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R. Efrem Goldberg gives invocation before the House of Reps
WSJ on the Kabbalah Center
Will rabbis allow brainy Shabbat driving?
Ford Foundation, Big Funder of Israeli NGOs, Pulling Out
Where’s the kosher beef? It could be South Dakota
Demand: Appoint non-Orthodox IDF rabbi
SALT Friday
German Jewish culture hits Web
Does nosh mean to snack, or to snack specifically on sweets?
Messianic Temptations
Rabbis endorse ‘educational’ initiative on Pesach sacrifice
Jewish Start-Ups Continue To Grow
Should Jews Change How They Build Houses? On Avoiding Halachic Problems
R. Steve Burg: Counteract Drinking
Why Hasn’t Israel Embraced Much-needed Education Reform?
Op-Ed: The blogger is a dog
Gallery: Kotel undergoes spring clean for Pesach
SALT Thursday
The Chief Rabbinate and the composition of the London Beth Din
The Story of Dr. William Kolbrenner
The Date of the Exodus: A Guide to the Orthodox Perplexed
Who is “Orthodox”? Who is “Religious”? Who is Just “Observant”?
As Spain builds monuments to its Jewish past, critics question motives
Tax Season: The Most Spiritual Time of the Year?
Haredi rabbis: Don’t volunteer in MDA
Why I choose to return
Non-traditional items showing up on Seder plates
SALT Wednesday
RSZA: Do You Need To Choose One Rav and Stick To Him?
Education is key in a changing U.S. Jews-Israel relationship
From Napoleon to Mubarak: Jews and Revolution
Gandhi and the Jews
‘World’ is to Blame for Shalit, Says Rav Lau
From the Elephantine archives, the first historical documentation of a Jewish woman
New org to educate haredi community on animal rights
SALT Tuesday
Google Exodus: What if Moses had Facebook?
Tax credits for religious school scholarships ruled constitutional
Toledo wins Women’s NIT with special thanks to a rabbi
Shabbat Table Discussions: Making Good Use of Time
R. Yosef Blau: The struggle for the soul of religious Zionism
“The Sickening Question”: God, Cancer, and Us
Israel is on its way to becoming a religious state
At Mimulo Flower Shop, Every Bouquet Tells a Story
Rabbi Juravel of the OU: Kashrush On Vitamins
SALT Monday
Last week’s news & links
Rules: link

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

192 comments

  1. Calling for greater government investment and emphasis on teaching democratic values in the Israeli education system,
    ======================================
    From the article I would have guessed that the “solution” would be to provide economic incentives and disincentives more in line with the vision of ……..hmmm, whose vision should it be?????
    KT

  2. An interesting review in Ha’aretz of “The Pentateuch: The Samaritan Version and the Masoretic Version”, edited and annotated by Avraham Tal and Moshe Florentin. Tel Aviv University Press (Hebrew),763 pages, NIS 149

    http://www.haaretz.com/culture/books/bible-studies-the-things-that-you-re-liable-to-read-in-the-bible-1.353823

  3. Question for R’ Blau and all commentators:

    What meaning does reishit tzmichat geulateinu in a non-messianic sense?

    It is a fact that the state of Israel has had “a transformative effect on Jewish life”. He does not explain the non-messianic vision of RZ.

    MO obviously has more interaction with the state than more insular parts of society, since that is part of the philosophy of MO, to involve oneself with society. However, American MO also involves themselves with the USA and view it as a positive. American Jews also involve themselves with Israel even if they do not live there.

    But, what is the religious meaning of RZ, if it is not messianic? I would argue that now, once the state exists, non-messianic RZ is very hard to distinguish from the Agudist (at least in the US, but possibly in Bnei Brak as well) approach to Zionism, except with more interaction with the “secular” society, just like MO and Chareidi approaches to America.

  4. On the flower shop story. I think the most striking comment is the “tzniyus sexy” line. Which deserves its own article probably.

  5. R. Blau’s article reminded me that like the Conservative movement, YU has very strong incentives to softly criticize communities in Israel and Aliyah amongst the minority of Shomer Mitzvot Jews still left in America.

  6. Re: kashrus on vitamins.

    If all synthetic vitamins need hashgacha and the vitamin D is milk is synthetic (based on the article), why doesn’t need milk need hashgacha (pace chalav yisrael)?

  7. Steve: I would assume that it is batel. However, there are plenty of milks that bear the OU kosher symbol.

  8. Michael Rogovin

    The headline “Tax credits for religious school scholarships ruled constitutional” is misleading. In fact, the article states that the Supreme Court issued a ruling based on standing (a procedural issue), not on substance.

  9. What are the sources of vitamin D for humans?

    Animal products constitute the bulk source of vitamin D that occurs naturally in unfortified foods. Salt water fish such as herring, salmon, sardines, and fish liver oils are good sources of vitamin D3. Small quantities of vitamin D3 are also found in eggs, veal, beef, butter, and vegetable oils while plants, fruits, and nuts are extremely poor sources of vitamin D. In the United States, fortification of foods such as milk (both fresh and evaporated), margarine and butter, cereals, and chocolate mixes help in meeting the adequate intake (RDA) recommendations (11). Because only fluid milk is fortified with vitamin D, other dairy products (cheese, yogurt, etc.) only provide the vitamin that was produced by the animal itself.

    How is vitamin D produced commercially for food supplementation?

    When the critical importance to human health of a regular dietary access to vitamin D3 was understood (in the 1930’s), milk suppliers realized it would be advantageous to their customers’ health to market milk which had been supplemented with vitamin D3. Thus there developed in the 1940’s, and continues to the present, a large business of industrial production of vitamin D3 used for the supplementation of foods for human consumption: milk (both homogenized and evaporated), some margarine and breads. Since the 1960’s vitamin D3 has been used also for the supplementation of farm animal and poultry food. In 1973 in the United States some 290 trillion (290 x 1012) International Units of vitamin D3 was manufactured and sold for over 3 million dollars. This vitamin D3 is the equivalent of approximately 8 tons; [see page 62 of reference (2)].

    The commercial production of vitamin D3 is completely dependent on the availability of either 7-dehydrocholesterol or cholesterol. 7-Dehydrocholesterol can be obtained via organic solvent extraction of animal skins (cow, pig or sheep) followed by an extensive purification. Cholesterol typically is extracted from the lanolin of sheep wool and after thorough purification and crystallization can be converted via a laborious chemical synthesis into 7-dehydrocholesterol. It should be appreciated that once chemically pure, crystalline 7-dehydrocholesterol has been obtained, it is impossible to use any chemical or biological tests or procedures to determine the original source (sheep lanolin, pig skin, cow skin, etc.) of the cholesterol or 7-dehydrocholesterol.

    Next the crystalline 7-dehydrocholesterol is dissolved in an organic solvent and irradiated with ultraviolet light to carry out the transformation (similar to that which occurs in human and animal skin) to produce vitamin D3. This vitamin D3 is then purified and crystallized further before it is formulated for use in dairy milk and animal feed supplementation. The exact details of the chemical conversion of cholesterol to 7-dehydrocholesterol and the method of large-scale ultraviolet light conversion into vitamin D3 and subsequent purification are closely held topics for which there have been many patents issued (2).

    The major producers of vitamin D3 used for milk and other food supplementation are the companies F. Hoffman La Roche, Ltd (Switzerland) and BASF (Germany).

    What is the source of vitamin D in milk?

    Milk from all lactating animals, including humans, contains vitamin D3 that has been produced photochemically from 7-dehydrocholesterol present in the skin. In cow’s milk it has been determined that the concentration of vitamin D3 in milk provided by the cow is roughly 35-70 International Units per quart as determined via biological assay (12) and approximately 50-80 International Units as determined by modern chemical mass spectrometric procedures (13). However these are rather low levels of vitamin D3 from the perspective of providing the 200-400 IU per day as recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine (9). Accordingly, as discussed above, the business practice of supplementing cows milk with chemically synthesized vitamin D3 was initiated. At the present time almost all milk sold commercially in the United States has 400 IU of chemically synthesized vitamin D3 added per quart. Any vendor of milk for human consumption containing added vitamin D3 is required by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to include a notice on the milk carton label. Usually this label states “400 IU of added vitamin D3”. However it is not required by law to indicate either the manufacturer of the added vitamin D3 or the sources of the cholesterol and 7-dehydrocholesterol used for its production.
    It is a fact that most milk sold in the US will contain vitamin D3 with two origins. (a) That vitamin D3 made by the cow using sunlight to irradiate 7-dehydrocholesterol present in her skin. (b) That vitamin D3 made by a chemical process and then added to the cow milk as a nutritional supplement. It is simply not possible to distinguish the origins of the two vitamin D3 preparations by any biological or chemical procedure, because they are the same molecular structure. Further, there is no legal requirement for the manufacturer of the vitamin D3 formulated for human food supplementation to specify the animal sources of the precursor molecules that were employed in the synthesis of the D vitamin.
    If a “food product” is construed to include a chemically pure substance that is the same in all animal species, then those individuals with strict religious reasons for avoiding food products from a particular species have, in the instance of milk and vitamin D3, a dilemma.

    http://vitamind.ucr.edu/milk.html

  10. Did Naama cut the net after the victory?

  11. r. juravel is a kashruth expert and he can (and should) discuss whether vitamins and herbs need a hashgacha. but on what authority does does he give his imprimatur to the use of these products as alternative medicine (“probably a good development” in his words)?

    the science behind the use of herbs and vitamins as alternative medicine is generally poor at best, they are *not* necessarily safer than conventional medications and you literally may not know what exactly is in the bottle you buy. (if you do buy these products, make sure you buy a reputable brand.)

    (i find that some orthodox jews are too happy to embrace alternative medicine due to disdain for modern science, although i’m *not* saying this is r. juravel’s motive, and i assume it was just a statement representing popular sentiment)

  12. “What are the sources of vitamin D for humans?”

    actually sunlight is a major source of our vitamin d. iirc the published dietary recommentions were designed assuming a person receives minimal exposure. (i think i’ve also seen studies of vit. d deficiency in women in conservative societies (tzniustically speaking) because they have less exposure to sunlight.

  13. previous comment directed to HAGTBG

  14. Rabbi Abba,
    You are eminently correct. Alternative medicine is not acceptable according to Halakhah, as RJDB explains in Contemporary Halakhic Problems Vol. 4, pp. 203-127. A Jew is expected to use Orthodox (no pun intended) medical science in treating the ill, whether himself or others. Only Orthodox medical science satisfies the mitzvah of “virapo yirapei” described by Shulchan Arukh Yoreh De’ah 336:1. Yi’yasher kochakha for publicizing this highly salient point.

    Of course, Orthodox medical science doesn’t know everything, and so one is allowed to experimentally try alternative therapies – so long as those therapies do not transgress any prohibitions, as RJDB further explains in Bioethical Dilemmas, Vol. 2, pp. 200-205. Thus, R. Juravel refers to the latter conceptual category when he says that alternative medicine is “probably a good development”. The more alternative medicine there is, the more scientific research advances. But until proven effective, alternative medicines must not be confused with Orthodox Jewish medicine, and one is not allowed to violate any prohibitions while pursuing alternative medicines.

  15. However, just to (slightly) contradict myself, there are occasions when even alternative medicine can become “piku’ach nefesh”.

    In a footnote to Shulchan Shelomoh, Erkei Refu’ah II, p. 261, R. Simchah Bunim Lazerson reports that R. Yehoshua Newirth holds that one should never discourage a terminally ill patient from trying alternative remedies, because the alternative remedy provides the terminally ill patient with optimistic hope, and optimistic hope can itself prolong a patiet’s life. This dovetails well with RJDB’s chapter of “Disclosure of Information” in Bioethical Dilemmas, Vol. 1. Thus, when Orthodox scientific medicine offers no hope, and the terminally ill patient (-who, of course, may never be actually told that he is terminally ill) requests an alternative medicine, one should presumably desecrate Shabbat if the “placebo effect” is anticipated to prolong the patient’s life.

  16. Abba’s Ranting, I excerpted (sort of) the site. In the full version, link provided at bottom, it does mention the sunlight.

  17. “But in Scotland the sun is only strong enough to provide vitamin D between April and September.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-11355810

  18. Unless I am misunderstanding the article, it seems that the Supreme Court did not rule that Government-given Religious School Scholarships are constitutional; rather it ruled that people do not have standing to object to the program in court merely by virtue of being taxpayers. They didn’t decide the issue; they avoided it. For now it might amount to the same thing. But I wouldn’t underestimate the will of the anti-voucher side of the debate. I wouldn’t put it past them to come up with other grounds.

    Please prove me wrong.

  19. “What meaning does reishit tzmichat geulateinu in a non-messianic sense?”
    Non messianic Zionists to the extent they wish to make a stand would not say it-ot follow Rav Unterman and add before the phrase nisayon-or add sheteheh etc before as a narrative sentence many are opposed

    .

