, one of Israel’s most outspoken religious-Zionist leaders, is dean of Yeshiva Har Bracha and a prolific author on Jewish law.

With All Your Soul

Monday, April 18th, 2011

The recent appalling murders in Itamar shocked everyone – not just settlers but every Jew without exception, because it wasn’t the Fogel family alone whom the enemy wished to murder, but rather each and every one of us.

In Itamar’s neighboring communities, situated on the frontlines of Jewish settlement, many residents wondered how they would react if, God forbid Children and parents found it harder to sleep at night.

Nevertheless, we must not be weakened. The fears and worries must be elevated to the mitzvot of Kiddush Hashem, sanctification of God’s name, and we must remind ourselves of what we are strict to say everyday, both morning and evening, in the reading of the Shema: “And you shall love Hashem your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your possessions.”

In the Mishnah (Berachot 9:5), the Sages said: “With all your soul – even if He takes your soul.” This is what every Jew must think of when reading the Shema – if it was required, he would be ready to die for Kiddush Hashem.

This awesome mitzvah is what connects every Jew to eternity. It detaches him from the temporariness and pettiness of life and connects him to the world of truth and good, to the vision of the redemption.

This is also the idea of the mitzvah of conquering and settling the Land of Israel – the only mitzvah that obligates the Jewish nation to enter, on its own initiative, a life-threatening situation (Minchat Chinuch 425; Mishpat Kohen, p. 327).

There is no mitzvah comparable to that of settling the Land of Israel, through which even the seemingly insignificant actions one does during the course of the day receive profound and divine meaning. A person fulfills the mitzvah merely by breathing, eating, sleeping or walking in the Land. And the more one strives to improve the quality of his life, both spiritually and physically, the greater the mitzvah becomes.

For a Jew living a Torah life in the Land of Israel, everything comes together. One’s house, job, family, social life – are all partners in the revelation of the word of God in this world.

This is the great message to the world emanating from the Land of Israel, that there is no schism between the heavens and the earth, and precisely within the parameters of everyday life it is possible to reveal the word of God, bring redemption, and improve the entire world.

We stand on two foundations: on the principle of the mitzvah to settle the Land of Israel and on the principle of security – that if, God forbid, we retreat from Judea and Samaria, the danger to the State of Israel will be greatly increased.

From the outset, Jews have been obligated to settle Eretz Yisrael in order to make the desolate areas blossom and to inhabit the land. When we don’t merit doing so, tragedies occur, and we are forced to come to Israel to settle the Land.

The spies in the desert were afraid to enter the Land of Israel because of security concerns, and only after God decreed that they were to die in the desert did they attempt to ascend – but it was too late. The entire generation died in the desert, and their children entered the Land to settle it.

Had we merited, we would have ascended to the Land of Israel in order to care for its soil, to build the destroyed cities and make the desolate hills blossom, as was the call of the Vilna Gaon, and after him Rabbi Kalisher, Rabbi Gutmacher and Rabbi Alkaly.

But we didn’t merit this; the majority of Jews were afraid to ascend to Israel and refrained from moving because, they thought, it was a matter of pikuach nefesh (saving one’s life from danger). But our tragedies only grew in the Diaspora, and eventually we were required to ascend – ironically – in a desperate attempt at pikuach nefesh, at saving our lives.

People often ask, Isn’t it dangerous to live in Judea and Samaria? Indeed it is, and there is additional danger living in a settlement. And this is precisely why we are here. Because in the merit of the mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel on its highest level, the chances of increasing and elevating one’s life is also greater.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/with-all-your-soul/2011/04/18/

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