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Kahanism and Vengeance

 

Continuing our study of R. Meir Kahane’s Or Ha-Ra’ayon (link), we turn to his chapter (12) on revenge. R. Kahane sees revenge as an important tool in repairing the world, something Westerners would certainly find surprising. However, classical Jewish ethicists also see revenge very differently.

I. Kahanist View of Revenge

R. Kahane believes that exacting revenge is a great mitzvah. “There is nothing greater and more righteous than revenge in its place and time” (p. 119). His argument is theological: When the wicked prosper, God’s providence becomes more hidden. By facilitating divine justice, the avenger increases awareness and the glory of God. Revenge is a Kiddush Hashem.

Revenge is a cause for joy, celebrating God’s victory over the wicked (pp. 128, 130). It is a mitzvah that the most righteous Jews strive to fulfill. Admittedly, people often find it difficult to overcome their innate feelings of mercy but those who are able to do so receive ample reward (pp. 132-133). Those who cannot exact God’s revenge ironically display cruelty, even heresy, and deny justice its proper place in the world (pp. 119, 132).

R. Kahane makes two important distinctions regarding revenge. First, you are forbidden to take revenge on other Jews and only permitted on gentiles. This distinction is important in explaining the Torah’s apparent contradictions regarding revenge, praising it (e.g. Psalms 58:11) but also forbidding it (Lev. 19:18). Revenge against Jews is forbidden but against gentiles is even a mitzvah (pp. 120-121). I hope to discuss in a later post R. Kahane’s attitude toward gentiles and therefore will refrain from discussing this further here.

The second distinction is a matter of intent: Revenge out of anger or hatred is unacceptable but based on the desire to increase God’s glory is a mitzvah (pp. 125, 132).

II. Is Revenge Good?

The key criticism on this subject that can be filed against R. Kahane is one of emphasis. He seems more enthusiastic about revenge than any prior scholar. Everyone agrees that the wicked should be brought to justice and that accomplishing such a task is worthy of satisfaction. However, R. Kahane seems to relish it, making it a prime objective.

In comparison, R. Shlomo Ibn Gabirol (Midos Ha-Nefesh 2:4) writes: “This trait [of cruelty] is in the soul [of one] who achieves revenge against enemies. It is not that bad when used in this way even though the enlightened person should not fully achieve this trait and should not exact revenge on his enemy with all his ability because this is not a good trait. As it says, ‘Do not rejoice at the fall of your enemy.'” According to R. Shlomo Ibn Gabirol, revenge is a necessary evil that the righteous should never fully embrace.

The Orechos Tzadikim (end of achzarius) warns against taking any revenge by stooping to the level of your enemy: “Beware of revenge that emerges from cruelty. If you wish to take revenge, add good [spiritual] levels and walk in the path of the just. With this, you will exact revenge on your enemies who will be pained by your trait and will mourn over your good reputation and good name. But if you perform reprehensible acts then your enemy will rejoice on your shame and take revenge on you.” The Orechos Tzadikim suggests taking the higher road and exacting revenge by acting better than your enemy.

III. Godly Revenge

The Rambam (Moreh Nevukhim 1:54) writes that biblical descriptions of God’s anger and vengeance represent His actions and not His emotions:

God’s actions are similar to those that people perform as an expression of some emotion, although God does them without any underlying emotion. It is proper for a leader to emulate God in this aspect. He must do what is appropriate, but not as an expression of emotion… Yet, his acts of kindness should be more frequent than his punishments.

According to the Rambam, we cannot choose revenge as our primary theme but must rather focus more on the positive than the negative.

Following that approach, R. Avraham Ben Ha-Rambam (Guide to Serving God, pp. 88, 94, 96, 98) writes:

This person [tasked with exacting revenge] should behave according to the statement, ‘and you shall follow His ways.’ Some of God’s ways are ‘slow to anger, pardons iniquity, and overlooks transgression’ and thus, he should be forgiving (in personal matters). Some of God’s ways are ‘jealous and repaying of iniquity’ and thus, he should demand that the people respect their religious obligations to God. He should not be lenient about those matters.