    “But, what is the religious meaning of RZ, if it is not messianic? ”
    Before 67 RZ was not messianic-it was the younger R Kook and his Yeshiva was the catlyst for the messianic viewpoint. Certainly, the Rav was not messianic he would give up the Kotel to save one life.

    “I would argue that now, once the state exists, non-messianic RZ is very hard to distinguish from the Agudist”
    The difference is RZ see the state as a Rasui and the Agudah as a masui

  20. Joseph Kaplan

    yehupitz: The AP article on the decision says: “The decision upheld the program without addressing the allegation that it is unconstitutional, and effectively overruled decades of precedent permitting lawsuits against government programs that subsidize religious institutions through tax incentives.” Thus, it seems that while it was a procedural decision, it will make it much more difficult to challenge these types of programs in the future. But I haven’t read the decision so I’m not sure.

  21. Mycroft,

    Yes, I agree that pre ’67 RZ was not messianic (though R’ Kook was). However, pre ’67, the state was relatively new. The creation of the state was the basic fulfillment of the non-messianic Zionism. My point was that ex post, Agudists do hope for the survival of the state and do not view it as a masui (though they often do have criticism of irrelegious actions of the state, RZ share most of the same criticisms).

  22. “yehupitz on April 4, 2011 at 5:32 pm
    Unless I am misunderstanding the article, it seems that the Supreme Court did not rule that Government-given Religious School Scholarships are constitutional; rather it ruled that people do not have standing to object to the program in court merely by virtue of being taxpayers. They didn’t decide the issue; they avoided it. For now it might amount to the same thing. But I wouldn’t underestimate the will of the anti-voucher side of the debate. I wouldn’t put it past them to come up with other grounds.

    Please prove me wrong”

    Agreed-but note NY which has an even stricter Constitutional separation than the Feds apparently has no problem giving grants for studying for the clergy.

  23. “The AP article on the decision says: “The decision upheld the program without addressing the allegation that it is unconstitutional, and effectively overruled decades of precedent permitting lawsuits against government programs that subsidize religious institutions through tax incentives.” Thus, it seems that while it was a procedural decision, it will make it much more difficult to challenge these types of programs in the future.”
    Agree with Joe-of course the way Flast V Cohen effectively was overruled-if Obama gets reelected it is likely that a different 5-4 decision could happen. The Supremes are just another political body-its one with a lag time and luck of the draw of length of life.

  24. “My point was that ex post, Agudists do hope for the survival of the state and do not view it as a masui (though they often do have criticism of irrelegious actions of the state, RZ share most of the same criticisms”
    The Agudists only hope for the survival of the state because they realize there would be a bloodbath if R’L the neighbors won a war. But if R’L that happened the Yateds etc would have articles stating how we were right all along and the reason for the churban is that people didn’t listen to our gdolim

  25. It seems to me that the words “messianism” and “messianic” in regard to Religious Zionism and poltical trends conflates a number of issues in an unhelpful manner.

    Having now read his piece 3 times, I also fail to see the distinction R. Blau draws between the US and Israel. But, I think this is due to the conflation of issues.

    1967 is not the breakpoint, in any case, in Israel — more like 1977 — just look at West Bank settlement demographics to see the point. [I recently found a photograph I took of the brand new sign for Elon Moreh in the summer of 1977 which caused me to look up the statistics].

    In both the US and Israel, the Modern-Orthodox/Dati-Leumi has shifted to the right both theologically and politically since the late ’70s.

    Chabad aside, I just don’t see the correlation to messianism.

  26. Mycroft,

    So you are admitting that l’maaseh there is currently no difference between non-messianic RZ and Agudah in relation to Zionism?

    IH,

    Those settlements were dreamed up in 67 and before. In terms, of RZ history during that period (actually even before the war) a group of students from Bnei Akiva yeshivas who had formed a youth group called gachelet (searching for a more committed and idealistic RZ) were introduced to R’ Tzvi Yehuda Kook. He introduced them to his father’s messianic thought and a movement was formed. Almost all the gedolim of RZ in Israel today are from this group or are there talmidim. The group included R’ Aviner, R’ Ariel, R’ Drukman, R’ Tau etc.

    You are correct that before them RZ was basically MO. They formed an alliance to move RZ to the right theologically and politically and they have basically succeeded. Today, RZ is very far from American MO in many ways.

  27. Here is a quote from a speech R’ Tzvi Yehuda gave BEFORE the war in ’67:

    “Nineteen years ago, on the night when news of the United Nations decision in favor of the re-establishment of the state of Israel reached us, when the people streamed into the streets to celebrate and rejoice, I could not go out and join in the jubilation. I sat alone and silent; a burden lay upon me. During those first hours I could not resign myself to what had been done. I could not accept the fact that indeed ‘they have…divided My land’ (Joel 4:2)! Yes [and now after 19 years] where is our Hebron–have we forgotten her?! Where is our Shehem, our Jericho–where?! Have we forgotten them?!

    And all that lies beyond the Jordan–each and every clod of earth, every region, hill, valley, every plot of land, that is part of Eretz Israel [the Land of Israel]–have we the right to give up even one grain of the Land of God?! On that night, nineteen years ago, during those hours, as I sat trembling in every limb of my body, wounded, cut, torn to pieces –I could not then rejoice.”

  28. Former YU — I take your point, but when I was in BA in the 70s, no one was quoting R’ Tzvi Yehuda Kook and there were plenty of people within BA (and Kibbutz ha’Dati) that were well left of center by today’s standards.

    I remember being shocked to the core when I arrived at Yeshivat Kiryat Arba in late 1979. And I was a hardcore Bnei Akiva’nik.

    The settlements did not take off until Begin’s election in 1977; and, in fact, Gush Emunim was not even formed until 1974.

    2007 282,000
    2006 268,400
    2005 258,988
    2004 234,487
    2003 224,669
    2002 214,722
    2001 198,535
    2000 192,976
    1999 177,411
    1998 163,300
    1997 154,400
    1996 142,700
    1995 133,200
    1994 126,200
    1993 111,600
    1992 101,100
    1991 90,300
    1990 78,600
    1989 69,800
    1988 63,600
    1987 57,700
    1986 51,100
    1985 44,100
    1984 35,200
    1983 22,800
    1982 21,000
    1981 16,119
    1980 12,424
    1979 10,000
    1978 7,361
    1977 4,400
    1976 3,176
    1975 2,581
    1974 2,019
    1973 1,514
    1972 1,182

    In both the US and Israel, the religious right has overshadowed the religious left. But, that is a different — I contend — than “messianism”.

  29. “what is the religious meaning of RZ, if it is not messianic?”

    I think Rav Soloveitchik addressed this in Kol Dodi Dofeik.

    “But I wouldn’t underestimate the will of the anti-voucher side of the debate. I wouldn’t put it past them to come up with other grounds. ”

    These are the grounds:

    * Ariz. Const. art. II, § 12: “No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise, or instruction, or to the support of any religious establishment.”
    * Ariz. Const. art. IX, § 10: “No tax shall be laid or appropriation of public money made in aid of any church, or private or sectarian school, or any public service corporation.”

    This didn’t belong in federal court.

    It should be noted that the anti-voucher side enjoys overwhelming public support. No voucher proposal has ever come close to winning a referendum; they usually lose by landslide margins. The open opposition of many pro-voucher people to public education scares people. It is difficult enough that vouchers for religious schools are (correctly) seen as opposing the ideals of Jefferson and Madison; the fact that their supporters are seen (even by themselves) as political extremists makes advocacy for vouchers even more difficult. The fact that Connecticut, Vermont, and Maine have had successful and popular voucher programs for generations gets lost.

    “note NY which has an even stricter Constitutional separation than the Feds apparently has no problem giving grants for studying for the clergy.”

    Here is the exact language:

    N.Y. Const. art. XI, � 3: “Neither the state nor any subdivision thereof shall use its property or credit or any public money, or authorize or permit either to be used, directly or indirectly, in aid or maintenance, other than for examination or inspection, of any school or institution of learning wholly or in part under the control or direction of any religious denomination or in which any denominational tenet or doctrine is taught, but the legislature may provide for the transportation of children to and from any school or institution of learning.”

    On the face of it, support for a rabbinical school would indeed seem to be problematic. The attempt at a constitutional revision in 1967 included the elimination of this entire section; it got less than 30% of the vote.

  30. As a metric, how many references to Mashiach can you find in Yesha briefings/quotations/etc. vs. references to God’s Biblical promises to the Jews?

  31. “The settlements did not take off until Begin’s election in 1977”

    But the Labor-dominated government started building some settlements immediately after the Six Day War. It alarmed the US government so much that it objected in April 1968!

    http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v20/d137

    The US position has not changed in 43 years.

  32. Charlie — see the statistics I posted. They speak for themselves. For the record, the source is the Israel Bureau of Statistics and excludes East Jerusalem.

  33. “1967 is not the breakpoint, in any case, in Israel — more like 1977 — just look at West Bank settlement demographics to see the point. [I recently found a photograph I took of the brand new sign for Elon Moreh in the summer of 1977 which caused me to look up the statistics].”

    Confusing change in theological feelings by one movement with the results of Israeli elections when Begin won and took over from Labor which had ruled Israel since 48. Change was as much due to Sfardims despising the way they were treated in Israel, sea change of disaster of Yom Kippur war. The Likud encouraged settlement in the shtachim by tax breaks etc. Of course, Begin signed Camp David with its autonomy which of course would lead to the Palestinian State.

    In both the US and Israel, the Modern-Orthodox/Dati-Leumi has shifted to the right both theologically and politically since the late ’70s.

    Chabad aside, I just don’t see the correlation to messianism.

  34. “Former YU on April 4, 2011 at 11:42 pm
    Here is a quote from a speech R’ Tzvi Yehuda gave BEFORE the war in ’67:

    “Nineteen years ago, on the night when news of the United Nations decision in favor of the re-establishment of the state of Israel reached us, when the people streamed into the streets to celebrate and rejoice, I could not go out and join in the jubilation. I sat alone and silent; a burden lay upon me. During those first hours I could not resign myself to what had been done. I could not accept the fact that indeed ‘they have…divided My land’ (Joel 4:2)! Yes [and now after 19 years] where is our Hebron–have we forgotten her?! Where is our Shehem, our Jericho–where?! Have we forgotten them?!

    And all that lies beyond the Jordan–each and every clod of earth, every region, hill, valley, every plot of land, that is part of Eretz Israel [the Land of Israel]–have we the right to give up even one grain of the Land of God?! On that night, nineteen years ago, during those hours, as I sat trembling in every limb of my body, wounded, cut, torn to pieces –I could not then rejoice.””

    His speech which was given shortly before the 67 war was taken by his followers to be prophetic-of course it was certainly rejected by people like the Rav as proper theology see eg the Ravs speech in Spring 68 durung the Lord Carradon affair.

  35. IH,

    The Kibbutz Hadati, contrary to its own bloated self-perception, has never been more than a small part of the RZ community. The same goes for its influence.

    As for “messianism”: It’s true that the Kooknik/Gush Emunim movement didn’t take off until later. However, there were many signs of Eretz Yisra’el Hashlema ideology seeping into the younger generation…may I suggest you read the article on the subject by Yoni Garb in הציונות הדתית: עידן התמורות. Also, the article by Dov Schwartz and Avi Sagi on the subject in the three-volume collection מאה שנות ציונות דתית.

  36. aiwac: thanks for the references. I will not have time to chase them, but if there is are any pertinent points made regarding R. Blau’s “messianism” hypothesis, please share them with us.

    Your assertion on Kibbutz ha’Dati feels like revisionism to me, but I am no expert and hold no allegiance. I just observe that many of the key RZ yeshivot were founded on or near these Kibbutizim.

  37. IH,

    Revisionism? Hardly. If you look at the political history of the religious movements, you’ll see that the Kibbutz Hadati was a small part of the puzzle (albeit a very vocal and self-absorbed one). The dominant force in the 50s and 60s was Hapoel Hamizrahi, which was moderate-centrist in tone, which tried to avoid going too far right or left.

    Re: Messianism

    I feel that “messianism” is a simplistic term that fails to convey the trends in RZ society that led to the slide to the right (politically and religiously). I’ll try to summarize the issues here:

    1) Dreams and Disappointment – Many RZs dreamed that Israel would be something more than just a secular vessel with religious symbols. The idea of Israel as a “Torah state” was an idea that was bounced around in intellectual discussion long after the idea had been discarded practically.

    In practice, the RZ community was very much a marginal and uninfluential section of Israeli society. Secular Zionism was at its most triumphalist – they “built the country”, after all – and many times RZ swerved between trying to expand their influence, yet keep what they had from “assimilating” (i.e. dropping the kipa) and going secular. As a result, many of the ideologues were chomping at the bit to “prove” that they were just as good as secular Zionists, if not better. To this must be added increased confidence in that ability – the increase and strengthening of RZ education, especially the growth and expansion of yeshiva high schools, increased the desire to end the feeling of groveling subservience.

