7 Tishrei 5774
The following essay was written 15 Marcheshvan 5763 on the occasion of Rav Meir David Kahane's 12th yahrtzeit. I'm reproducing it here [with a couple of updates in brackets] because in re-reading it, I feel that even though it is not the right season, still it might offer some comfort and encouragement in these very unstable and unpredictable times.
We Could Have Had Kahane, But We Chose Arafat
On the occasion of HaRav Meir Kahane's twelfth yahrtzeit, I humbly and respectfully offer the following essay in thanks and appreciation for the Torah that I learned from his writings. His memory is certainly a blessing for me and so should it be for all Am Israel.
On one of the videos of Rav Kahane which I had the privilege of viewing at the yeshiva which he established in Yerushalayim, he made the following statement: "You have a choice. You can have here Kahane or Arafat. If you don't want Kahane, you will get Arafat." And as the saying goes, "Today, everyone knows that Kahane was right."
From our inception as a nation until now, we have had only one choice...blessing or curse. Once we accepted the Torah, it was a given that we would certainly fulfill it as we pledged to do, but by which course? Willingly, out of love and obedience? Or, G-d forbid, by force of punishment and through terrible suffering and fear?
This is the picture of Redemption-in-Haste or Redemption-in-it's-Time, a subject which figured prominently in Rav Kahane's writings. Many of the Rabbi's students believe that he was Mashiach ben Yosef. But we know from our sources that it was not a given that Mashiach ben Yosef would have to die. We also know that Mashiach ben Yosef can be both a person and a process, but if so, it would be plausible to assume that their fates would be interwoven. Can a case be made for this idea? I offer the following for your consideration.
The State of Israel, from it's beginnings as a yishuv, was not recognized by his brothers, the majority of world Jewry, because he appeared too much like an "Egyptian." The mostly secular Zionists were not at all what religious Jews expected to see as the hand of G-d restoring Zion. However, in time, it became clear to most that the return to the Jewish homeland would uniquely provide for the physical survival of the Jewish people just as Yosef had done during the famine in Egypt. Just as Yosef's going down into Egypt eventuated in the nurturing of the family of Ya'akov into a nation of millions, so has the State of Israel uniquely provided for the Jewish people to return to its homeland and renew itself as a nation. But it has provided for something else as well, something which might not appear to be so desirable at first glance, but which was altogether necessary. It has uniquely provided for the re-emergence and re-identification of the mixed multitude---the Erev Rav.
"The Divrei Chayim writes:
Any kindness performed by the 'mixed multitude' (eirev rav) is done for their own benefit. We clearly see that the rabbis, chassidim, and laymen of this generation, for the most part, descend from the eirev rav (due to our many sins), and they want to rule over the masses. All of their deeds are done for their own benefit, to receive honor or monetary gain. Therefore, one should not associate with them, only with those who truly serve G-d and sacrifice themselves for His name, not for their own selfish gains. (VaYakhel) " [Eim Habanim Semeichah, p.50]
Only with the reappearance of Yosef, would we be able bring the Erev Rav out into the open. ( And how the Erev Rav bark and bite and foam at the mouth whenever Kahane is in sight or hearing.) Mashiach ben Yosef is what makes it possible for Amiel Vardi to go out on the Sabbath and help Arabs harvest olives near Itamar. When threatened by Jewish residents of the area with warning shots, what was his response? Did he tell them that he was a fellow Jew? According to the newspaper report, Vardi said: "I am an Israeli. If you go on shooting, you will hit an Israeli." The process of Mashiach ben Yosef is what makes it possible this week for a leading newspaper to refer to young residents of the Shomron as "skinheads in tzitziot" and for the politicians to "regret" the desecration of Shabbat for the dismantlement of Jewish homes and synagogues while warning about the threat halacha poses to the "rule of law."
As Divrei Chayim says, "...they want to rule over the masses..." and as such they think they will kill Yosef and thereby destroy the Jews forever. Little do they know that this only hastens their own demise. They were only able to kill Rav Kahane because he was the last chance for Redemption-in-Haste. If he had been able to bring about the advent of Mashiach ben David through the democratic process of elections, Mashiach ben Yosef did not have to die---not Rav Kahane and not the State of Israel. But because of our many sins, we did not merit it and so Mashiach ben Yosef did die and so Mashiach ben Yosef will die, only to be resurrected by the hand of Mashiach ben David as the renewed Kingdom of Israel in the future.
It is no coincidence that the Persian Gulf War was launched only weeks after Rav Kahane's cruel assassination. For the first time in the history of the modern State of Israel, the Jews failed to take the responsibility and initiative to defend themselves against an aggressor. The government in power was paralyzed by inaction as its people sat shaking in fear in sealed rooms with gas masks over their faces. Hints of things to come. Little did we know then that Rav Kahane's removal paved the way for the Oslo death machine to roll into place. The rest, as they say, is history.