Nonetheless, most of God’s ways are merciful, with a few of strict justice. Therefore, even in religious issues, one must not be quick to avenge and punish. There must first be verification, deliberation, inquiry and ascertainment of the need for punishment…

[We occasionally find a leader] with great intellect and devoutness, adept in the ways of God to the point where anger is inwardly absent. Yet, he is not neglectful or permissive when it comes to the people’s obligations to God. He enforces them as required and seeks to uphold them, without being moved to anger. My father and teacher explained in the Moreh HaNevuchim (1:54) that such a person is on a great level and is soundly of the path for God, for God is beyond all wrath and emotion. The references to God’s wrath are metaphors, which enable us to grasp the concept of His punishments, as our Sages said, ‘The Torah speaks in human terms.’

Like his father, R. Avraham Ben Ha-Rambam demands that revenge be taken without anger. Not everyone is capable of such a difficult emotional task but whomever the community appoints must be able to act in such a godly fashion, acting with justice and without anger.

IV. Punishment for the Sinner

In a more recent discussion, R. Shaul Yisraeli (Si’ach Shaul, end of Emor) notes the aforementioned contradiction between the prohibition of taking revenge and approval elsewhere in the Bible. He resolves the texts with the Medieval explanation of the seemingly redundant statement after the stoning of the blasphemer that the Jews did as God commanded (Lev. 25:23). Ramban and Seforno explain that the Jews punished the sinner only because God commanded them to do so and not out of any feelings of hatred or vengeance.

R. Yisraeli explains that revenge in itself is improper. However, when someone sins he must fully repent and repay his debt. If he fails to do so, then the court or its emissaries must help him fulfill his duty. Punishment is not revenge. It is assisting a sinner pay his due for his misdeeds.

This all speaks to the unusual emphasis R. Kahane places on revenge. He agrees that it must not be taken in anger yet seems to display an endless reservoir of that emotion. He raises revenge on a flagpole rather than regretfully admitting its unfortunate necessity. He elevates vengeance–the desire for revenge–to a fundamental theological concept of Judaism today.

R. Yehudah (Leo) Levi puts it well in his Facing Current Challenges: Essays on Judaism (p. 353):

[T]here is a facet of Rabbi Kahane’s group which prevents the Torah community from supporting them. This facet shows itself in their symbol–the clenched fist. The fist alludes to “the hands are the hands of Esau”–the very antithesis of the Jewish people. True, at times the Torah also calls for the use of force. But whenever this occurs, we regret the need for it, and one does not pick as his trademark something which one regrets.”

In R. Kahane’s defense, we can suggest that soldiers cannot function properly with the mixed message presented above. We are at war and must patriotically embrace our military requirements. Nuance, it can be claimed, cripples the soldier mentality. Yet I remain unconvinced. Somehow soldiers from other streams of thought in Israel manage fine with nuance.

 

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Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.

 
The opinions and facts here are presented solely by the author. Torah Musings assumes no responsibility for them. Please address religious questions to your rabbi.
 

42 Responses

  1. Charlie Hall says:

    “we can suggest that soldiers cannot function properly with the mixed message presented above”

    The IDF looks to me like they’ve done pretty well with it.

  2. Joel Salomon says:

    R. Ephraim Oshry, in his She’eilos Uteshuvos Mima‘amakim, also discusses the occasional halachik necessity of revenge.

  3. Ephrayim says:

    A la Rav Kook would say that revenge is a unfortunate human emotion that needs to be employed when warranted. It is necessary evil god created us with in order to accomplish that which pure intellect could not. (not exactly what was said by anyone above)

    Regarding R’ Kahane, maybe he thought that invoking strong emotions was necessary at the time, not as a theological ideal but as practical one for our times. If one wants to arise a rebellion to kick out the Arabs the toned down version wont quite work.

  4. Hirhurim says:

    Let me add that Rav Soloveitchik takes a strong stand in favor of revenge in his Kol Dodi Dofek: http://torahmusings.com/2006/09/koil-doidi-doifek/

  5. Baruch says:

    I’m surprised you don’t mention the key, crucial distinction when talking about revenge: personal vs. national. Personal revenge is assur, national revenge is muttar (even perhaps a mitzvah).

    I am also surprised that you don’t mention the very basic texts from Tanach that Kahane quotes — like God being called a God of revenge and like Hashem’s comamnds to Moshe to avange His honor. Surely these sources are relevant in this dicussion.

    (Let’s also not forget what “Hashem yikon damo” means and what we say in av harachamim. Let’s also not forget the story of Pinchas or Shimshon.)