    2) The Younger Generation – Key parts and leaders of the politically and socially active youth were deeply disappointed in their parents’ generation, including the political leadership. They felt that they had all essentially resigned themselves to being willing inferiors to the secular hegemony, and accomodationist in the extreme. Groups like Gahelet and the “young guard” of the Mafdal toyed with different ways of breaking this hegemony and increasing their influence (including. 1967 presented a perfect chance to break with the moderate “old guard” and endorse Eretz Yisrael Hashlema.

    Indeed, the driving force behind this move was the youth. The Young guard of Mizrahi marched to the Kotel as a statement that we should hold it forever. Prof. Asher Cohen mentions how he heard of the settlement enthusiasm in Bnei Akiva, and he didn’t hear of Rav Kook, pere or fils.

    3) Decline in secular Zionism – for reasons I won’t go into here, many secular Zionists were increasingly losing confidence and enthusiasm for their cause, esp. after 1967. Success had turned matters routine, and many formerly buried currents of negation and anti-Zionism were coming back. They would explode after the Yom Kippur War.

    RZ youths, so accustomed to the scorn and aloofness of their secular counterparts, saw their chance. Now was the opportunity to prove that they could be more “Zionist than the Zionists”, more “pioneers than the pioneers”.

    R. Kook style messianism merely augmented already existing feelings.

  38. Also, don’t forget the influence of yeshivot hesder and yeshiva high schools on religious observance and punctillousness. Most of these were in cities, and even those which were near kibbutzim were not really affected by them (yeshivot being “greedy institutions”).

    The fact that “settlement” didn’t take off on a massive scale until 1977 is more a matter of opportunity than catalyst.

  39. I think people are missing what R. Blau meant by “messianic.” In the abstract anyone can say that the establishment of the state is part of a redemptive process, but still see politics as quintessentially pragmatic. RZ has become politically messianic: decisions are no longer weighed for cost and benefits, or based on what can practically be achieved and sustained, because as a messianic process success is guaranteed. The result is that the RZ right wing continually presses the country into tenuous arrangements with the belief that all will be resolved in their favor no matter what. Realpolitik reflects a lack of emunah in this mindset.

  40. MJ,

    IMO, the amount of RZ Jews who fit that particular description is decreasing.

  41. While I am not nor have I ever been a BA member, I think that a careful observer of RZ would agree that RZ moved from its pre 1967 Hashkafic POV based on the results of 1967 and the views of R Zvi Yehudah Kook ZL.

  42. Here is a post R’ Gil wrote in 2006:

    http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2006/04/rav-soloveitchiks-zionism_05.html

    With regard to RYBS, it is important to note that his comments on Zionism were coming from and rejecting his Brisker upbringing. An Agudist approach is much more moderate than Brisker or Yerushalmi, so I ask again l’maaseh ex post what is the difference between the 2.

    The easy answer is saying hallel on Yom Haatzmaut. However, it can be argued that R’ Soloveichik’s psak for the YU beis medrash to say it as a yachid after davening is not so different than chareidi Jews who recognize the need to thank Hashem for the State, but do not feel it should be part of davening. Private recitation of Hallel is not davening. In YU, they also did not say “reishit tzmichat geulateinu”. In kol dodi dofek he said that the state has religious significance, but did not really explain in what sense. RHS sees it as a form of malchus but RYBS never said such a thing.

  43. Steve,

    The RZ community pre-1967 didn’t have a monolithic “hashkafic POV” (it still doesn’t). It was a big mish-mash of complementary and contradictory attitudes brought from the countries of origin. You had Kookniks, Hirschniks, Mizrochniks &c.

    Indeed, the period of the 50s and 60s was one of much ideological searching by the RZ younger generation. There’s even a story I read of how the Yavneh student group in Israel met with Amram Bloi to learn his side.

  44. Aiwac-thanks for your point. Does anyone here think that BA has less impact in the US than it had previously, especially from the 1950s-1970s.

  45. I recently attended a dinner where the speaker was a RZ who views himself as the heir to the leadership of the Likud. I think that RZ, especially the dominant strain within RZ that is pro settlements, is propably even in a more lonely political and hashkafic corner than ever. One cannot discount the self-damage done by the actions of Goldstein and Amir. It is great that RZ has now realized that Kiruv is important. However, RZ, for reasons best known to their leaders, IMO, have not sought alliances with Charedim or Sefardim, as opposed to the post Zionist secular left, which sees no difference between a RZ settler and a Charedi.

  46. While I salute his effort, I find Prof. Sarna’s article to be flawed in a number of important ways.

    1) His statement that American Jewish views on Israel increasingly mirror those in Israel is hard to swallow. If the media voices are anything to go by, American Jews are overwhelmingly on the liberal scale of the spectrum. Parties like Meretz and Kadima would likely have much greater support there than here. Where here there is often a balance or at least tight race between left and right, there it is very lopsided in favor of certain positions.

    If anything, there is much greater diversity of nuanced opinion here. There is less black and white and many more shades of grey.
    Anyone who doesn’t believe this is invited to go to Yaacov Lozowick’s blog and see for themselves an example of this.

    2) I have to ask how one would educate about American Jewish Life, especially since the issue is so contested. It feels like any approach will anger a great number of people.

    I mean, how does one discuss the huge rate of intermarriage and the general drop in affiliation across the board, for instance? Favorably, a la the pluralists? Negatively, a la the evil conservatives (small “c”)? How does one teach denominations? Reform and Conservative in Israel is not the same thing as in the states.

    3) The argument that Israelis know next to nothing about their American counterparts is hard to believe.

    Forget the fact that there are many Israelis who work in the states and keep in contact with their family back home. Forget that many also go to study abroad.

    Many works of non-Orthodox Jews or of American Jews have been translated into Hebrew by major publishing houses. Just recently a book on Mordechai Kaplan came out by Yediot. Books such as these are marketed to the broader Israeli public, not just the religious, and are quite successful.

    Methinks Sarna is too obsessed with high school and university students (hence his complaints about the lack of courses) and the lack of education of Knesset members. But these are local issues, not signs of “wholesale ignorance”.

    These things can be solved with more cultural contacts and meetings, including digital methods. Sarna needs to leave the ivory tower and work harder on understanding broader Israeli society in general.

  47. I also think that the “Diaspora impact report” idea is a very slippery slope and can easily be used as an argument for all appeasement, all the time.

  48. I agree with aiwac that Prof. Sarna overstates his case. A good counter-example is the inability of American Jews to understand why non-Orthodox Israeli Jews do not find liberal movements compelling.

    But, he does have a valid point about the tone-deafness of MKs to issues where Israel is de-facto creating global policy such as in regard to “Who is a Jew” (just as, arguably, the American Reform movement did when it accepted patrilineal descent).

    I should add this tone-deafness amongst MKs is a more general problem – e.g. the “hasbara” failure. When I was living in the UK, it was painful to watch Israeli MKs flounder when being interviewed on the in-depth news segments on Channel 4 News (Jon Snow) or Newsnight (Jeremy Paxman et al.). IMO they simply are unable to explain their narrative in a manner that makes sense to an outsider.

  49. IH-I agree with you re the failure of MKs to explain their narrative in a clear concise manner that has a beginning, middle and end. Regardless of their ideological differences, the best advocates for Israel were Abba Eban, Chaim Herzog, of blessed memory and Yivadleinu LChaim, Benjamin Netanyahu.

  50. Source for psak of RZSA?

  51. I don’t buy any of the hasbara arguments. Have you ever seen a Palestinian spokesman who made a compelling case? No one who is sympathetic to the Palestinians ever became so because of Saeb Erekat or Hanan Ashrawi interviews on TV.

    People form opinions in ways other than from hearing official spokesmen reciting their lines.

  52. DES-I think that there is a statement in the Talmud in RH about shopping for kulos from both Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai.

  53. S-even if you don’t buy the arguments of Erekat & Ashrawi, they sound articulate in presenting their message in sound bites.

  54. S. – as an example, Israeli MKs would get on UK television with the lines defending Israeli counterstrikes in Gaza, with civilian casualties, about how any country would defend its citizens similarly in response to terrorist attacks. But, this simply did not compute, let alone resonate, for Brits who lived through the IRA terror for many years.

    I am NOT saying the situations are analogous, just that the MKs were unable to articulate their position in language the Brits could understand. Similarly, on Sarna’s point, MK Rotem was completely flummoxed by the reaction to his conversion bill in the Diaspora.

    In both cases, My view is that it is a failure of communicating in a manner the other side can understand; which, is largely due to cultural illiteracy.

  55. >S-even if you don’t buy the arguments of Erekat & Ashrawi, they sound articulate in presenting their message in sound bites.

    I’m not about to get into a “yes they do” “no they don’t” back and forth, but let me just say, no they don’t. They sound like flacks in suits, they sound emotional, and their accents and voices grates.

  56. >S. – as an example, Israeli MKs would get on UK television with the lines defending Israeli counterstrikes in Gaza, with civilian casualties, about how any country would defend its citizens similarly in response to terrorist attacks. But, this simply did not compute, let alone resonate, for Brits who lived through the IRA terror for many years.

    First of all, Britain has its own demons with Israel. Brits also (feel) that they were exposed to Israeli terrorism.

    Secondly, they can’t dispel opinions people already held so easily. The opinion which people hold is that Israel is occupying/ stealing Palestinian land, and they should stop occupying/ stealing that land.

    Maybe there is no language that Israeli MKs can speak to Brits with.

  57. There was a piece in the Sunday NYT about human remains, found and not found, at the WTC site: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/03/nyregion/03remains.html.

    It is also worth noting the #1 Subway has been running through the site itself since soon after the tragedy. Although covered with some construction material, one could see sunlight through the cracks and have cell phone reception when passing through what was the Cortlandt Street station.

    Given that many Jews perished there, has this been addressed from the perspective of halacha? Starting, most obviously, with the issues for Cohanim…

  58. S-Excellent point re anti Semitism in the UK.

  59. >S-Excellent point re anti Semitism in the UK.

    Except I was not making it about antisemitism. While there is antisemitism, the special demons Brits have about Israel are not necessarily antisemitic, and some of it naturally derives from their experience in Mandatory Palestine.

  60. S wrote:

    “Except I was not making it about antisemitism. While there is antisemitism, the special demons Brits have about Israel are not necessarily antisemitic, and some of it naturally derives from their experience in Mandatory Palestine”

    Have you read The Trials of the Diaspora?

  61. >Have you read The Trials of the Diaspora?

    No, but I wouldn’t take it so seriously without a companion volume on the history of philsemitism in England.

  62. Having lived in London for the better half of this past decade, I do not buy into the anti-Semitic (or anti-Zionist) UK rhetoric, but I am not going to debate it.

    The point remains that successful communication (and negotiation) requires cultural literacy of the other side. In this Prof. Sarna is correct, but it is a two-way street in regards to his piece.

  63. “Except I was not making it about antisemitism. While there is antisemitism, the special demons Brits have about Israel are not necessarily antisemitic, and some of it naturally derives from their experience in Mandatory Palestine.”

    S., it’s true there are feelings of regret at having issued the Balfor Declaration. Combine that with the general anti-imperial attitude and you have animosity.

    However, if you’re referring to Jewish anti-British terror in the later years of the Mandate, I highly, highly doubt that it plays a part after all this time.

  64. If it helps, Margaret Thatcher says it played a role among her colleagues in the 1980’s.

    Regarding anti-Semitism in the UK, it has been well pointed out that English speaking countries, unlike most others, tend not to fall for fascism. There wasn’t a Holocaust in the UK.

  65. Nachum,

    That may be, but it’s been twenty years since then (at least).

  66. Nachum-there was an expulsion in GB in the early Middle Ages well before the Spanish Expulsion , well documented literary anti Semitism going back to Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens as well as anti Semitism of a political nature in the 1800s against Disraeli. In addition to the Cliveden set’s appeasement, there was an openly fascist movement in the 1930s headed by Mosley, and anti Semitism/anti Zionism in the media since 1967. Except for a brief alliance of necessity in 1956, the UK has had a resolutely Arabist foreign policy for decades, both prior to and subsequent to 1948. Anthony Julius, an Oxford trained literary historian and advocate who defended Princes Diana and Deborah Lipstadt, has described anti Semitism in the UK as existing without the boots on for centuries, albeit in different formats. Philosemitism has always been present as well, but I would not place a lot of stock in its influence on British culture,academia, politics, media, etc.

  67. NACHUM:

    “Regarding anti-Semitism in the UK, it has been well pointed out that English speaking countries, unlike most others, tend not to fall for fascism.”

    sarna has an excellent essay in the volume History and Hate analyzing why anti-semitism in america and england remained (relatively) impotent. (english language per se isn’t one of the factors)

    “There wasn’t a Holocaust in the UK.”

    i guess it’s a good thing the germans didn’t capture britain.

