29 August 2016

Is the Separation of Jews and Non-Jews a Torah Concept?

26 Menachem Av 5776

With regard to some statements I made in a previous blog post
"Know that mixing with gentiles either through going to them or bringing them to us, diminishes our light and darkens the world. And know, too, that anyone who facilitates their entry and presence in Eretz HaKodesh has a share in the sin of any idolatry that they commit and any Jew that they deceive. It would be better for such a person that he had never been born."
I received the following comment... 
"I would really appreciate knowing the sources you base these statements on. We are to be a 'light unto the nations' (Isaiah 49:6) yet you say that this would diminish our light. You object to non-Jews living in Israel, yet halacha specifically permits this, and it is called ger toshav. I am very confused, since you claim to be a torah observant Jew, yet you say these things which directly contradict torah concepts."
...which I would like to respond to here:

First of all, let's please establish that this reference does not refer to Am Yisrael, but to the Prophet Yeshayahu himself...
"And He [God] said, 'It is too light for you [the prophet] to be My servant, to establish the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the besieged of Israel, but I will make you a light of nations, so that My salvation shall be until the end of the earth.'"
Rashi: "And He said, “It is too light for you to be, etc.”: In My eyes, it is too small a gift that you should have this alone, that you be My servant to establish Jacob and to bring back to Me the besieged of Israel, and behold I add more to you, “And I will make you a light for the nations,” to prophesy concerning the downfall of Babylon, which will be a joy for the whole world." 
I think the problem here stems from a basic misunderstanding. There is no "mitzvah" to be "a light to the nations". At least it does not exist on any list of the 613 mitzvot that I have seen. And it certainly is not implying that Israel should follow the Xian model and send 'missionaries' throughout the world teaching Torah to non-Jews. It refers to Israel, living by Torah law in its own land. When this is the circumstance, then Israel simply IS a light for the nations - an example of how a people who lives in accordance with the Divine instructions can develop a perfectly functioning society and attain the pinacle of peace, harmony, health and prosperity for all its citizens. When that is our reality, the nations will seek to know and understand their own set of obligations to the Creator of the World, their own Sheva Mitzvot, so that they may prosper as well. 

The Torah makes it clear that we were to drive out the nations before us because they would compete with us for ownership of our land; they would want to intermingle and intermarry with us; they would be a bad influence on us and we would in time come to imitate their bad ways and thereby incur Hashem's anger and judgment, resulting in eventual exile from the land as a consequence. 

So, you tell me, given that, how does it NOT detract from our ability to be a light to the nations? It should be obvious to any honest person how churches, mosques, b'hai temples, masonic temples, etc and their associated false religions and idolatrous ideas not only defile our land, but limit the spiritual heights to which we can attain while they and all their impurity are present among us. 

I refer you to this previous post which links to four other previous blog posts which quote many sources that Rabbi Kahane referenced in the chapter on the Non-Jew in Eretz Yisrael in his book Or Hara'ayon. Better if you get the book and read the entire thing, but at least some of the quotes there can give you an idea. 

The chapter ends with the following:

"In summary, Eretz Yisrael was given to the Jewish People as a separate, isolated center, to set us apart from the nations and their alien culture. For that reason, any non-Jew wishing to live in Eretz Yisrael must accept conditions that sanctify the name of Heaven and give him unequal status in the Land, since through their acceptance he proclaims that the Land is not his and that he has no share in it. These conditions are: tribute, servitude, denying idolatry and accepting all the seven Noahide laws. Besides this, he is forbidden to live on the border, in Jerusalem, or within a Jewish city, and we are forbidden to sell him houses or to sell or lease to him fields. All this is intended to ensure that he remain apart from us and live his new life under the yoke of heaven within his own framework, that of the seven Noahide laws...."

In no way was such a concession ever conceived by Chazal to allow idolaters or even a majority of righteous non-Jews to establish residency in Eretz Yisrael, rendering Am Yisrael a minority on its own soil. The doors do not stand wide open to receive anyone who comes, not even in the case of those desiring to make the ultimate commitment by converting. 

Those who are out there beating the bushes for non-Jews and attempting out of some misconceived 'kindness' to the non-Jew to give away Israel's heritage - Torah, Shabbat, mitzvot, land - are making a very grave error for which they will have to give an account to the Almighty. 

Before one passes judgment on what is or is not a Torah concept, it's best to know what the Torah concepts are beforehand. If the commenter can bring sources which refute what is written here, I'd be interested in seeing them.