Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Rambam and Aliyah to the Temple Mount

Earlier in the week, the 20th of Tevet, marked the Yom Hillula (day of festivity) or Yahrtzeit, of the Rambam (Maimonides). He died in 1204. So, I thought it would be interesting to look at a major event in his life, that might have been missed by some, back at the end of October.

The Torah reading was Parshat Noah, the Hebrew date was the 6th of Cheshvan. It marked 855 years since the Rambam, made Aliyah (went up), to Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount), in the Old City of Jerusalem, and prayed...

Something the Israeli government officially forbids Jews to do today!

Jews that go up to the Temple Mount today, are warned by Israeli police, not to pray, yet they are still regularly harassed by Arabs and Wakf officials. The Wakf people commonly make a commotion and then get the Israeli police involved, who then often remove the Jews from the mount. For example, last month, a Jew youth was detained in a humiliating manner (Chillul HaShem – showing weakness in the eyes of the enemy – the Wakf), and removed from the Temple Mount, after he was found with tefillin in his pocket, according to Temple Mount activist Arnon Segal.

It’s not only the Wakf officials on the Temple Mount, but the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs, who regularly work against Jewish rights on the mount. In a report issued by them, they alleged that there were more than 24 cases of “desecration of the al-Aqsa Mosque by Occupation forces and settlers,” during the month of December, 2020. They also claimed that Israeli security forces prevented the Muezzin (call for prayer) from being sounded in the Ibrahimi Mosque (Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron) from being heard 46 times.

But the Palestinians don’t just harass Jews... 

Recently, Abdul Rahman al-Lahim, a Saudi lawyer with a quarter of a million Twitter followers, called “to free the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Palestinian brats,” in a post on his Twitter account. He Tweeted, after Palestinian Arabs cursed other Arab visitors to the Temple Mount from Arab states, which had recently signed normalization agreements with Israel. “It is very important that the Emirates, Bahrain and Israel seek, after the peace agreements, to find a tool to liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Palestinian brats, in a way that will ensure that visitors to Al-Aqsa are protected from Palestinian bullying,” he wrote. He called the PA control of the Temple Mount, “the rape of Al Aqsa.”

On the 6th of Cheshvan, in the Hebrew year 4926, 1165 CE, the Rambam made Aliyat HaRegal (pilgrimage) to Har HaBayit, visiting other areas around Jerusalem and Hebron as well.

The event was so special to the Rambam, that he vowed to make it a personal holiday and commemorate it annually.

Jews still commemorate it till today… Ascending the Temple Mount on Rambam Day, 5780

The Rambam, wasn’t just another radical, right-wing political rabbi. But one of the greatest rabbis of all time, both in Halacha (Jewish law), and Jewish thought. His most well known work, is the 14 volume Mishneh Torah, (literally, The Repetition of the Torah), which was the first comprehensive, systematic codification of the entire Halacha, including, Hilchot Beit HaBechira (the Laws of the Temple – the Rambam assumed Jews would rebuild it). His work became the basis for later codifications, most notably, the Shulchan Aruch, written by Rabbi Yosef Karo in the 16th century. Yet, the Shulchan Aruch didn’t even cover all the areas of Jewish law that the Mishneh Torah did.

The Rambam in describing his pilgrimage to Israel said:

“We left Akko (the port city of Acre), for Jerusalem under perilous conditions. I entered into ‘the great and holy house’ and prayed there on the sixth day of the month of Cheshvan. And on the first day of the week, the ninth day of the month of Cheshvan, I left Jerusalem for Hebron to kiss the graves of my forefathers in the Cave of Machpela. And on that very day, I stood in the Cave and I prayed, praised be God for everything. And these two days, the sixth [when he prayed on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem] and the ninth of Cheshvan, I vowed to make as a special holiday, in which, I will rejoice with prayer, food and drink. May the Lord help me to keep my vows....” (translation, courtesy of the Temple Institute).

What was this “Great and Holy House” the Rambam talks about?

Many believe that this place was the synagogue that existed on the Temple Mount, a house of worship that had remained empty and deserted ever since the Crusaders occupied the mountain sixty-six years earlier. Others suggest that he didn’t pray in the synagogue on the Temple Mount, because it had been destroyed by the Crusaders, instead, he prayed on the Temple Mount at a place that was near where the Holy Temple once stood.

Either way, it’s clear he prayed on the Temple Mount and at the Cave of Machpela; something that Jews are still struggling with, to do, today.


Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.

(c) 2021/5781 Pasko

 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Jonathan Pollard for President of Israel


 About a month ago, five years to the day, after Jonathan Pollard was paroled (with severe restrictions) from the federal penitentiary, the US Parole Commission issued a certificate terminating parole and removing the restrictions that were imposed on him. He had served an excessive thirty years, of his injust life sentence, for transmitting classified information to Israel (convicted of Espionage, not Treason), in helping a friendly state.