  68. STEVE:

    a) british philo-semitism is stronger than you give it credit (although of course everything is relative)
    b) arabist foreign policy on it’s own isn’t anti-semitism

  69. >S., it’s true there are feelings of regret at having issued the Balfor Declaration. Combine that with the general anti-imperial attitude and you have animosity.

    >However, if you’re referring to Jewish anti-British terror in the later years of the Mandate, I highly, highly doubt that it plays a part after all this time.

    I think all of the above play a role. And why shouldn’t it play a role? The national narrative in Britain about Israel wasn’t formed from the movie Exodus and the like. You don’t think many a father and later a grandfather stationed in Palestine in those days had some uncomplimentary things to say? And, yes, if Israel would up being as important on the world scene as an obscure African former colony, then likely the Brits would think about it just as much – but that’s not what happened.

    Steve, you can’t draw a straight line from the expulsion to Chaucer to Dickens. That’s frankly absurd. And Dickens wasn’t really an antisemite.

    Like I said, unless you’re also prepared to contend with the long British tradition of philosemitism too, then you’re only reading half a story.

    British Arabism (if that’s the word) predates the existence of Zionism by decades if not centuries, so it’s not an antisemitic reaction. Some people were moved by Hebrew culture, some by Arabic. Naturally in the modern world those interested in the Arabs would gravitate away from Zionism, and those interested in the Jews would gravitate toward it.

  70. “You don’t think many a father and later a grandfather stationed in Palestine in those days had some uncomplimentary things to say?”

    Not to the extent that it has a substantial effect today, over 60 years later. At least I’ve yet to see any hard evidence to that effect in standard discourse. What animosity there is (certainly in scholarship) is usually because of anti-imperialism after-effects, not old memories of the Etzel and the Lehi. If you have evidence to the contrary, by all means share.

    “British Arabism (if that’s the word) predates the existence of Zionism by decades if not centuries”

    ??? How do you date it that far back?

  71. S-I strongly suggest that you and anyone else interested in the subject read Julius’ book. Julius does not draw a straight line, but indicates that anti Semitism has a long history of many forms in England. As far as Dickens is concerned, one cannot deny that one of his most celebrated works has a character, namely Fagin, whose depiction is based on anti Semitic stereotypes. As far as the British rule of the Mandate, the same took on a decidedly pro Arab tilt from its earliest days.

  72. “And Dickens wasn’t really an antisemite.”

    S., there were anti-semitic stereotypes, and there was Fagin. Fagin is a downright demonic manipulator on a level that cannot be attributed to simple prejudice.

    “Like I said, unless you’re also prepared to contend with the long British tradition of philosemitism too, then you’re only reading half a story.”

    S., WADR, it sounds like you’re working really hard to downplay British anti-semitism far more than what the evidence suggests.

    Of course there was, and is, a great deal of British philo-semitism – I’m sure you’ve read Tuchman et al as well as the material on the British Mission to Palestine &c. No serious student of history would deny love of Jews in Britain (as well as in the states).

    But anti-semitism most certainly existed and still does, perhaps more subtle and less powerful than elsewhere, but it was there nonetheless. Your extreme downplaying reminds me of the famous quote:

    “Methinks the lady doth protest too much”

  73. aiwac

    >Not to the extent that it has a substantial effect today, over 60 years later. At least I’ve yet to see any hard evidence to that effect in standard discourse. What animosity there is (certainly in scholarship) is usually because of anti-imperialism after-effects, not old memories of the Etzel and the Lehi. If you have evidence to the contrary, by all means share.

    I admit that I have no evidence, but Nachum at least pointed in the general direction. The ’80s may have been a long time ago, but my point was that the national picture of Israel in England was shaped by its own relationship with Israel. I don’t see why that should play no role in the image of Israel in Britain. If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. But I’m not convinced.

    >??? How do you date it that far back?

    Oriental studies were a big deal in England since the 1600s. If one is going to date philosemitism to Hebraism in England (as, I think, one should) then the same goes for affinities for Islam and Arab culture in England. But even if you don’t want to go back to the 1600s, England didn’t discover the Middle East and Palestine in 1917. There was a considerable English presence in the region since the early 19th century, which was decades before Zionism began, as I said.

  74. Steve, I will be glad to read Julius’s book, but as I said, a companion book on English philosemitism should also be read (or written), no?

    Steve and Aiwac,

    >S., there were anti-semitic stereotypes, and there was Fagin. Fagin is a downright demonic manipulator on a level that cannot be attributed to simple prejudice.

    Was the Wire racist?

    Was Fagin based on an antisemitic stereotype or an actual type, as Dickens maintained when he addressed the issue? My reading of many historical documents show that, sadly, there were Jews like Fagin.

    >WADR, it sounds like you’re working really hard to downplay British anti-semitism far more than what the evidence suggests.

    Not any more than you and Steve are trying to play it up. I’m not saying that there wasn’t and isn’t antisemitism in England. I’m saying that if there’s some kind of evidence that it’s a fundamentally antisemitic culture, there’s also evidence that it’s fundamentally philosemitic. I believe all the evidence taken together shows a more complex picture.

  75. MiMedinat HaYam

    steve b:

    dont think the us is so much better. we have good points on anti semitism, and bad points. ditto anti israelism, despite aipac supposed / manipulated surveys. (at least aipac gets the congress to support them. sometimes. often.)

    2. and as far as the nyt articles on wtc remains — there are abandoned and removed cemetaries all over nyc (let alone the rest of the world.) including washington cemetary between boro park / flatbush.

  76. And then there’s the recent revelation about Nixon and Kissinger…

    Regarding Margaret Thatcher, it was the Jewish Charles Saatchi who famously created the advertising campaign that got her noticed. Saatchi is now married to the Jewish Nigella Lawson, daughter of Thatcher’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, now Lord, Nigel Lawson.

  77. MiMedinat HaYam

    to IH:

    but nixon was caught on an earlier tape saying we must support the jews / israel cause they are right, even though there is no political advantage in supporting them.

  78. “Not any more than you and Steve are trying to play it up.”

    I’m not “playing anything up”.

    ” I’m saying that if there’s some kind of evidence that it’s a fundamentally antisemitic culture,”

    I never said anything of the sort. Please stop attributing positions to me which I never espoused.

    “Was Fagin based on an antisemitic stereotype or an actual type, as Dickens maintained when he addressed the issue? My reading of many historical documents show that, sadly, there were Jews like Fagin.”

    According to that logic, we are all responsible for the Bolshevik revolution, since there were many Jews in that movement. Furthermore, also according to the self-same logic, no-one is actually a racist since we can always find “actual types” that fit the relevant derogatory description.

    The problem with stereotypes is not just the question of whether they actually exist but whether they are truly representative. The fact that there were many Jewish criminals does not excuse the portrayal of the solitary Jew in the story as Fagin.

    “There was a considerable English presence in the region since the early 19th century, which was decades before Zionism began, as I said.”

    From what I know on the subject, British pro-Arabism usually had a lot less to do with cultural affinity and more a recognition of political realities (Arabs overhwelming majority in region, importance of Muslims in India &c).

  79. >I’m not “playing anything up”.

    I’m not downplaying anything.

    >Please stop attributing positions to me which I never espoused.

    Likewise.

    >According to that logic, we are all responsible for the Bolshevik revolution, since there were many Jews in that movement

    ? It’s one character. Yes, if someone in 1920 wrote a book about the rise of Bolshevism and made a Jewish character prominent, that might not be nice, and might not be PC, but that would hardly be surprising.

    I should probably mentions that I believe that to a certain degree the manners of the time have to be taken into account, and so it would be over the top to write Oliver Twist (or something similar) today. Not that Jews didn’t find it offensive then too, but surely we recognize that people had different ideas about prejudices and how to relate to minorities, and that does not make everyone from 150 years ago just awful, nasty, racist people.

    >From what I know on the subject, British pro-Arabism usually had a lot less to do with cultural affinity and more a recognition of political realities (Arabs overhwelming majority in region, importance of Muslims in India &c).

    It plays out one way in the political arena, but Arabism didn’t begin with geopolitics.

  80. “It’s one character. Yes, if someone in 1920 wrote a book about the rise of Bolshevism and made a Jewish character prominent, that might not be nice, and might not be PC, but that would hardly be surprising.”

    …so what? So it isn’t surprising? How does this make it any better or more excusable?

    When Winston Churchill wrote his “pro-Zionist” article in 1920 promoting Zionism as an antidote to Communism, the Jewish Chronicle considered it a very serious and dangerous accusation. Why should I be more lenient?

    “I should probably mentions that I believe that to a certain degree the manners of the time have to be taken into account, and so it would be over the top to write Oliver Twist (or something similar) today. Not that Jews didn’t find it offensive then too, but surely we recognize that people had different ideas about prejudices and how to relate to minorities, and that does not make everyone from 150 years ago just awful, nasty, racist people.”

    It doesn’t make Dickens “not an anti-semite” either. A product of his times, yes, but not a groisser tzaddik.

    “It plays out one way in the political arena, but Arabism didn’t begin with geopolitics.”

    No, but its primary fuel was political interest (certainly when it came to Zionism). IIRC, there were many British officers and who were anti-Zionist yet held the Arabs (or at least the non-Beduin) in contempt. So it was not always for love of the Arab.

  81. ” Persian soldiers and mercenaries served in the army; we know that Jewish regiments comprised part of these mercenary troops needed to protect this southern exposure from foreign attacks and to supervise trade and taxation there. Jewish soldiers were permitted to raise families and to engage in business.

    Life for the Jews of Elephantine was quite different from that of their brethren returning to settle in the Land of Israel: They had not been exposed to the ideas being propounded by Ezra and Nehemiah, and they had built their own temple in which two local goddesses were worshiped alongside Yahu, the God of Judah.”

    Interesting that there were Jews who did not believe that elokenu is the only God but merely a God of Judah.

  82. “New org to educate haredi community on animal rights ”

    And no commentator has yet blamed/credited PETA yet?

  83. “Interesting that there were Jews who did not believe that elokenu is the only God but merely a God of Judah.”

    This doesn’t sound so revolutionary…we know of Judaites that had various syncretist beliefs in Bayit Rishon including the idea that God had a wife (the Ashera). It’s not such a stretch for some Jews to believe that all deities were local.

  84. The geopolitical reason to be less than Zionistic has certainly existed in this country in ALL administrations-current one based on a pro Islamic feeling, the past ones based on a pro oil lobby feeling thus Ronald reagan foughtthe Jewish community very succesfully in AWACS for Saudi Arabia, Reagon recognized the PLO.
    GWB see last front page of J Post in book opf front pages from Jan 11, 2008 Bush tells Israel to end the Occupation, President complains that Palestinian state is long overdue.

  85. “we know of Judaites that had various syncretist beliefs in Bayit Rishon including the idea that God had a wife (the Ashera). ”

    or some Jews held viewpoints of different Kabballah etc far from pure monotheism of a Rambam.

  86. Bichasdei HKB”H, Yishtabach Shemo, the missing poisonous Bronz Zoo snake has been found and return to captivity.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12929499
    I have to say, that was a harrowing episode. Apparently, the venom of this cobra is highly lethal, lo aleinu. We can all recite a collective Birkat HaGomel of sorts that the snake has been captured, and this is a new miracle to mention during the Haggadah this year (-it is an *Egyptian* snake after all). Bikhol dor vador chayav Adam lir’ot et atzmo ki’ilu hu yatza mimitzrayim…

  87. “indicates that anti Semitism has a long history of many forms in England.”
    The US had a President who signed an order as General in the Civil War to remove ALL JEWS from his military department-an area of several modern states-Order 11 of Grant.
    Life is complex-to call one country a medinas shel chesed and another anti-semitic is overexaggerating on both sides.

  88. This Bronx resident is quite happy that the Cobra was found.

  89. “English speaking countries, unlike most others, tend not to fall for fascism”

    Ireland, by that time entirely English-speaking, had a brief fascist movement in the 1930s — the Blueshirts. De Valera suppressed them, as he would later suppress the (pro-Nazi) IRA in a way that was far more brutal than anything Britain did in the 1970s.

    Not exactly fascist, but with some authoritarian tendencies, was Huey Long’s regime in Louisiana. Long wasn’t an anti-Semite, but some of his supporters were, such as Father Coughlin and Leander Perez. When I visited New Orleans last year I made a point of making a side trip to Perez’ former stronghold, Plaquemines Parish. It would not have been safe for a guy from New York in a yarmulke back in Perez’ time.

    Also not exactly fascist, the Social Credit provincial government of Alberta was rabidly anti-Semitic, with bizarre economic theories.

    Also not exactly fascist, but openly favoring the wrong side in World War II, was the National Party in South Africa, which brought the world Apartheid. Admittedly most of the National Party were native Afrikaans-speakers.

    “there was an openly fascist movement in the 1930s headed by Mosley”

    And the total number of seats that fascist movement won in all elections combined is zero.