  6. Shasdaf says:

    I heard either from Rav Ahron Soloveichik zt”l or his son Rav Moshe shlit”a that besides the 13 midos of “Hashem, Hashem Kel Rachum…” there are other midos, more than 13, and they are at the end of the same pasuk – lo yinakeh, pokeid avon avos al banim al shileishim v’al ribe’im. But the 13 are midos of the right side, and can be used at any time. The midos of the left side, which include revenge, may only be used when a navi tells us to use it. Therefore, the Jewish people did not fight Amalek until Shmuel commanded Shaul – because the milchemes Amalek is a war of revenge, and we are not allowed to resort to revenge by our own decision.

  7. The Dude says:

    They must go!

  8. Nachum says:

    I said it on Facebook, I’ll post it here: “Some tempering of all this criticism for a man who gave his life and died for klal Yisrael would be nice.”

  9. Yirmiahu says:

    “Some tempering of all this criticism for a man who gave his life and died for klal Yisrael would be nice.”

    Perhaps if he had displayed more temperance then he could have lived for klal Yisrael rather than generating animosity.

  10. ba says:

    ‘“Some tempering of all this criticism for a man who gave his life and died for klal Yisrael would be nice.”

    Perhaps if he had displayed more temperance then he could have lived for klal Yisrael rather than generating animosity.’

    What happened happened. R’ Kahane can’t change what he did now, and now that he did it he deserves respect.

    I haven’t seen anyone criticize Gedalyah ben Achikam for what he did.

  11. Shlomo says:

    I’m surprised you don’t mention the key, crucial distinction when talking about revenge: personal vs. national. Personal revenge is assur, national revenge is muttar (even perhaps a mitzvah).

    National revenge can mitigate situations of chilul hashem. That is a proper motivation, but not necessary the one R’ Kahane is appealing to.

    Some tempering of all this criticism for a man who gave his life and died for klal Yisrael would be nice.

    Criticism or disagreement?

  12. G says:

    It’s about time that someone mounted a proper halachic-theological critique of Kahana’s ideology without resorting either to scare terms (*fascist*, *racist*) or vague and unsubstantiated references to “Jewish vaulues”. It would have been nice if people had actually tried to do this while he was alive; Torah would have benefitted.

    As with the previous posts in this series, I think this outing suffers from a tendency to cherry-pick sources to support a particular point of view. This was also, ironically, characteristic of Kahane. I think there is actually much to be gained from this sort of adversarial approach where two biased parties duke it out in public; hopefully out of such dialogue the audience will get a better appreciation of the truth. However, Kahane’s dead now and he can’t argue back so perhaps a more balanced approach is called for.

    Another thing to consider is that, a lot of the time, Kahane was preaching to assimilated Jews in America and Israel (and, yes, you can be assimilated in Israel) who had never heard anything other from their heterodox teachers than Judaism = centre-left liberalism, without ever having been shown by their teachers what the Torah really says. Kahane went and quoted unvarnished Gemaras, Rambams etc. partly to shock them out of their comfortable prejudices and get them to treat Torah as a serious and challenging belief and life system. I remember seeing a video where some liberal buffoon, apparently an ordained cleric in some heterodox movement, at Brandeis claimed the Torah endorses democracy because the Sanhedrin voted. Kahane simply asked how many non-Jews were ever on the Sanhedrin; the mute reaction showed that these sophisticated, cultured Jews had simply never examined their canned talking points long enough to see whether they even made basic sense.

    It’s almost silly to criticise Kahane for failing to mention a savarah of the Abarbanel, or shitah of the Netziv that went against his interpretations, his audience had already had the 1% of Torah sources that seem to support modern liberalism shown to them hundreds of times from kintergarden. What they had never been shown was the other 99%. Kahane’s first Rabbinical post was in a “traditional” schul where he worked tirelessly to bring young people let down by the Jewish establishment and (sadly) their parents to a life of Torah and mitzvot. His later career should be seen as a continuation of that.

    For me, Kahane’s two main arguments are his case against giving land to Arabs and for expelling the Arabs from Israel. In the first case his was essentially a halachic argument and, to my mind, he nailed it beyond any serious argument. The second was more of a nationalist argument, for which he showed there was ample “yesh lismoch”, so to speak, in poskim. Personally, I think that only Arabs who display open hostility should be exiled and that Kahane’s solution is totally untenable whilst the majority of Israelis are mechalel shabbos and so, possibly, chayav mitah by the same law that, possibly, requires them to expel the Arab population.

