04 September 2016

Jews and Non-Jews: Separation Is Good (Part 1)

2 Elul 5776

Making things harder than they need to be and creating problems where none previously existed is the work of the Sitra Achra and critical to his success in fomenting chaos and confusion. This all takes a toll on the individual's and the nation's faith and trust in HKB"H.

True Torah leaders, like the Rambam and Ramchal came to organize and simplify information and make it more accessible to a wider range of people and intellects in order that they should learn and understand.

From the first words of the Torah, we see that the world was sitting in chaos and confusion when the Creator, HKB"H, came and began making separations: "...and God separated...and God saw that it was good." The act of separating - distinguishing between one thing and another; setting boundaries - creates order out of chaos. Order brings clarity.

The world today, in the hands of the minions of the Sitra Achra, is hell-bent on erasing all boundaries, divisions and separations (even to the point of saying that mankind is neither male nor female!) in order to bring the world back to that state of primordial chaos and destroy the world HKB"H created, God forbid!

As we saw yesterday in "Derech Hashem", it was the will of the Creator, HKB"H, that humankind would become divided at the end of the Generation of Separation when the Tower of Bavel Project came to an abrupt end and the earth's landmass was itself separated further into seven continents.

Humankind was first divided between 1) Avraham and his progeny, and 2) the rest of the world and its progeny. Avraham's progeny divided first between Yitzchak and Yishmael and then again between Eisav and Ya'aqov. Avraham's "seed" is reckoned through Yitzchak and Ya'aqov. The rest of the world was divided into seventy nations, of which, in time, thirty-five of them would become associated with Yishmael and thirty-five of them would be associated with Eisav.

In simple terms the world is divided into Jews and non-Jews and each of those two groups is further divided into only two groups: 1) Jews - those who are faithful to the covenant made at Har Sinai and those who are violators of the covenant, 2) Non-Jews - those who are faithful to their Seven Laws and those who are violators of the Seven Laws. ALL of the faithful of both groups will have a share in the World-to-Come. Until then, each group must maintain it's own identity and its own space and not impinge one upon the other. The only exceptions are the non-Jews who 1) want to become a Jew, 2) want to live in the Jewish homeland as non-Jews. 

There is long legal precedent in our Holy Torah and the writings of our Sages which deal with both of those situations. There is nothing new to say about it. The Mashiach has not yet arrived, the Beit Hamikdash has not yet been rebuilt, the Jews are for all intents and purposes still in exile, living under foreign rule since Torah is not the law of the land. Billions of people in the world still worship idols and follow false religions. There is not as yet any "new reality" requiring changes or adjustments to established law.

Rabbi Kahane wrote in 1987 in his book "Uncomfortable Questions for Comfortable Jews" (Part IV, Chapter 10, pp.174-175) the following with regard to those who misused quotes from the Torah to justify their defense of Arabs living under Israeli "occupation"...
[They say:] "But the Bible tells us to love the stranger. The Bible declares that there shall be one law for you and for the stranger."
Again, even if it were true that the Hebrew word in the Bible - ger - which is wrongly translated "stranger," meant the non-Jewish foreigner, of course it would mean that one should not oppress or persecute that non-Jew who is allowed to live in Israel as a ger-toshav, resident stranger. That one must help him and feed him and heal him and treat him with decency and mercy and respect. It does not mean that he must be given the right to be equal politically, a citizen, one who has a say in the character and running of the state.
But more than that, the rabbis make it clear that the general use* of the word ger in the Bible refers to what they term a ger tzedek, a gentile who has converted and become a Jew. The warning is not to offend him or treat him in any way differently from the one who was born Jewish. And this is what is expressly stated in the Chinuch (Commandment 63):
"'And you shall not oppress or persecute a ger...' (Exodus 22). We are prevented from oppressing a ger even with words. And this is one of the seven nations who converted and entered our faith."
And the rabbis (Torat Kohanim, Leviticus 19), on the verse, "And if a ger shall live in your land you shall not oppress him; as an ezrach (citizen) of you shall he be" (Ibid.), " 'As an ezrach:' just as an 'ezrach' is one who accepted all of the Torah, so is a ger one who accepted all of the Torah."
"And when the Bible uses the term ger in the context of the "stranger" and the Jews who were in Egypt, as in the verse, "And you shall love the ger for you were gerim in the land of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 10), the greatest of the Aramaic Biblical translators, Onkelos, who was himself a ger, a convert to Judaism, carefully and painstakingly uses two different words to translate ger and gerim, and thus to differentiate between the meaning of the two in the verse. Concerning, "And you shall love the ger," Onkelos says, "And you shall love the Giora (meaning convert to Judaism). But in translating "for you were gerim," he writes, "for you were dayarim [meaning "residents"] in the Land of Egypt."
Of course the use of the word ger by the Torah refers to the stranger who converted to Judaism and who is now a full Jew. The Torah understood the danger of discrimination by "natural-born" Jews against the "new" Jew who, but yesterday, was a gentile. That is why the emphasis on the need to treat the ger - converted Jew - as yourself. And that is, of course, the reason for the injunction: "One law shall there be for you and the ger who dwells in your midst" (Exodus 12)."
Is it logical to suppose that this "one law" which refers to the commandment to eat of the Paschal lamb is encumbent on that non-Jewish resident when the Talmud forbids the non-Jew to eat from it?
No, the injunction to "love the ger" refers to the stranger, but it is an injunction to love the ger-tzedek, the gentile who converted and is now Jewish. In that respect the love is one that demands equality. As for the non-Jew, indeed we must treat kindly and decently and with love all gentiles who have accepted the minimal laws of civilization, the seven Noahide laws. But they are not Jews and are not part of the Jewish people that, alone, has not the right, but the obligation, to live in the Land of Israel and create there their unique and special Jewish State This is the very warp and woof of Judaism, the very fundamental of jewish fundamentals: the separation of the Jew from the non-Jew in order to create the complete and total Jewish society." 
 * There is no question that the word ger at times is referring to ger toshav, a non-Jew residing in Eretz Yisrael, but the rabbis over thousands of years have set down when it means what and the commentaries explain it in every instance. There is no need for new revelations.

To be continued, iy"H...