    “we are all responsible for the Bolshevik revolution, since there were many Jews in that movement”

    The Hamas Charter does claim that Zionists were responsible for the French and Bolshevik revolutions.

  90. “You don’t think many a father and later a grandfather stationed in Palestine in those days had some uncomplimentary things to say?”

    Not to the extent that it has a substantial effect today, over 60 years later.”

    Thw Holocaust certainly has an impact 60 years later-even within Israel the fights between Lechi, Hagannah have impact now. I remeber on BGs 100th birthday the only Israeli cabinet member who went to his grave was Netanyahu-the rest refused. MLK died 43 years ago he is certainly remembered.

  91. “the Social Credit provincial government of Alberta was rabidly anti-Semitic, with bizarre economic theories”
    Certainly RW-BTW-how many Jewish heads has the Canadian NDP had-the NDP is a left wing party.

  92. “Mycroft,

    So you are admitting that l’maaseh there is currently no difference between non-messianic RZ and Agudah in relation to Zionism?”

    Let me express it differently the difference between the practical viewpoint of a Rav Yacov Kamenetsky and the Rav on Zionism is very little. OIf course, since the Kamenetskys tend to be inRW institutions they tend not to emphasize ho9w close in practical hashkafa the two were.

  93. Pretty fascist, on the other hand, was one Thomas W. Wilson, as well as a little thing called the NRA. I will leave it to those who know their history to know what I’m talking about. The important thing, of course, is that they didn’t last, although they still have their apologists, as we will soon see on this thread.

    Obviously there were fascist movements in English-speaking countries, the US and UK not excepted. The important thing is that to the hamon am, they were, and are, a joke. See how Wodehouse treats Mosely, for example. I don’t think it’s the language; probably more the culture and political traditions. But the average Continental (and kal v’chomer Arab) seemed to have transitioned pretty easily from disliking Jews to hating them to putting them on cattle cars. English speakers may have a dislike of Jews, but it seldom crosses over into hatred, and they seem to draw the line at actual persecution.

    Oh, the Wodehouse line is too funny not to reproduce here:

    “The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you’re someone. You hear them shouting ‘Heil, Spode!’ and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: ‘Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?'”

  94. “I remeber on BGs 100th birthday the only Israeli cabinet member who went to his grave was Netanyahu-the rest refused.”

    You can’t remember that well. Ben Gurion’s hundredth birthday was in 1986, before Netanyahu was in any sort of cabinet, and he’s had no notable anniversaries recently.

  95. “The opinion which people hold is that Israel is occupying/ stealing Palestinian land, and they should stop occupying/ stealing that land. ”

    The feeling need not necessarily be based n anti-semitism. Building civilian housing on land occupied from another has not been tolerated since WW11. Usually, the aggressors have a fifth column “invite” them in-but figleaf of no aggresion remains.

  96. “Nachum on April 6, 2011 at 12:38 am
    “I remeber on BGs 100th birthday the only Israeli cabinet member who went to his grave was Netanyahu-the rest refused.”

    You can’t remember that well. Ben Gurion’s hundredth birthday was in 1986, before Netanyahu was in any sort of cabinet, and he’s had no notable anniversaries recently”
    Getting old-but I am trying to google where Netanyahu was the only person who showed up at BGs grave of the cabinet. Someone else please help my recollection.

  97. MYCROFT:

    “Thw Holocaust certainly has an impact 60 years later”

    yes, but the holocaust was a defining moment in modern jewish history that had a direct impact on the majority of jewish people. the palestine mandate on the other hand was a tiny blip in britain’s history.

    NACHUM:

    “English speakers may have a dislike of Jews, but it seldom crosses over into hatred, and they seem to draw the line at actual persecution.”

    the foremost reason is because in counties like england and america there are numerous “others” that are lower on the totem pole than the jews. the preponderance of numerous christian denominations (and in america no single one is majority) is also an important factor. also the two-party system (modified somewhat in england) prevents fringe movements from becoming mass movements. and both countries have strong democratic traditions. these and other reasons are outlined in the sarna essay i mentioned above.

  98. Shachar Ha'amim

    Rabbi Blau’s perspective is unfortunately very dated and reflects an antiquated view of trends that are happening in israeli society. It really pains me to say this as a talmid of his – but he is really out of touch and out of date.
    a few weeks ago there was a whole discussion in Makor Rishon about why participation in Gesher programs have gone down – amongst the reasons given were the fact that Gesher’s “dialogue” discussions are “so eighties” – i.e. reflect issues that just aren’t at the forefront anymore.

    As Rabbi Blau mentioned, however, there has been some spirited debate about the letters. Makor Rishon’s shabbat section had a debate revolving around a critique written by R. Dr. Benny Lau.
    some of the responses can be seen here http://musaf-shabbat.com/2011/03/19/%d7%aa%d7%92%d7%95%d7%91%d7%95%d7%aa-%d7%9c%d7%9e%d7%90%d7%9e%d7%a8-%d7%a7%d7%a6%d7%94-%d7%94%d7%a7%d7%95-%d7%9e%d7%90%d7%aa-%d7%91%d7%a0%d7%99-%d7%9c%d7%90%d7%95/
    notable is Prof. Moshe Koppel’s which argues that some elements of what Rabbi Blau would call “modern orthodox religious zionism” are really a different “wing” of the same “cult” of religious zionism.

    שיח כיתתי / משה קופל

    הרב בני לאו טוען – מן הסתם בצדק – שתלמידי הרב טאו מתנהגים ככת מתבדלת הרואה את העולם דרך משקפיים אידאולוגיות ודנה ככופרים את כל מי שאינו הולך בתלם. נעלם מעיניו של הרב לאו ששורש הבעיה נמצא לא בתלמידי הרב טאו בלבד אלא באידיאולוגיה המשותפת להם ולרב לאו עצמו: הממלכתיות המקדשת את המדינה ומרכיביה ללא קשר לתפקודם במציאות.

    הרב לאו מזדעזע כביכול ממלחמת בני אור ובני חושך שיזמו לדעתו בהר המור, אבל תומך עדיין במרד הקדוש “נגד כל מי שהתנגדו למהלכי התחייה ולרעיונות המזרחי”. עכשיו הוא דורש מאיתנו “להתנער מהכת הזו [הר המור]”. הוי אומר, לא עצם המלחמה של בני אור בבני חושך מפריעה לו אלא הטעות בזיהוי בני החושך.

    הרב לאו נבהל מכך שבהר המור “תורת הגאולה הפכה צרה וחדה כתער ללא שוליים וללא מרחב”. ולא עוד אלא שהרב טאו העיז להצביע למפלגת ש”ס! שומו שמים! כנראה אף לתורת הגאולה הפתוחה והרחבה של הרב לאו יש גבולות. חבל רק שהוא לא הבהיר לנו בעד מי מותר להצביע: האם רק לבית היהודי או שמא כדי “להשתלב עם התנועה הציונית” עדיף להצביע למפא”י?

    לדעת הרב לאו, מכתב הברכה של הרב טאו לנשיא לשעבר קצב נובע מממלכתיות פסולה הרואה את בית הנשיא כסמל הממלכה ומסתייגת מבית המשפט ומהתקשורת. אלא שהרב לאו לא מצא לנחוץ להתמודד לגופו של עניין עם תהיות רבות העולות מפסק הדין; הספיקה לו העובדה שהרב טאו לא קיבל בהכנעה הראויה את קביעתם של כ”ק שופטי בית המשפט. כנראה, לטעמו של הרב לאו, בית המשפט והתקשורת הם הסמלים האמתיים של הממלכה ואותם אסור לערער מטעמים ממלכתיים. הוא אינו חולק על תורת יסוד כיסא השם בעולם, הוא רק תופס ברגל אחרת של הכיסא, כעיקר.

    בקיצור, אם הרב לאו משוכנע, בניגוד לדעתו של הרב טאו, שהתקשורת אינה נלעגת ושבית המשפט אינו מסוכן, יואיל נא לטעון לגופו של עניין. הטענה שדעותיו של הרב טאו הן כפירה בעיקרי אמונה של הציונות הדתית לפי הבנת הרב לאו נשמעות – ולא בכדי – כויכוח סרק בין שני פלגים של אותה כת.

    פרופ’ משה קופל הוא איש המחלקה למדעי המחשב באוניברסיטת בר-אילן

  99. Shalom Rosenfeld

    Re: Haredi rabbis and MDA:

    Has anyone seen the kol koreh? Has Gerrer signed on?

  100. Re: MDA:

    That’s cool. They can also refuse to be treated by the MDA. Fair?

    “MDA is the only national organization in the State which does not have a rabbi,”

    Oh, so it’s all about extorting more make-work jobs, in much the way they tried to extort some from El Al a few years back. Lovely.

  101. “Generally, no. Taxes, or other things which one is legally obligated to give might count as tzedakah, especially if they are supporting those in need, but they do not count toward ma’aser kesafim. The reasoning is that since you never really saw the money in the first place, you never experienced it as profit.”

    This is nonsense on stilts, in addition to being a typical left-wing view I’d expect from the Uri L’Tzedek and Huffington Post crowd, i.e., your money doesn’t really belong to you. See last week’s links.

  102. Shalom Rosenfeld

    Re: Rabbis & MDA

    I suspect another issue here is once a critical mass of charedim are working at MDA, that could ease a transition towards mandatory sherut le’umi becoming conceivable for the average young charedi. Whether that’s a good thing or bad, depends who you ask …

  103. Shachar Ha’amim: you are mistranslating “kat” as “cult” instead of “sect”.

    In any event, the point that Prof. Kopel is making is that both wings of RZ share the same basic nationalistic ideology and that R. Lau’s critique strains to portray the right wing as ideologically distinct.

    Ok, but so what. The same criticism generally could be applied to every single critique by a liberal wing of a group to those to its right: You portray yourself as ideologically distinct but share the same basic beliefs, only with different areas of emphasis. The subgroups arguing always play up differences that from an external viewpoint appear insignificant compared to the shared ideology.

  104. “No one knows what percentage of Orthodox Jews falls into this “holier-than-thou” category. But they are sufficient to blur the image of observant Jews. […] They are boorish, intolerant, unable to look you in the eye as equal Jews. Their way is the only way. […]
    Surprisingly, in my experience, the holier-than-thou attitude is more common among a segment of the American Orthodox population than among those who call themselves religious in Israel (and know on average a great deal more about Jewish religious practice than their American cousins). Perhaps it is the siege mentality of being a remnant minority in a sea of non-Jews.”

    Well said.

  105. Shachar Ha'amim

    MJ – you are correct – “sect” is more accurate than “cult” in that context

    for an answer to the rest of your question read the last six months of postings here http://benchorin.blogspot.com/

  106. Personally, I don’t understand why one can’t do both – believe one is right religiously yet also respect other opinions…but maybe that’s just me.

  107. Jonathan Kolatch’s article has several Halachic approximations.

    “There are those who will not eat in a kosher certified restaurant that is not Sabbath-observant, oblivious to the fact that it is the food that is being certified, not the restaurant or its workers.”

    Of that they may be oblivious, but not from the Mishna Brura (318:4) who forbids the use of kelim which have been used for cooking on Shabbos, if they haven’t passed a’agalah… And I heard the Arugath Habosem wrote that one simply must throw them.

    “vegetarian restaurants, which are close to 100 percent kosher without the certification”

    Really ? And what about worms, insects, and other nature-friendly inhabitants of all the vegetarian restaurants ? Has a proper verification been done ? Some even say it is impossible to clean lettuce nowadays (in Israel, at least).

    “You cannot be more kosher than kosher.”

    “My uncle, who has read my writings, asks with more than a little annoyance why, if I eat vegetables at a non-kosher restaurant in China or Japan, I insist on kosher or vegetarian restaurants back home. My answer is that here I have a choice.”

    I don’t understand. Or it is kosher, or it is not (according to the author). Then what does it matter if you have the choice or not ? If you don’t eat something in NYC because it is not kosher, then how has is suddenly become kosher in Beijing ?

    I suppose people should learn a bit about orthodoxy before criticizing Orthodoxes.

  108. Shachar Ha’amim – perhaps you could give a brief abstract as I occasionally have to work.

  109. Non-traditional items showing up on Seder plates:
    > the Shalom Center’s“Passover of Peace: A Seder for the children of Abraham, Hagar and Sarah.”

    Why are they marginalizing Keturah?

  110. Rafael Araujo

    Because they hold that Keturah is Hagar 🙂

  111. Was the Kolbrenner story really published in Hamodia? It mentions MO rabbis in an unqualified manner. Maybe it is OK when they are steps on the ladder of frumkeit.

    The article is vague about the disappointments he encountered regarding his disabled son. If I recall correctly Dr. Kolbrenner who once published an open letter about trying to get his son into a mainstream hareidi school and getting accepted but then rejected because the principal claimed that it would harm the school’s reputation.

  112. Don’t laugh: I distinctly remember some Reform figure complaining a few years ago that their new version of Shemona Esrei, which included the Imahot, didn’t include Bilha and Zilpa.