    The best critique of Kahane, to my mind, is that whilst trying to revive the values of authentic Judaism he made use of gentile nationalist motifs in order to appeal to a secular Israeli public. As well as being inherently unsavoury he also ran the risk of whipping up passions that would most certainly not be lesheim shamayim. I don’t think Kahane ever adequately answered this charge, he just sort of said “well so do B’nei Akiva and no-one criticises them” which is true, but not really good enough.

    That said, I agree with Nachum on showing proper respect for a tzaddik who both devoted and gave his life to what he saw as the true meaning of Torah and brought many Jews back to their faith. Nothing he advocated with regard to the Arabs went beyond what the Haganah etc. did in 1948; the unrelenting hostility he generated among some religious people who, mystifyingly, near deify the anti-religious founders of the Israeli state always was, and remains, a disgrace.

  13. Although Rav Kahane only mentions it on his second page into the chapter, for the author of this to ignore Bamidbar 31:1-12 is odd. Either he is uncomfortable with the incident or has no answer = “And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 ‘Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites…And Moses spoke unto the people, saying: ‘Arm ye men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian, to execute the LORD’S vengeance on Midian. Of every tribe a thousand, throughout all the tribes of Israel, shall ye send to the war.’…And Moses sent them, a thousand of every tribe, to the war, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy vessels and the trumpets for the alarm in his hand. 7 And they warred against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew every male.” Breishit Rabba even has a dialogue, with the Bnei Yisrael arguing with the Abishteh quoting him saying don’t take revenge [Vayikra 19:18] – 55:3. Another Midrashic source notes that this was the last act of Moshe that needed to be fulfilled and he did so despite other pressing needs and that Bnei Yisrael were hiding so as not to muster for optherwise, if they took revenge, then Moshe would die which they wanted to prevent. In a sense, Moshe sacrificed himself for this mitzva. Even Rav Shimshon R Hirsch noted the importance of revenge in that Moshe has to assure the fulfillment of two major Jewish values: modesty and faithfulness to God. There are many more commentaries.

    There is much to be said for and against revenge in the thought of Rav Kahane. This post was, I suggest, inadequate.

  14. Shlomo says:

    Nothing he advocated with regard to the Arabs went beyond what the Haganah etc. did in 1948;

    It’s one thing to expel people when you don’t have the troops to control them and otherwise they will throw you into the sea; it’s a different thing in current circumstances.

  15. Charlie Hall says:

    Kahane’s organization carried out terrorist attacks in the United States. One of them killed a Jewish woman; Kahane’s response was “But these things happen!” There is no defense for either the attacks or the attitude. Were an Arab American to lead an organization that did these things, or to express such an attitude, we would rightly be up in arms.

  16. Hirhurim says:

    Baruch: I’m surprised you don’t mention the key, crucial distinction when talking about revenge: personal vs. national. Personal revenge is assur, national revenge is muttar (even perhaps a mitzvah).

    R. Kahane toys with this idea but rejects it because he believes an individual Jew must take revenge on an individual gentile (pp. 120-121). I believe that the national idea works better, particularly when we take into account R. Avraham Ben Ha-Rambam’s discussion of a Jewish official tasked with taking “revenge” on misbehaving Jews.

    I am also surprised that you don’t mention the very basic texts from Tanach that Kahane quotes — like God being called a God of revenge and like Hashem’s comamnds to Moshe to avange His honor. Surely these sources are relevant in this dicussion.

    Sure I did. They are quoted explicitly and discussed in the long quotes from the Rambam and R. Avraham Ben Ha-Rambam.

    Shasdaf: Very interesting idea from R. Ahron Soloveitchik. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

    Yisrael Medad: Although Rav Kahane only mentions it on his second page into the chapter, for the author of this to ignore Bamidbar 31:1-12 is odd.

    I’m not sure what is odd about that. I quote one verse in favor of revenge, one against and then discuss ways of resolving the tension. Why do I need to quote specifically those verses about Midian to show the tension? I believe the verse from Tehillim is more powerful linguistically, which is why I chose it.

  17. Nachum says:

    Kahane’s response was “But these things happen!”

    Cite that, please.

  18. Steve Brizel says:

    R Gil deserves a Yasher Koach for examining R Kahane ZL’s thesis re the mitzvah of exacting revenge in light of many earlier Mareh Mkomos and their approach to the same. As we approach Yom Yerushalayim, perhaps we should think of former PM Golda Meir ZL’s view re the necessity of war and how it affected the future generations of Israel’s citizens.