G-d, in His mercy, allowed us the comfort of Rav Binyamin Kahane's words of truth and sanity to sustain us for a few more years, but our fate was already sealed. And since we did not listen and heed and act when it was time for such things, what have we arrived at today?
Today, we have the false messiah Effi Eitam [today, it would be Naftali Bennet] heading the equally false religious-Zionist party Mafdal. When Effi Eitam rose so quickly to public prominence shortly after leaving the army on "principle," it was legitimate to examine his words and actions and to determine what role he would play in our continuing drama. The favorable play given to his in-depth and detailed interview in Ha'aretz just as he took control of the NRP should have been a clue. Only after I heard him speak in English telling an audience of his supporters why the new security fence was a good and desirable thing was it clear to me that he had been planted by the evil regime as a decoy, a bone thrown to the religious public to make them think that they still had a voice in the government. What dupes we can be!
But Kahane was too extremist, so now we have Effi Eitam, a tranquilizer to calm us as we are herded like the faithless sheep we are straight to the spiritual slaughter...or so they think. As Redemption-in-it's-Time progresses, the dawn is lightening on the horizon ever more and with the additional light, we are seeing more clearly than ever.
What happened at Pesach this last year? We are keenly aware that something happened. There was a shift of some sort in our reality. Suddenly, the army was back in Shechem and Hevron and even Aza! But, if these are the birthpangs of Mashiach that we are suffering through, where are we in the birth process? If we have taken the upper hand against our enemy, the Arabs, why do we not see more success?
We are facing a double enemy---a two-headed monster. The Erev Rav work hand-in-hand with the Arabs against us. People were getting too close to the light---too close to seeing the truth of our situation, so the battle shifted to a different realm. Tactics were changed, that's all. Without stopping terror completely, the emphasis began to be placed in the political arena. I would suggest to you that the Arabs and Amalek have formed an alliance while Eisav has allied itself with the Erev Rav, so that all of our traditional enemies hover over the faithful of Hashem waiting for the opportunity to make the thrust that will finish us off for good.
Amalek is not only to be found among the indigenous peoples of the region, but as our history has proven time and again, it exists among the people of Europe. Is it any wonder that the EU is so very supportive of the so-called Palestinians?
And as for Eisav, he whom our sages told us was Edom/Rome and represents the Christian world, America stands as the prime representative and inheritor of that title. The so-called Christian Zionists are enamored with the State of Israel and its leaders and politicians. They have regular love-fests, both here and abroad, where they all heap love and admiration on each other. The Erev Rav call for the West's support because "we are a democracy just like you." And the West responds, "We must support Israel because it is a democracy just like us. We share a Judeo-Christian heritage."
When we will have become thoroughly and completely Americanized, G-d forbid!, we will have ceased to be the unique and treasured nation of G-d. Today, the only thing that has so far prevented this is the continuing war for physical survival. A 'blessing' in disguise. This is a battle on another front and we are fighting them all simultaneously---fighting for both physical and spiritual survival. While Amalek/Ishmael kills our bodies, Eisav/Erev Rav wants to destroy our very souls. We should cease to be Jews and become democracy-worshiping Israelis instead.
An important lesson was taught this past Shabbat, but how many are willing to learn? We can only hope that Rav Kahane did not foresee the depths to which we would sink in our degradation at the hands of the Erev Rav. The lauded IDF stands today in disarray because soldiers were coerced by their commanders into violating the Shabbat through lies and subterfuge. As the Divrei Chayim says, "...they want to rule over the masses..."
One young soldier in a Nachal Chareidi unit, those established to enable fervently religious young men to serve in the army without compromising their religious principles, is not surprised. He tells of his chagrin at hearing the commander's opening speech to the new recruits in which he informs them that the army is the means by which they will be mainstreamed into Israeli society. And this is no secret, that the army serves the regime as it's change agent. Newspapers regularly report this aim at every opportunity they take to fault the chareidi public for not meekly acquiescing to self-annihilation.
The vaunted Jewish army which accepts goyim and attempts to turn them into faux-Jews through their own conversion courts and who allows 7,000 Christians [today, it is 20,000] to take their oath of allegiance on the Christian Bible; who, despite the pleas of hesder yeshiva rabbis, has begun mixing men and women in combat units and who brags to the world that their purity and morality rests on the fact that Jewish young men were sacrificed to save the lives of Arab women and children who by some accounts assisted and aided the terrorists in their midst. If we'd had our eyes wide open, we would not be so surprised.
The Arabs want to kill our bodies and we know this because we are bleeding and dying and burying our dead. We see the wounded and cover the graves and we know we have an enemy. Rav Kahane wanted us to understand that we have another enemy, no less lethal. He called it a modern-day Hellenism and the Erev Rav leads the way to spiritual destruction at their hands.
How appropriate it is that we find ourselves at this occasion coming into the weeks just prior to Chanukah, that very holiday which commemorates our battle and victory over the Hellenists---the battle to remain loyal to our Holy Torah! And the purification of the Beit Hamikdash stands at the center of that story.