  113. The Kolatch piece is well-intentioned and has a kernel of truth, but is embarrassingly poorly done.

  114. carlos,

    Could you elaborate?

  115. “but indicates that anti Semitism has a long history of many forms in England.”

    Where doesn’t anti-semitism have a long history

  116. “Where doesn’t anti-semitism have a long history”

    China? India? Japan?

    But then, the question of whether there is anti-semitism there at all (or to a substantial degree) is debatable.

  117. MiMedinat HaYam

    1. because kibbutz ketura is the outpost of reform judaism in israel. and they think its real leftist, cause its a kibbutz. little do they know / understand that all the kibbutzim, are socialist failures, and moderate capitalist success stories.

    change of pace for the political debate here.

    2. “This Bronx resident is quite happy that the Cobra was found” — i dont think so. the statistics indicate its insignificant. you, for one should know that.

    3. “The feeling need not necessarily be based n anti-semitism. Building civilian housing on land occupied from another has not been tolerated since WW11. Usually, the aggressors have a fifth column “invite” them in-but figleaf of no aggresion remains.”

    of course buliding on jewish (pre war) owned land in (mostly) eastern europe is perfectly acceptable. also issues of seudenten germans, and turks / greeks population transfer (i’m not even getting into cyprus), and moslem serbs takimg over christian property. and those are just european issues.)

  118. MiMedinat HaYam

    japan (and other far east nations, but japan is the leader in this) are racists against everybody, not just jews. so they are not the proper comeback.

    history of anti semitism — halacha be’yadua: esav soneh et yaakov.

  119. “a typical left-wing view I’d expect from the Uri L’Tzedek and Huffington Post crowd, i.e., your money doesn’t really belong to you”

    I thought that the Torah view is that your money doesn’t really belong to you; it belongs to HaShem.

  120. “Of that they may be oblivious, but not from the Mishna Brura (318:4) who forbids the use of kelim which have been used for cooking on Shabbos, if they haven’t passed a’agalah… And I heard the Arugath Habosem wrote that one simply must throw them.”

    Non-Jews, who own most of the kosher restaurants that are open on Shabat, aren’t bound by the Mishnah Berurah.

    And the food service at Weiler Hospital works 7 days a week. The very same keilim used for the patient food on Shabat is used for the cafeteria food on Sunday.

  121. “I thought that the Torah view is that your money doesn’t really belong to you; it belongs to HaShem.”

    That’s the whole point. This joke of an article is implying that it *doesn’t* belong to God (or you) but to the government. Of course, some people have trouble distinguishing the three.

  122. Joseph Kaplan

    “That’s the whole point. This joke of an article is implying that it *doesn’t* belong to God (or you) but to the government. Of course, some people have trouble distinguishing the three.”

    If that were actually the point, and not your back pedaling, you would have said so. Rather, you said/strongly implied that one’s money belongs to him/her; i.e., neither to the government nor to God.

  123. Shachar Ha'amim

    “Shachar Ha’amim – perhaps you could give a brief abstract as I occasionally have to work.”

    The gist of it is that there are new and vibrant trends happening in Israeli society – a lot of it under the radar of the mainstream press and reporting. People wedded to “old school” ideologies largely miss this.

    To translate it into terms relevant to Rabbi Blau – Rabbi Blau long ago developed a worldview in respect to Religious Zionism which categorizes RZ into either messianists or non-messianists. I don’t know when he started to adopt these views, but he has ceratinly framed many of his public writings on issues in connection with the RZ community in these tersm – certainly for at least 20 years or more. In his viewpoint RZ opposing certain policies or taking certain actions largely always do so b/c they are messianist. RZ who oppose leaving the Golan do so b/c they are messianic. They opposed Oslo b/c they are messianic. The criticized the courts in the Katsav ruling b/c they are messianic.
    Aside from the fallacy of this viewpoint in general – even 15-20 years ago it was not valid – the recent article simply reads like it was prepared for poblication in 1986. It simply does not acknowledge the many changes happening in RZ as well as the general Israeli society.

    For example I can assure Rabbi Blau that the various Im Tirzu activities happening in Israel – which reflect many activities that in the past were often associated with the RZ community – as he describes it “students – usually girls – who have no doubts” – are being undertaken by students – perhaps also many girls – but I can assure him that many of them are wearing jeans, and maybe don’t even believe in God, let alone a messiah.

  124. You need to think of “messianic” in broader terms than belief in a literal messiah. Gershom Scholem described many aspects of secular Zionist thought as “messianic” for similar reasons – and expressed similar concerns that this was preventing people from making clear headed political decisions because the reality of the imagined future is real enough to defer dealing with the reality of the present.

  125. For those interested in seeing how the Haggadah can be perverted into far LW causes, see the article by Michael Medved in the most recent issue of Commentary

  126. IH wrote:

    “And then there’s the recent revelation about Nixon and Kissinger…”

    Yes-but Nixon, overruled Kissinger when it counted despite his comments, during the dire days of the YK War. Yesh Kono Olam BShaah Achas. Nixon, despite Kissinger’s misgivings, also signed the Jackson-Vanick Act which had a lot to do with aiding Jews in the FSU. One searches in vein for any UK political leader during the Holocaust or subsequent thereto who would lift a finger to help Israel.

  127. MJ,

    But doesn’t one run the risk of the “no true scotsman” fallacy by labeling any policy I don’t consider rational as “messianic”?

  128. Mycroft wrote:

    “Where doesn’t anti-semitism have a long history”

    The US has always had nativist movements, as well as prominent public figures who were open anti Semites, but whose infleuence per se was limited unless they made alliances with more mainstream figures who were isolationist. Joseph Kennedy,Father Coughlin, Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh are a few classic examples. Pre WW2, the Republican Party, and not a few Democrats were also isolationist-Pearl Harbor created the example of a bipartisan foreign policy. IIRV, Sen, Vandenberg, pre WW2 was a Republican isolationist whose views were drastically affected in such a manner. IIRC, that is why an AF base was named after him.

  129. Aiwac,
    First, that would not be an instance of the fallacy. But your question is valid though not exactly deeply concerning: if the problem of messianism is a salient explanation for the phenomena in question then labeling it as such is valid. If not, then you have given an incorrect explanation. It doesn’t seem to me that the label as such is so rhetorically loaded (like words such as “extremist, delusional) that I would worry too much about its misapplication in this context.

    Again, a messianic belief in the broad sense is a vision of what the future must be like (not simply how you want it to be) and this makes any deviation from that vision unthinkable. How do you engage in good faith politics, internally or externally, under that kind of condition?

  130. “One searches in vein for any UK political leader during the Holocaust or subsequent thereto who would lift a finger to help Israel.”

    Steve — You are whitewashing the institutional and governmental anti-Semitism that reigned in the US from circa WW1 until the liberation of the concentration camps. Whereas. Britain, despite its policy in regard to Palestine, tended to philo-Semitism and saved the lives of many Jews.

    In regard to Britain and Zionism, Michael Makovsky’s “Churchill’s Promised Land” is very insightful. While I have no illusions about British policy during the mandate – my family lived through it – The State of Israel would not exist without Britain; nor would the remnants of European Jewry who were saved because Britain fought Hitler while the US was waiting it out (until Pearl Harbor forced its hand).

  131. “Pre WW2, the Republican Party, and not a few Democrats were also isolationist”

    Neither the 1936 nor the 1940 Republican nominees for President and Vice President can accurately be called isolationist.

  132. It is true that I have been writing about messianism in the religious Zionist world for decades. Both what I read from prominent rabbis and hear about the education in Israeli RZ schools (including those attended by my grandchildren) have increased my concern. Today’s article by Yehuda Mirsky listed above describes one significant element but not the only messianist RZ rabbi. There are good arguments against a Palestinian state that have nothing to do with messianism and my article was not about political prospectives or Im Tirzu. If the issues are seen as part of a messianic process then there is no basis for any political analysis. Any study of the writings of Rav Herzog (ZT”L), who authored the tefila for the state of Israel which calls Israel “reishit tzmichat geulatenu” reveals that his attitude toward the policies of Israel were not messianic. He simply saw the establishment of the state as the beginning of a process that wont be reversed. Contrast his approach to the treatment of the non-Jewish minority in Israel with that expressed in the letter of Rav Shmuel Eliyahu and others about renting apartments to Arabs. The Rav(Zt”l) in a published article denies using the term meshichiyut (messianism) because he is unaware of such a Jewish concept.
    Last night in a public discussion on Torah U’Mada I pointed to Israel and the need for Torah U’Mada to create a functioning modern halkhic state. This is true if we think in normative halakhic categories but not if we are certain of the imminent start of the messianic era. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of rabbis refered to in my op-ed oppose secular education.

  133. Shachar Ha'Amim

    Rabbi Blau – bemichalat kevodecha, I think that when you suggest that ” If the issues are seen as part of a messianic process then there is no basis for any political analysis” you are making a sweeping, broad generalization which simply lacks foundation. People with a messianic outlook can partake in the political analysis and outlook. The Temporary Council of the People which declared Jewish statehood on May 14, 1948 passed their resolution by one vote. Mr. Ben-Gurion, as well as other secular politicians who supported his decision were also infused with a form of messianic outlook. According to you, we would not have a State today – period. As these people – secular or religious – should not have been part of the political process at all as their perspective wasn’t “real politik” but was rather clouded by “messianism”

    I think you are also aware of what Rav Herzog stated regarding sales of land to non-Jews if the State did not take “macro” preventitive measures. You are presenting a very one sided view of Rav Herzog’s position.

    I too am concerned about the attitude towards secular education amongst certain elements of the RZ world. But as Prof. Koppel put it – what you would refer to as the “non-messianists” (such as Yuval Cherlow, Benny Lau, and others) who are still very “mamlachti” are really only the flip side of the same sect. One side views the army and the parliament as all supreme and empowering, the others look at the Supreme Court in the same way.

    My problem with your view is that you have over the years largely painted ALL right wing views as being driven by messianism. Even a cursory view of balanced Israeli newspapers – such as Yisrael HaYom – or even the right wing but not necessarily religious newspaper Makor Rishon will show you that views that are often popularly ascribed to the “religious right” exclusively are in fact the viewpoint of the overwhleming majority of the Jewish populace in israel – including secular, traditional and academically educated religious zionists.
    You paint in broad strokes and thus cause damage.
    Again, it pains me to write this – as a student – but I have no choice. It is clear to me that there is a certain school of thought in YU circles – talmidim of RYBS – who will NEVER admit the error of their thinking. They will ALWAYS say that peace can’t be tested in a lab, they will ALWAYS accuse people opposed to destructive policies of the Israeli government of being driven by “irrationality” and “messianism”. I don’t know why this is, but it is a fact.

  134. Dear Shachar Ha’Amim,
    Equating the secular messianism of Ben Gurion, including his pragmatic policies (accepting partition) and religious messianism is a rhetorical but not real argument. I do not educate students that any political position the I take is religiously mandated nor do I discuss it wth them. Education of the young not politics is my concern. Security considerations are not irrational or messianic and despite your stating a “fact” I an not aware of any students of the Rav Soloveitchik ZT”L) who describe the position of Boogie Yaalon (as an example) in those terms.

  135. Rabbi Blau — It would help me (and perhaps others) if you could succinctly define what you mean by “messianism” in the context of your article.

    “What role does messianism play […]
    messianism is critical to this worldview […]
    the realization of the messianic vision.”

  136. Shachar Ha'Amim

    Dear Rabbi Blau
    There are many in the RZ world who you would describe as “messianic” who also support pragmatic policies – in many areas of life – not just security and politics.
    Of course you discuss political positions – you write about them publicly quite often. What, your students are like Rabbi Tau’s – they don’t read newspapers?
    You are saying that “security considerations are not irrational or messianic” yet you consistently portray security and political viewpoints that emanate from RZ world as being problematic because they are driven by irrationality and/or messianism – even if such viewpoints are – or could be considered – inherently rational and logical.
    Yes we know – the problem with RZ is that they advocated logical and rational security views in terms that are largely irrational and unintelligible to the masses; whilst on the other hand the messianic Osloid left supported and advocated irrational and illogical security views, but they did so in rational terms, which led to their adoption and which during the years of 1993 through 2008 turned the State of Israel into the valley of the shadow of death – surely more dangerous consequences than Rabbi Tau’s messiah not coming when he expects it to come?

  137. Shachar Ha'Amim

    In my sentence “They will ALWAYS say that peace can’t be tested in a lab, they will ALWAYS accuse people opposed to destructive policies of the Israeli government of being driven by “irrationality” and “messianism”. I don’t know why this is, but it is a fact” I probably should have writeen “accuse RELIGIOUS people oppossed…”

    Though your Boogie Yaalon example is easily refuted by many examples – e.g. Brig. General Effie (Fine) Eitam. Sure he had a big kippah, beard and was a student at Mercaz Harav so he was driven by the same “messianism” and “irrationality” and came from “outside the Mizrachi as we knew it historically” – rendering his views as an experienced army officer as meaningless.