  19. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “Some tempering of all this criticism for a man who gave his life and died for klal Yisrael would be nice.”

    I’m not sure I understand. In past discussions of R. Kahane, a refrain that I recall was (I paraphrase): why don’t you read his books and see what he really said. And deal with his ideas rather than his personality So Gil goes ahead and does exactly that and in a non-polemical manner seriously discusses, and often disagrees with, the ideas and sources from R. Kahane’s writings. And now that’s not good either — it’s not “tempered” enough.

    But in truth, while I commend Gil for his effort, I think Nachum’s comment and so many of the other comments — on both sides — demonstrate why certain issues really can’t be discussed, even dispassionately. The gulf between the two sides is simply too great, and each side has such an iron commitment to its position that it ends up like a discussion about women’s roles between someone who believes that there should be women rabbis and someone who believes that men and women should walk on separate sides of the street.

    But if you’re all having a good time convincing yourselves, enjoy yourselves.

  20. avi says:

    Personally, I think a definition of “revenge” needs to expressed here, and it’s hard to have a real conversation without it.

    Is revenge a “tit for tat” sort of action? Or is “revenge” a punishment for specific actions?

    Is revenge national, or personal?
    Is revenge carried out by individuals as they see fit, or is it carried out by national leadership?
    Is revenge conducted against those who committed the crime, or to anybody associated with them, or to those who ordered the crime to be done?

    I think removing the English word revenge, without all it’s associations of mindless blood feuds, and calling it something else, might make the conversation more productive.

    On this point, I think Kahane probabbly had the right idea, that we need to look at these issues as a nation from the perspective of power, rather than from the long perspective of a persecuted people who have only our words to enforce anything.

  21. BH says:

    There is a halakha regarding Tisha B’Av that we are not allowed on that tragic day to learn about the great vengeance which will be taken against the gentiles in the end of days. Why would this be? Because for normal Jews vengeance against the gentiles who have oppressed us is a happy thought.

  22. Yekutiel says:

    The Gemarah in Megillah reiterates that the revenge prohibited in the Torah is regarding Jew against Jew. However, against Goyim it is a known mitzva.

    And as mentioned in Tehillim – Happy is the righteous who witness revenge. This is obvious and known to anyone who learn kindergarden level Torah objectively. Rabbi Kahane did not create the Jewish Idea of Revenge. So great is the concept that it is mentioned and surrounded by two of G-d’s names “El Nekamot Hashem”.(Berachot) And as Mordecai said to Haman, after Haman ridiculed him for kicking him when he raised him on the horse. Haman indeed asked the same question posed by the author of this anti-Kahane piece here: Does your Bible not prohibit revenge? And Mordecai responds, that it is indeed forbidden to exact revenge against your fellow Jewish enemy. But against the wicked Hamans of the world it is a mitzva!!! Sorry Rabbi Gil, your selective attack on a righteous dead Rabbi is nothing more than a poor attempt to revive Haman’s false argument against righteous Mordecai.

  23. Harold says:

    Yekutiel,

    Good citation with the example of Haman.

  24. Moshe Shoshan says:

    Gil
    great post, This is a much better angle for critique than the deomocracy issue, which is far more murky.

    Certianly there are sources especially and Tanakh that would seem to support Kahnane’s positions. The bottom line is however, that no one else has ever been draw to make these source the basis of their world view. Kahane’s thought all regel ahchat is “Ma hu kanah v’nokem af atah kanah vnokem” this goes against the Jewish ethics in the most profound way. THe maybe times that extreme violence and revenge may be necessary but there can never become fundamental moral traits. Jews must remain baishanim and rachmanim.

    Nahum, I have some sympathy for your plea and I said similar things at the time of kahana’s death. However, as long as there are people like you, highly intellegent, well educated, religiously committed, who revere Kahane and far more who disagree but still himas with in the category of eilu v’eilu, I do not see how we can afford to tone down the criticisms.