Denial of the Torah and our destruction as a unique nation are the goals which drive our enemies. Our identity and the realization of our destiny is bound up with one particular spot of earth which lies atop Har HaMoriah and this is not only our heart---our lifeblood---but the key to the end of everything.
From the beginning, the Zionists were not interested in keeping the Old City of Jerusalem. In recent years, stories have been written in the papers about how the city could have been taken in 1948, but certain orders never came. And of course, everyone knows, to our shame, how the Defense Minister gave over the Mount to the Arabs in 1967. We can follow the whole sad, sorry story right up until today when Jews are not even allowed to set foot upon Har Habayit. [which, thankfully, is no longer the case today] Those with limited vision wonder how it is that the Israeli government is so afraid of Arab reaction that it would not enforce its own laws regarding freedom of access to religious holy sites there.
Mashiach ben Yosef is both dead and dying. If we had any doubts, the destruction and continuing desecration of Kever Yosef is testimony to the truth of it. What stands between us and our holiest place in this world? When one looks, he sees the WAKF guards and the Israeli police. They work together hand-in-glove and anyone who has ever ascended to Hashem's holy place knows how chummy they are together. They have much more in common with each other than they do with the religious Jews who went up to present themselves before Hashem.
The evil regime which is in the hands of the Erev Rav has common cause with the Amalekim and Ishmaelim and together with Edom/Rome/Am-reika, they intend to see the establishment of a Palestinian State with the Old City of Jerusalem as its capital, an event, thank G-d!, which will never come about, but they don't yet know that. The only thing they fear is that Jews will come into possession of Har Habayit and begin to build a Temple there. [See Mufti of Jerusalem: Al-Aqsa is in Danger] This is why they must see to it that the Arabs remain in control and possession of it at all costs. This is why they stood by while the Mount was plundered and raped. This is what ensures their own survival, or so they think.
The fact is that their power is in some mystical way tied to their control of Har Habayit. Our Sages have taught us that the Ishmaelim would have control of it for 1300 years in the merit of brit milah. How this enables the Erev Rav, I do not understand, but one thing I highly suspect is that the bulging and crumbling of the supporting walls is a sign to us that their power is crumbling as well. The best experts on the subject have said that it is no longer a question of "if," but only "when" the wall will fall. And newspapers have been quick to point out that the Israeli government will reap the blame if anything goes wrong there. How ironic can it be that in their attempt to wipe out every vestige of evidence of our right to the place, it would only bring it down on their own heads.
Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook wrote in Torat Eretz Israel, p. 283:
"When people approach me with this proposition [to rebuild the Temple], I say: ...Just as there is a precept to build the Temple, there is a sequence to its fulfillment. The Gemara says, "Israel was commanded with three precepts when they entered the Land: To appoint a King; to annihilate the seed of Amalek; and to build Hashem's chosen house. And the Gemara continues, And how do I know which comes first? You have to say raise up a King. And how do I know whether to build the Temple first, or to annihilate the seed of Amalek? You have to say first annihilate the seed of Amalek. The Gemara is speaking of the initial entry into the Land and of the construction of the first temple, but the Rambam decides that this is generally true. 'Israel was commanded with three precepts upon entering the Land...the King's appointment precedes the war with Amalek, and the annihilation of Amalek precedes the building of the Temple.' This is a clear order not a haphazard arrangement."
Recently, I wrote an essay describing the idea that history is not so much linear as it is circular. If we look at these three in a circular fashion, we see that the Temple precedes appointing a king. This shows us that before Mashiach ben David will come to power, the Arabs and the Erev Rav will lose control of Har Habayit. We begin with Akeidat Yitzchak atop Har HaMoriah and end with the Beit Hamikdash HaShlishit.
Har Habayit is the key as Chanuka reminds us. It is the key to remaining Jewish; to remaining true to Torah; to retaining possession of the land; and to bringing in the final redemption. What else can we understand from Chanuka? That our mitzva is to publicize the miracle of lights with Light.
In this time in which we are suffering the death of Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David has not yet been revealed to us, what can we do? Each person must strengthen himself and those within his realm of influence. Look for the light of redemption that is breaking through in many places and reflect it out into every dark corner. Look for G-d's hand in every event of our lives and make it known to as many as you can. See Hashem seated on His high and lofty throne. He is in complete control and His plan will be accomplished. The important thing is that we not despair and doubt this great Truth, but that we encourage ourselves and each other with the knowledge that even now Hashem reigns and that "[His] testimonies are exceedingly trustworthy about [His] House, the sacred dwelling---...." (Psalm 93)
"Some with chariots, and some with horses, but we---in the Name of Hashem, our G-d, we call out. They slumped and fell, but we arose and were invigorated. Hashem save! May the King answer us on the day we call." (Psalm 20)
15 Marcheshvan 5763
Other articles along these lines can be found at the Medinat Yehuda Article Archive.