  138. http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/national/philanthropy_watch_jewish_start_ups_continue_grow

    “There are now 600 Jewish startups in North America that engage more than half a million Jews, up from about 300 startups in 2008 […] More than 150 of these Jewish startups – approximately 25 percent of survey respondents – have launched since 2008. […] Nearly 40 percent of startup founders say that they are “Just Jewish” or “post-/multi-denominational.””

  139. IH,

    I am curious how many of the start-ups are actually campus kiruv projects. All the Orthodox campus kiruv professionals that I am familiar with go to great pains to dis-associate themselves from the Orthodox groups on campus, and instead say they are “Just Jewish”.

  140. Rabbi Blau,

    If Rabbi Herzog TZ”L believed that “the establishment of the state as the beginning of a process that wont be reversed.” How would he respond to the Gaza disengagement, was that not a reversal? What about giving up control of Chevron if it happens?

  141. Rav Herzog was refering to Israel not being destroyed not about its territorial boundrues.

  142. “Rav Herzog (ZT”L), who authored the tefila for the state of Israel which calls Israel “reishit tzmichat geulatenu” reveals that his attitude toward the policies of Israel were not messianic. He simply saw the establishment of the state as the beginning of a process that wont be reversed”

    Which is different IMHO from the viewpoint of the Rav. I believe that we hope and pray that the process won’t be reversed but there are no guarantees. I believe that The Ravs speech in Rubin Schul in the Spring of 1968 clearly shows that keeping of territories is a military/diplomatic question that Rabbis have no special expertise in. As the Rav stated he would give up the Kotel to save one life. Clearly a process that can be reversed. At any moment decisions have to be made on a rational basis by those who will have to suffer the consequences of the decision-certainty that the process can’t be reversed is certainly not aprt of that process.

  143. MiMedinat HaYam

    on how jews build houses:

    that is only the first of several topics the writer discusses (yet he completely fails to discuss jewish fung shui, otherwise known as “tzavaat rav yehudah hachasdid” (covered in a hirhurim post a couple of years ago.)

    and he mentions kula for dispensing with “matnot kehuna”m , but does not mention what it is (short of approving it personally.)

    2. on funding jewish start ups:

    only jews who attended day schools founded these “start ups” (according to the article). well, send this info to the federations, etc. not just to the lay masses.

    and social services orgs practically dont exist, despite a perceived need (according to the article). well, the charedim (somewhat) excel at this. mostly chassidim, few yeshivish.

  144. Rabbi Blau,

    If control of Beer Sheva was seen by Rav Herzog as progress towards geulah, then logically, giving up territory must be viewed as reversing progress?

    If the State of Israel existed in Uganda I doubt Rabbi Herzog would have viewed that as “reishit tzmichat geulateinu”?

    It is Jewish sovereignty over the territorial boundaries of the Eretz Yisrael that creates the “reishit tzmichat geulateinu”. Saying that that process wont be reversed is messianic.

  145. “It is Jewish sovereignty over the territorial boundaries of the Eretz Yisrael that creates the “reishit tzmichat geulateinu”. Saying that that process wont be reversed is messianic”
    Precisely why reishit zmichat geulateinu smells of messianism and precisely why some MO rabbonim are opposed to such language despite being in favor of the medinah.

  146. “How would he respond to the Gaza disengagement, was that not a reversal?”

    two steps foward, one step back
    was the geulah we will celebrate in two weeks any less of a geulah because it took 40 years to reach israel and then many more years to consolidate terrritorial control and build the beis hamikdash?

  147. Shachar Ha'Amim

    “Which is different IMHO from the viewpoint of the Rav. I believe that we hope and pray that the process won’t be reversed but there are no guarantees. I believe that The Ravs speech in Rubin Schul in the Spring of 1968 clearly shows that keeping of territories is a military/diplomatic question that Rabbis have no special expertise in. As the Rav stated he would give up the Kotel to save one life. Clearly a process that can be reversed. At any moment decisions have to be made on a rational basis by those who will have to suffer the consequences of the decision-certainty that the process can’t be reversed is certainly not aprt of that process”

    Ben-Gurion’s decision to declare a State was not made rationally. It passed in the Temporary Council of the People by one vote. The War of Independence – including Ben-Gurion’s decisions to conquer additional territory awarded to the Arab state or declared as international territory – led directly to the deaths of 1% of the Jewish population in the Land of Israel at that time.
    If RYBS would have given up the Kotel to save one life, then he certainly would have – and should have – suggested dismantling the State to save even more lives.
    RYBS’ view on listening to the political and ecurity experts has no relevance halacha lemayseh in today’s Israel where there are are opposing views on such by many political and security experts, and morfeso when there is also corruption in the security forces as well as the political echelons. It is simply a nice “vort” that was said in Rubin shul in 1968 but it would be even more irrational to base a political worldview on that outlook than it would be to base one on Rav Tzvi Tau’s deranged and cultic religious messianism.

  148. “How would he respond to the Gaza disengagement, was that not a reversal?”

    two steps foward, one step back”
    At the time I went to a weekly Hebrew chumash shiur where the Instructor used to guarrantee that hitnachlut couldn’t happen.

  149. “If RYBS would have given up the Kotel to save one life, then he certainly would have – and should have – suggested dismantling the State to save even more lives.”

    Not necessarily-he was clear if it would save a life-he stated the possibility that giving up something might encourage more problems for Jews-but those decisions are for experts in security/ diplomacy etc NOT a halachik one.

    “RYBS’ view on listening to the political and ecurity experts has no relevance halacha lemayseh in today’s Israel where there are are opposing views on such by many political and security experts, and morfeso when there is also corruption in the security forces as well as the political echelons”
    A decision has to be made so who makes such decisions in your opinion.

  150. “Nachum on April 6, 2011 at 9:35 am
    “Generally, no. Taxes, or other things which one is legally obligated to give might count as tzedakah, especially if they are supporting those in need, but they do not count toward ma’aser kesafim. The reasoning is that since you never really saw the money in the first place, you never experienced it as profit.”

    This is nonsense on stilts, in addition to being a typical left-wing view”

    Agree with Nachum-except that it is not a typical left wing view-that much of taxes in Western countries counts as maaser kesafim is more obvious than charity given to most Yeshivot to pay administrators who are not poor to put it mildly.

  151. brain driving- I think R’ Asher Weiss will say it’s makeh bpatish.
    KT

  152. Shachar Ha'Amim

    “A decision has to be made so who makes such decisions in your opinion.”

    The legitimately elected leadership of the State – knesset and government in a decision that is politically legitimate based on the platform such public servants were elected to implement. Even if such government and knesset consists solely of Rabbis and Roshei Yeshiva and no generals. And they are entitled to consult with whomever they wish – rabbis, generals, kabbalists, marxists, teachers, tarot card readers or anyone else. The voters will express their views of that at the ballot box.

    I will state without equivocation that the idea that “what one sees from here can’t be seen from there” which has gained acceptance among certain elements of Israeli society (including the Har Etzion school of RZ) in order to justify elected leaders and parties radically changing their views from their party platform without returning to the voters, has no basis, is undemocratic and really reflects a paternalistic view of democratic government which has no place in a real democracy.

    In that respect the only governments in Israel that legitimately pursued the platforms they tried to implement were the 1999-2001 Ehud Barak/Labor government and the 2006-2009 Ehud Olmert/Kadima government – except for the fact that those governments were largely corrupt financially, and many of the ministers were involved in all sorts of financial and election finance scandals (and some of them are now in jail or on trial for them).

  153. Abba,

    The geulah of mitzrayim happened in a single moment, “bachatzi halayla” as we will sing shortly. There definitely was a process that has ups and downs, but geulah is c’heref ayin.

    If you want to talk about a process then you can make an argument that all of history is “reishit tzmichat geulateinu”.
    Declaring a specific historical occurence as part of the geulah is entirely different and has very different therological implications.
    You are interpreting Rav Herzog as saying, “all of world history is part of Hashem’s plan, and His plan will never be reversed. We just cannot understand his plan.” That may be true, but it eliminates much of the religious meaning that many ascribe to the State of Israel.

  154. ” decision has to be made so who makes such decisions in your opinion.”

    The legitimately elected leadership of the State – knesset and government in a decision that is politically legitimate based on the platform such public servants were elected to implement.”

    Democracies run on the principle that we elect our representatives and they decide actions that have to be done during the term of office-in the US party platforms are hardly read. Leaders are legitimate even if they renounce their platform. BTW-in Israel it should be more difficultto to do that given the parliamentary system of government.

  155. Of course the brain-car is forbidden. Melechet machshevet asrah Torah. (Just joking.)

  156. Re Sioux City -area tri state-Iowa,SD, and Nebraska-very accessible to I-29 about halfway between I-90 and I-80. Spent a night in the area less than a year ago.

  157. “R. Efrem Goldberg gives invocation before the House of Reps”

    I overheard one of the house members whisper to another: “Hey, that’s Gil Student’s friend up there.” 🙂

  158. MiMedinat HaYam

    in that case, one can be a passenger in a completely computer (sensor) controlled car. nothing to do with human mind interactions. such as (supposedly) bay area bart system. and i believe washington metro.

    note: earlier editions of shmirat shabat kehilchata allows a ben chu”l to be a passenger in a ben e”y driven car on yom tov sheni in israel. the rationale is that there is no marit ayin on yom tov sheni (which is true to everybody except members of chumra du jour club, which won out in the next printing) and the only reason we cannot be passengers in such a car in chu”l (or anywhere on shabat / first day yom tov) is because of marit ayin.

    2. to rafael — i know boca is an extension of canada, but did the whispers go all the way up to toronto?

    at least r gil doesnt put a brother in law to supervise a brother in law.

    3. “BTW-in Israel it should be more difficultto to do that given the parliamentary system of government.”

    except when everyone is afraid they’ll lose their volvo. (i know, its not a volvo anymore, but the point remains.)

    4. maybe we can farm out the sioux city operation to mind controlled shechita. no problem with messianic shochtim.

    (this is a joke)

  159. “You are interpreting Rav Herzog as saying, “all of world history is part of Hashem’s plan, and His plan will never be reversed. We just cannot understand his plan.” ”
    Then making plan to include everything including that God has a plan that we would blog on this issue.

  160. “Rafael Araujo on April 8, 2011 at 12:29 pm
    “R. Efrem Goldberg gives invocation before the House of Reps”

    I overheard one of the house members whisper to another: “Hey, that’s Gil Student’s friend up there.””
    I assume you don’t see C-Span in Toronto-but generally almost no one is ever in the House chambers even when important things are being debated. The speaker is almost never presiding-picture of presidng officer is clearly not Boehner.
    Palm Beach County is important in US politics-in 2008 BHO was interviewed by the Palm Beach Local Jewish paper. Florida swing state-COngressman from general area include Debra Wasserman Schultz just nominated by BHO to be next chair of DNC and Allen West a Tea Party retired COlonel.
    Of course, Palm Beach County is also the source of how a president became President despite most of the voters in the deciding state intending to vote for his opponent-remember butterfly ballot and 7-2 election in the only one that counted.

  161. Rafael Araujo

    mycroft, you do know I was joking, right? Rabbi Goldberg is a friend of Gil’s.

  162. “BTW-in Israel it should be more difficultto to do that given the parliamentary system of government.”

    except when everyone is afraid they’ll lose their volvo”

    But we still need a system-it can’t be bshriirut libi elech-a la the Gush Katif refuseniks-that is not to say that I agree as a policy matter with running away-but that is a decision for Israel’s elected leadership.

  163. “Rafael Araujo on April 8, 2011 at 3:23 pm
    mycroft, you do know I was joking, right? Rabbi Goldberg is a friend of Gil’s.”

    Not that he needs my haskama but my sense he is liked at BRS.

  164. IH wrote:

    “You are whitewashing the institutional and governmental anti-Semitism that reigned in the US from circa WW1 until the liberation of the concentration camps. Whereas. Britain, despite its policy in regard to Palestine, tended to philo-Semitism and saved the lives of many Jews.

    In regard to Britain and Zionism, Michael Makovsky’s “Churchill’s Promised Land” is very insightful. While I have no illusions about British policy during the mandate – my family lived through it – The State of Israel would not exist without Britain; nor would the remnants of European Jewry who were saved because Britain fought Hitler while the US was waiting it out (until Pearl Harbor forced its hand).”

    Let’s take one issue at a time. Congress, in the early 1920s, passed a very restrictive immigration law that remained on the books until shortly after WW2. Henry Ford, Father Coughlin, the KKK, and Charles Lindberg were powerful public anti Semites. Yet, FDR’s New Deal was conceived of, staffed by and administered by many Jews.

