Twenty-seven years ago, on the 4th day of Adar Sheni, Menachem Begin passed away. In my opinion, he left us three messages that are more relevant than ever:
1) No to civil war. In the past, battles between different camps were not held on Instagram, but outdoors with canons and blood. In the Altalena affair in 1948 – after Jews killed Jews on the seashore of Tel Aviv – Begin made an important decision: to show restraint, despite everything. It was as if he read the stories of our destruction on deck and decided to learn the lesson.
2) Not to be deterred by the long road. The number is inconceivable in the hectic political reality of today: 9,490 days. That’s how long Begin sat in the opposition and waited. There is no precedent for a leader who lost eight elections and won the ninth. Begin’s feat teaches us a great lesson about perseverance, devotion, toil, and patience.
3) Judaism. The generation before Begin tried to start a revolution – from Tanach to the Palmach without “Diaspora Judaism” getting in the way. Begin started to fix this mistake. Zionism is not a revolt against Judaism, but its natural offshoot. That’s why Begin often said, “Baruch Hashem” and “BeEzrat Hashem” and fought for the honor of Shabbat and traditional conversion.
Vast segments of the population who were socially excluded – former underground fighters, charedim, Jews from Arab countries, traditional Jews – secured a respectable place in society thanks to Begim. In his will, he asked not to be buried in Chelkat Gedolei HaUmah on Har Herzl, but on Har Hazeisim “near the underground fighters, as a simple Jew.”
In memory of Menachem ben Ze’ev Dov.