  25. Harold says:

    Moshe,

    Anybody who knew Rav Kahane understood that he was a great ba’al chessed and rachamim, as was attested to by Rav Mordechai Eliyahu (who supported Rav Kahane) after his assassination at his funeral in Jerusalem. His main point regarding vengeance was to return this concept to its proper place which has been lost during our long, bitter galuth. Rav Kahane lived his life in accordance with adopting all of the positive and necessary traits and using them in the appropriate circumstances. He gave enormous amounts of tzedakkah to the Jewish needy, and at the same time he advocated no mercy against our enemies. Anybody with a little bit of common sense understood that Rav Kahane was not advocating vengeance as a trait to be carried out under all circumstances.Clearly, there is a time for vengeance and a time for mercy. This is not Kahanism, this is Judaism!

  26. Yekutiel says:

    As our sages teach us, those who have mercy on the wicked, ultimately will be cruel to the merciful, as we have learned first hand from the anti-Kahanists in power in Israel who so often have found mercy in their hearts towards the evil, and how this has turned into cruelty on the merciful. How many Arab terrorist murderers who have been released by the merciful Israeli governments have later murdered more innocent Jews once again.

    As the Midrashim say, “When revenge is exacted against the nations, G-d’s name is exalted”.

    “Yismach Tzadik Kee Chazah nakam, piamav yirchatz bedam HaRasha”. That is Judaism not Kahanism, as Rav Kahane would often say. Revenge has been and will remain a halachic imperative and a Jewish concept to all who do not allow themselves to distort Judaism with anti-Torah western values that have no basis in the halachic system.

    The Ramban coined an interesting phrase “mercy of fools” – Rachmanut shel tipshim. Let us not be stupid fools. Let us strike back with a vengeance against our enemies and let us have no mercy on them. That is the smart and Jewish way.

  27. Charlie says:

    Yekutiel,

    There is tremendous wisdom in your words. Vengeance against enemies of the Jews is praiseworthy. And Rav Kahane spoke basic, undiluted Judaism.

  28. Charlie says:

    Rav Aron Soloveichik ztz”l praised in a speech in a shul in Teaneck, New Jersey a famous Jew who avenged and prevented the murder of Jews.

  29. Moshe Shoshan says:

    I have no doubt that Kahane was kind to those around him. This is a great merit and I sincerely hope and beleive that he is properly rewarded for it in heaven. But history, psychology and my oen life experience have taught me that the human soul is not a simple as we would think. Human behavior is highly contextual. Brutal criminals are often known to their friends and family as kind wonderful people. viscous racists and anit-semites are often paragons of virtue when not engaging the object of their hate.

    I find it very hard to believe, given what i have read of his writings that Kahane did not truly hate Arabs, non Jews in general or even his Jewish detractors. A person like that cannot be called a rachman.

    The State of Israel needed no tutoring from an american activist on proper place of “revenge”. Israel’s policy even under “leftists” has always been to respond in kind to attacks to show that jewish blood is not cheap and to deter further attacks.

    ,

  30. avi says:

    Moshe Shoshan, exactly

  31. Steve Brizel says:

    Like it or not, if one assumes as R Gil does, that the works of r Kahane ZL are a Cheftzah shel Torah, then the same should be learned and subjected to a searching analyis as to their pluses and minuses. That is what R Gil attempted to do, as has been done with proponents of equally conrtoversial POVs.

    FWIW, while R Gil is not discussing “Why Be Jewish”, I think that it represents a very searching critique of both the secular and Orthodox Jewish establishments as of the date of publication, and that the same reflects how many felt as to the lack of sensitivity by the secular Jewish establishment to traditional Jewish values-especially Jewish education.

  32. Moshe says:

    I must say that i find this attack against a dead and righteous scholar who was murdered “al Kidush Hashem” to be most puzzling and disturbing at the same time. I see the argument ended when mr Yekutiel brought uncontested and clear sources that Nekama is valid and obligatory against the wicked gentiles and that the prohibition stands only against Jews, which is a gemara and halacha mefureshet – explicit.

    As for the other lies, Loshon Horah and refuse written by Moshe Shoshan concerning Rabbi Kahane’s alleged hate for Jews please allow me to say as somneone who knew Rabbi Meir Kahane ben Yehezkel Shraga Hakohen, Hashem Yikom Damo, zecher tzadik VeKadosh LeVracha, first hand that i never met a kinder soul with true ahavat Yisrael. He had no misplaced mercy for evil people who hurt Jews, because he truly loved Jews.

    One who lacks a true love of Jews, is always quick to show mercy on the wicked.