    GB was no less isolationist, but one should not discount the roles of the Cliveden set and Mosley. Churchill was the last person who either that set or the German oriented royalty wanted as PM. He was essentially the only person who saw the Nazis as the unmitigated evil that they were, as opposed to Chamberlain and Halifax. The writings of such personae as Sidney Webb, Anthony Eden, Harold Nicholson, and others are devoid of philo Semitism. One cannot deny that each British government cut down the immigration quotas to then Mandatory Palestine or that the Struma , IIRC, was sunk by a British ship or submarine.

    Yes, when Poland was attacked, GB declared war. Yet, only an alliance between GB, the US and the FSU , which was orchestrated by FDR, defeated Hitler. WADR, after El Alamein, Monty’s role was basically to not allow Patton, the best American general in the war, to achieve in a short period of time, that which take Monty months to even consider contemplating. Churchill, as opposed to FDR and Generals Marshall and Eisenhower, viewed Normandy as impregnable, and despite his brilliant oratory, advocated striking at the so-called “soft underbelly” of Europe, which would have been at best a sideshow, as was the campaign in Italy, and at worst a repeat of the British disaster at Gallipoli. FDR, and Generals Eisenhower, Marshall and Brooke deserve all of the credit for being the architects of victory in WW2.

  165. Mycroft wrote:

    “A decision has to be made so who makes such decisions in your opinion”

    Obviously, the defense and intelligence communities IMO should have been consulted prior to the submission of Oslo I-when in fact Beilin and Peres presented Oslo I as a fait accompli. WADR, RYBS’s views from 1967 assumed consultations with experts, as opposed to wishful thinking about a new Middle East or the like.

  166. So, Steve, according to you, the Rav only held that the duly elected government of Israel should be obeyed if they do what the generals want, otherwise, we must ask rabbonim what to do? OT do you really believe that no one even _spoke_ to the intelligence and military communities before Oslo?

  167. “OT do you really believe that no one even _spoke_ to the intelligence and military communities before Oslo?”
    Not talking about Steve-but certainly many take Steves approach as a figleaf that they are opposed to ceding territory even if it would save lives.

  168. “Of course, Palm Beach County is also the source of how a president became President despite most of the voters in the deciding state intending to vote for his opponent-remember butterfly ballot and 7-2 election in the only one that counted.”

    Nonsense. Every count of votes in Florida proved that it went for Bush.

  169. http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/focus-u-s-a/what-did-israeli-lawmakers-learn-about-the-u-s-jewish-community-1.354928

    follows up on issues raised by Prof Sarna’s JTA article discussed earlier in this thread.  I found this quotation particularly revealing:

    “MK Daniel Ben-Simon (Labor) told Haaretz that the most heartening moment for him took place at the dinner at Brandeis University. “It wasn’t on the political level”, he clarified. “We had a dinner at Brandeis with students – and something happened there that you wouldn’t see in Israel.

    They had kosher and non-kosher dinner options. I took a kosher dinner – and I wanted to take an ice cream, which was obviously not kosher together. And an Orthodox rabbi helped me find it – he came with me to take the non-kosher ice cream and said ‘I won’t judge you, Mr. Ben-Simon.’ I liked that moment because it was a moment in which an Ultra-Orthodox went with a non-kosher guy with grace and a smile. It’s something we need to learn in Israel. To live together and respect each other, like we did in that small restaurant – you eat kosher and I non-kosher, and we still can be at the same place and eat together” 

  170. In fact, the kosher cafeteria in Brandeis is in a room that also has a non-kosher cafeteria. That way, the kosher kids are not segregated and kosher and non-kosher students can, and often do, eat together

  171. “Nachum on April 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm
    “Of course, Palm Beach County is also the source of how a president became President despite most of the voters in the deciding state intending to vote for his opponent-remember butterfly ballot and 7-2 election in the only one that counted.”

    Nonsense. Every count of votes in Florida proved that it went for Bush.”

    Not nonsense-“the 2001 news media consortium study of the disputed ballots in the 2000 Florida recount found that there were at least four recount scenarios under which Gore would have won the state of Florida. A November 12, 2001, Washington Post article reported on the findings of the study: “[I]f Gore had found a way to trigger a statewide recount of all disputed ballots, or if the courts had required it, the result likely would have been different. An examination of uncounted ballots throughout Florida found enough where voter intent was clear to give Gore the narrowest of margins.”

    The news media consortium that sponsored the study, which was conducted by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center, included the Associated Press, The New York Times, and CNN, as well as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post Company, and the Tribune Company (which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel).”

  172. Nachum, Mycroft: Get over it; what’s done is done.

  173. Joseph — interesting, re: Brandeis kosher cafeteria, if not exactly mainstream (would the OU certify such an arrangement?).  But also revealing is the notion of someone choosing kosher meat and then wanting an ice cream, which I suspect is incomprehensible to many Orthodox Jews (both in the US and Israel).

  174. To be clear, I should add that I know “chilonim” in Israel who reasonably believe any meat they buy in restaurants in Israel — even those in restaurants that don’t have a teudah because they are open on Shabbat — have kosher schita; and will eat it on that basis.  But, when outside of Israel, will only eat meat in kosher restaurants.  But, they may then go somewhere else for milchik coffee or dessert.

    This MK seems to be such a person.

  175. >>Nonsense. Every count of votes in Florida proved that it went for Bush.

    Not nonsense. He’s talking about the Buchanan votes.

  176. IH, I doubt the rabbi in question was “ultra-Orthodox.” I also think that explicitly saying “I’m not judging you” is wrong, wrong, wrong. I can appreciate the sentiment, but to voice it- and certainly to feel it- means one’s spiritual and halakhic antenna are cut, as R’ Schiller would say.

    Still, of course, halakhic honesty compels me to point out that there’s no issur on having ice cream after a meat meal. Waiting is a very established minhag, of course, but not law, even d’rabbanan. In fact, having a glass of milk with your hamburger is, at most, a d’rabbanan. Still, see my first paragraph. And contrary to Joseph Kaplan’s comment, eating at the same table *is* a problem halakhically, for a few reasons.

  177. Shachar Ha'amim

    “But we still need a system-it can’t be bshriirut libi elech-a la the Gush Katif refuseniks-that is not to say that I agree as a policy matter with running away-but that is a decision for Israel’s elected leadership.”

    was Martin Luther King also “bshriirut libi elech”?
    I believe that any democratic system of government must also take into account the concept of civil disobedience which is part and parcel of a democratic system (though there are those who think it isn’t).

    But you are dragging us down the path of a different discussion. In Rubin Shul in 1968 RYBS presented a nice “vort” that pretends that the State of Israel is run by a clean system of government and that everyone is honest, and that there is this forum of security experts that everyone agrees to rely on and who are also clean and honest. But real life, and the real State of Israel isn’t like that.

    I find it interesting that many of the same Rabbis who advocate the position of RYBS regarding “security” issues also serve as ethicists and offer opinions on a whole slew of issues that don’t necessarily derive from studying Yoreh Deah and commentaries (Yuval Cherlow comes to mind – he sits on all sorts of committees).

  178. “do you really believe that no one even _spoke_ to the intelligence and military communities before Oslo”

    Just recently some ex heads of IDF, Mossad, andShin Bet have advocated withdrawal from essentially all of the shetachim.
    It is certainly a position that an elected government ofIsrael could reasonably accept-an elected government of Israel could reasonably not accept such a position as well. That is a decision for ALL Israelis as decided by its elected re[resentatives-not an issue for RY etc in galus.

  179. “Joseph Kaplan on April 9, 2011 at 11:18 pm
    Nachum, Mycroft: Get over it; what’s done is done”
    Joseph:
    So the Dred Scott decision would also be an example of what’s done is done.
    Of course, for Jews thank God that Gore did not win-it would have been disastorous for Jews to have had Leiberman a Jew as VP. Everybody would have blamed 9/11 on that.

  180. “But you are dragging us down the path of a different discussion. In Rubin Shul in 1968 RYBS presented a nice “vort” that pretends that the State of Israel is run by a clean system of government and that everyone is honest, and that there is this forum of security experts that everyone agrees to rely on and who are also clean and honest.”
    The amin part of the drasha was very much anti-messianic-certainly opposed to the beitarniks who had threatened nasty demonstations against a guest of YU-Lord Carradon of course not needing YU smartly cancelled his acceptance.
    One needs a decision and from security matters it is certainly at least as likely that one who does not have theological reasons to keep the shetachim will more likely to be straight in theological matters than one who does. Certainly, more likely that those in galut who enjoy 1 week tours of “Israels heartland’. But simply a call for the majority of Israelis-their decision.

    But real life, and the real State of Israel isn’t like that.

    I find it interesting that many of the same Rabbis who advocate the position of RYBS regarding “security” issues also serve as ethicists and offer opinions on a whole slew of issues that don’t necessarily derive from studying Yoreh Deah and commentaries

  181. “But real life, and the real State of Israel isn’t like that.

    I find it interesting that many of the same Rabbis who advocate the position of RYBS regarding “security” issues also serve as ethicists and offer opinions on a whole slew of issues that don’t necessarily derive from studying Yoreh Deah and commentaries”

    I meant to comment that is a falsehood of the first order-no more accurate than those who follow the reverse are just following the anti-religious Jabotinsky.

  182. “was Martin Luther King also “bshriirut libi elech”?
    I believe that any democratic system of government must also take into account the concept of civil disobedience which is part and parcel of a democratic system (though there are those who think it isn’t”

    Government decisions should be based on votes of either the population but usually on the votes of representatives elected by the population. BTW-Probably Thurgood Marshall was much more responsible forCivil Rights Revolution than MLK.

  183. NO comments on nonOrthjodox IDF Rabbi-Maybe Israel already recognizes other Judaisms see eg money for nonOrtho schul in modiin and especially accepting converts as Jews from non Ortho Rabbis. Of course, Ortho Rabbis conversions have a difficulty being accepted but that is a different story.

  184. Shachar Ha'amim

    Mycroft – when I referred to “who advocate the position of RYBS regarding “security” issues” I didn’t mean RYBS’ position regarding the RESOLUTION to security issues. Frankly, no one knows what that REALLY was. There are those who will paint him as being a leftist. Other students will note that it is documented that he told an emissary of Begin that a PLO state would be a “genocidal state”.
    I was referring to his position regarding “security” issues in the sense of his demand that Rabbis don’t have anything to contribute in this arena and should thus defer to “experts”. Aside from my view as to how this is irrelevant in the real world – and unlike the fictional world of lomdus created by the lithuanian yeshivot, the State of Israel exists in the REAL world, with REAl enemies and REAL crooked politicians and REAL crooked generals – I was also pointing out how many Rabbis who advocate this position, frankly do get involved in areas where Rabbis should presumably (for similar reasons) also defer to experts. Moreover many are actually very heavily involved in politics and actively participated in various political movements.
    So there was nothing false about what I wrote.

  185. Moreover, the very act of saying that “rabbis shouldn’t get involved” when everyone knows full well the actual positions of those who say such things is simply disingenuous. R’ Amital’s joining the Peres government, and R’ Melchior constantly providing figleafs for leftist governments and parties are clearly coming down on a side of the issue, and they (unlike some right wing figures) kept calling themselves “rabbi” throughout, making a clear statement of (supposed) halakha.

  186. MDJ wrote:

    “So, Steve, according to you, the Rav only held that the duly elected government of Israel should be obeyed if they do what the generals want, otherwise, we must ask rabbonim what to do? OT do you really believe that no one even _spoke_ to the intelligence and military communities before Oslo”

    If one considers the military and intelligence establishment the experts, then the answer is that their expertise should take precedence. I have seen no evidence that the experts in question were ever consulted prior to Oslo I being presented as a fait accompli by Peres and Beilin. Sorry-Mycroft-the views of former IDF and Mossad heads, many of whom are very active in the Labor Party, really are irrelevant when compared to the unsolicited views of the IDF and Mossad heads in 1993.

  187. Mycroft wrote:

    “It is certainly a position that an elected government ofIsrael could reasonably accept-an elected government of Israel could reasonably not accept such a position as well. That is a decision for ALL Israelis as decided by its elected re[resentatives-not an issue for RY etc in galus.”

    Why? Since when do national security decisons become the right to national suicide?

  188. Shachar Ha'amim

    “Sorry-Mycroft-the views of former IDF and Mossad heads, many of whom are very active in the Labor Party, really are irrelevant when compared to the unsolicited views of the IDF and Mossad heads in 1993.”

    actually some of them gave views in when they were in the IDF or the security services which they then changed when they went tinto politics or business. For example it is well know that Ehud Barak when he was COS was vehemently opposed to the Oslo II agreements which passed in the knesset by one vote (Goldfarb’s “Mitsubishi”).
    The “bitchonistim” who just came out publicly for yet another version of the Geneva initiative (or whatever Yossi Beilin’s latest is…) all have business and/or political interests that push them to take this view. You can’t these views as being the views of “security experts” any more than you can trust the opinion of a doctor on a drugs vs. surgery decision when the same doctor is a paid consultant to the drug company manufacturing the drugs.

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