Sunday, October 24, 2004

The Battle of the Religions

Musings #79
October 23, 2004
The 8rd of Cheshvan

"The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal, that you can gather votes like box-tops is... the ultimate indignity to the demo-cratic process."- Adlai Stevenson

The Battle of the Religions

The Greeks, led by their King, Antiochus tried to destroy Judaism, then the Christians, in many guises including the Crusaders and then the Catholic Church during the Inquisition. Later the Nazis were more concerned with murdering anyone with Jewish ancestors, while in the same century the Communists tried to wipe out all religions, especially Judaism.

But in modern time Judaism has an even more dangerous enemy: DEMOCRACY!

I have to finish this musing quickly. The words were rattling so noisily in my brain, that they were crowding out the shacharit prayers, and I have less than an hour before leaving for boker limud nashim, where I study King David’s T’hilim and his son, King Solomon’s Kohelet. Democracy, the ultimate philosophical hevel, norishkeit.

In recent weeks, as political and spiritual leaders are being “polled” as to their opinions/instructions concerning Arik Sharon’s “disengagement” from yishuv Ha’Aretz, “settling” the Land of Israel, the Land that G-d sent Abraham and all Jews to in this week’s parsha, portion of the Bible, Lech Lecha.

This is a moment of truth between man and G-d, between those considered leaders and the One G-d, HaKodesh Baruch Hu. Some, like HaRav Ovadia Yosef, have publicly stated that we are to oppose Sharon’s plan. But another rabbi, who had been saying confused things, causing many to publicly argue and debate what he means, finally said that “democracy” must rule. Yes, Rabbi Shlomo, “Stevie Wonder,” Riskin stated that as important as Eretz Yisrael is, “Israel is a democracy.” (quoted from The Jerusalem Post, Friday October 22, 2004.)

The same rabbi, who inspired so many of us in the 1960’s, the rabbi who was not embarrassed to be an Orthodox Jew, to doven with a mechitza to posken that the only hair covering for a married female must be 100% obvious, a hat or scarf, not a wig. He was, for us, the epitome of a proud Jew.

Today Rabbi Riskin publicly stated that Judaism is secondary to democracy. I am saddened to write this, but Stevie Wonder is no longer wonderful. He worships demoracy as his primary religion. G-d’s rulings, G-d’s Torah, G-d’s mitzvot, go second to votes in the Keneset.

Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein in the same issue of The Jerusalem Post said that “…the government is framing the disengagement in a way that would translate halachically as pikuach nefesh…” so it must be considered as not violating halacha. That brings us to the Adlai Stevenson quotation and the Kohelet shiur I’m rushing to get to.

Rabbis Riskin and Lichtenstein are basing their decisions on norishkeit, not Yiddishkeit. Hevel, vanities, democracy, advertising. Let’s return to our roots and not repeat—ain chadash mitachat lashemesh—there’s nothing new under the sun. Let’s not repeat the sin of the spies. The “people” worshipped democracy; ten spies verses two.

That fatal mistake has been made too many times. Now we must prove to G-d and man that we have learned our lesson. We must follow Joshua and Calev and redeem Our Land.

Batya Medad, Shiloh

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