    As for Rabbi Kahane and the Israeli regimes that persecuted him. Yes, they had much to learn from this righteous talmid chocham. Yes, they- the secular leaders of Israel have repeatedly shown mercy for wicked haters of Israel, more often than not out of fear what the gentile would say and out of an obssessive need to be loved by the gentiles. This exercise in futility has repeatedly blown up in the collective face of the nation of Israel. As the Talmud says, when one appeases the wicked out of fear, they fall prey to their very fears. (see Sota 41b). When one capitulates to evil, evil indeed prevails, G-d forbid.

    Kahane lived and fought his entire life and even through his death to sanctify G-d’s name and rescue Jews. May his memory be blessed.

  33. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Gil,

    While I commend your good intentions, hard work, and intellectual ability, I suggest that the last comment to this post and the last few on the other R. Kahane post (as of this writing), demonstrate why such discussions are a bracha levatala.

  34. Moshe Shoshan says:

    Not a bracha levatalah at all, but its a birchas hamitzvah not hanehenin

  35. Yitzhak says:

    One explanation by Or Ha’Haim of the justification of Shimon and Levi to their father of their massacre of Shechem is a remarkable endorsement of taking revenge against those who wrong us, from the perspective of the cold-blooded, realpolitikal calculus of deterrence, as I discuss here.

  36. Yankel Rabinovich says:

    It is a waste of time to bash Kahane. Agreed! He might have been a racist, but the man knew his Torah and if you seek to beat him at his own game you will never be able to disprove him. He has too many sources from the Tanach, Midrash, Gemara, Shulchan Aruch, Rambam, Rishonim and contemporary Achronim to back his lunatic conclusions. Best is to ignore him or to debate his ideas from a non-Torah vantage point. Let’s face it there are many embarrassing halachos that make us all look bad, if we like it or not. I am not saying Reform Judaism is right chas veshalom, however, clearly we need to make certain changes if we want to live in a modern society. In that sense it is very difficult to explain why Kahane was wrong, when in fact, he is much more loyal to the Judaism as preached by the Rambam or Shulchan Aruch in their own words.

    When you publish an article trying to disprove the origins of Kahane philosophy in halacha you stand the great risk that some of his followers will find the blog and shove the halacha back in our faces. That is the last thing we need on the internet, for the whole world to learn the sources that Kahane based his fanatical doctrines upon. It seems insane to arm our enemies with those sources that appear racist and the like. Is that what you want, is that what we need – for the goyim to learn that Kahane is firmly based in Jewish halachic literature? Don’t you understand that this will create hatred not only of Kahane but of all Jews?

  37. IH says:

    A revealing mirror.

  38. Harold says:

    Yankel,

    We need never be ashamed of the Torah. The issues and halakhic sources which Rav Kahane focuses on are completely reasonable within the context of Jews being in a state of war with those trying to destroy them.

    There are many, many sources which demonstrate the Torah priority of peace and love of mankind.Of course, the reason we are here in the first place is to be a light unto the nations and we are here for the welfare of the world. Any reasonable gentile who were to examine our discussions will understand that there is a time for peace and a time for war. Yes, the Torah calls upon us to be fierce as a lion when fighting war. We should be proud of this.

  39. G says:

    “I find it very hard to believe, given what i have read of his writings that Kahane did not truly hate Arabs, non Jews in general or even his Jewish detractors. A person like that cannot be called a rachman”

    Whilst I re-iterate my earlier view that Rabbi Student’s critique of Kahane’s view is a welcome and overdue contribution to
    rationally assessing Kahane’s view within a halachic and haskafic (even if I find it somewhat unconvincing), this quote from the comments is an example of thee precise opposite. Unsubstantiated claims of some sort of psychological flaw are neither valid contributions to debate nor adequate refuations of Kahnane’s various arguments.

    Though whilst we are making groundless accusations I suspect “Yankel Rabinovich” is a Kahanist dishonestly arguing for his ideology. I certainly hope so.

  40. Harold says:

    Rav Kahane clearly did not hate gentiles in general. He limited his hatred to enemies of the Jewish nation. Rav Kahane was invited to a Noachide conference in America and spoke there.His greatness is evident. There is a video of this at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eozNE7yHFLs

  41. Charlie says:

    Only someone ignorant of Rav Kahane’s teachings would assume that he hated gentiles in general. And it is illogical to infer from his approach towards those who wish to destroy us that he holds the same approach towards all gentiles.

  42. Harold says:

    Ignorance of Rav Kahane’s teachings is indeed widespread.

 
 

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