01 January 2008

How Do You Do Teshuva When You Don't Understand What You Did Wrong?

...We were talking about the need for real, effective teshuvah to bring about an end to the suffering of the Jewish people. If we did real teshuvah, we could bring Mashiach immediately. But it is clear to me from my own interactions with Jews in Eretz Yisrael, that the vast majority of people are nowhere near ready to do so.

Take for example those expelled from Gush Katif, their supporters and rabbis.

After forty years of "settlement," of living amongst the Arabs, of providing them with employment and health care, of befriending them and sharing their lives with them, they went into shock when it began to appear that they would be ousted from their homes and businesses and communities.

But why should this have come as such a surprise to a predominately religious, Torah-reading and Torah-observant crowd?

Bamidbar, Perek 33: "Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their temples, destroy their molten idols, and demolish their high places. You shall clear out the Land and settle in it, for I have given you the Land to occupy it.

... But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you, then those whom you leave over will be as spikes in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they will harass you in the land in which you settle. And it will be that what I had intended to do to them, I will do to you.
 [i.e., drive us out of the Land.]

There you have the reason it happened. Need I explain why it could not be stopped? Let's look at how the Jews chose to respond to the decree when it came down. These are some of the things that were done:

•A human chain was formed from one place to another.
•A three-day march from one place to another was organized.
•Celebratory rallies were held at which politicians pontificated.
•A mass "hug for democracy" was carried out as a crowd made a circle around the Knesset.
•"Settlers" visited their secular brothers to explain their position
•Cake and coffee continued to be offered to the soldiers while both the leadership and the rank and file declared their firm opposition to any real opposition, i.e. they would resist peacefully, but nothing more.
•Prayer rallies took place at which no one repented because no one thought they had done anything wrong. And the situation remains so to this day.

At no time did anyone ever suggest during all the desperate davening in those final days that they had erred in not driving the Arabs out at the very beginning or at the very least not to have employed and befriended them. They even hired them to build the batei knesset for crying out loud!

The Jews would never have dreamed of tearing down the mosques as Hashem commanded us to do, but their own houses of worship were burned and demolished. And who cries over it today?

And the worst part of it is that nothing has changed. After the thousands of rockets which have rained down upon Sederot, one of their English-speaking spokespersons was interviewed on the radio recently and declared that it has not changed her opinion about how to deal with the Arabs---"If they will stop making war, we can all go back to peaceful coexistence just like before."

Hashem will never allow us to go back to maintaining the status quo, so if this is the goal, we can look forward to an escalation of the rocket warfare raining down upon us until a people arises that is willing to bend its will to that of Hashem and do as He has commanded us.