Now he and his wife Esther, have come to Israel.

Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Omer Yankelevich, tweeted Tuesday night: “Jonathan, how good it is that you’ve come home.”

It’s been claimed that Pollard only turned over to the Israelis, intelligence information that the Americans were obligated to pass on to Israel, under their security and defense cooperation agreements, but were holding back. Therefore, embarrassing the Americans.

Details of his case, and the campaign to free Pollard, can be found at Justice for Johnathan Pollard.

But even with his release, the Americans and Israelis still have some Teshuva (repentance) to do, more on that later...

Many public officials and personalities expressed gratitude, the day parole termination had finally come. Some had even raised the issue of the cruel treatment, by the Americans, and betrayal by Israeli officials in the past.

The Women in Green movement, which struggled for Pollard’s release for years, welcomed the American decision not to extend Pollard’s restrictions.

Movement leaders, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, emphasized that the decision marks long years of injustice imposed on Pollard by the American legal system. “Every day that Pollard was imprisoned or confined was a day of grave injustice...The day Pollard comes to Israel will be a holiday for the entire Jewish people.”

“The entire State of Israel owes him a lot and it is doubtful whether it will be able to return to him a little of what it received from him, but it is its duty to do everything to give him all the best it has, they stated.”

That’s why I propose nominating Pollard for President of Israel. Elections by the Knesset members will be held in July 2021. What better way to celebrate his homecoming.

Katsover and Matar also said, “The State of Israel accepts Jonathan with great love...this slightly reduces the moral flaw, that clung to it, when it abandoned him and closed its gates to him.”

Former Defense Minister and Yamina Party Chairman Naftali Bennett welcomed the removal of restrictions on Jonathan Pollard at the time saying, “V’Shavu Banim L’gvulam, ‘and the sons return to their borders.’ The State of Israel owes a deep debt to Jonathan Pollard who gave us over 30 years of his life, and we are waiting to welcome him and embrace him here, in the land of Israel which is his home, as soon as possible.”

So, now that pollard has landed in Israel, I assume that Bennett would back a movement to draft Pollard for President of Israel.

Yamina Knesset Faction Chairwoman MK Ayelet Shaked also spoke out when Pollard’s parole was terminated, “In the 19th Knesset, I served as Chairwoman of the lobby for the return of Pollard and as Justice Minister, I continued my activities until his release and thereafter. I sincerely hope that in the near future he and Esther will establish their home in Israel.”

Petach Tikva’s mayor, Rami Greenberg, quickly promised last month, to name a square in the city center, “Jonathan Pollard Square.” Greenberg also expressed gratitude to the Trump administration, for terminating the limitations of Pollard’s parole.

Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who visited Jonathan Pollard in prison in the United States over the years, told Kan Moreshet last month, “I think that American Jewry should perhaps ask him for forgiveness. In an attempt to be considered kosher Americans, they simply ignored him. They forget that we are each other’s guardians and it’s not possible that they would turn their backs on someone who gave so much of himself for the people of Israel, what a waste.”

It’s true, organized American Jewry, fearful of the duel-loyalty accusation, pretty much hid their heads in the sand, while Pollard rotted in prison.

Rabbi Eliyahu then added, “If it were not for the people in Israel who sold him to the Americans, he would not have sat in prison. All the evidence that indicted him and put him in prison for so many years, was given by people in Israel. I heard these things directly from him when I was with him...There are people who were ministers in the government, two of them, who committed this crime, which is why Pollard was in prison. He did everything he did for the people of Israel, for the State of Israel. We should have lain on the fence for him but people preferred to save their skin and sell him out, which is a very serious matter...I did not name names, we are now in a happy time, but there were two people who could have saved him and they did not,” he added.

I’m sure that Shaked and Rabbi Eliyahu would support a movement to make Jonathan Pollard, President of Israel. That would be the real Teshuva, the State of Israel could do for him.

Asher Mivzari, an activist prominent in the movement to free Jonathan Pollard, also blamed the Americans, “On the one hand, there is great joy and we are thankful to God that he survived all these thirty difficult years in prison, and another five years under restrictions. On the other hand, it’s late, because he should have been released long ago, even in terms of simple justice. For what he did in the US, you usually get five years in prison, but here there was such a severe punishment, that was out of all proportion. Even American officials [including those involved with his case] have stated that he should have been released long ago in terms of American justice,” Mivzari pointed out.

That’s why I say America still has a day of reckoning to come...

Mivzari also noted, the frequent visits of the late Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu to Pollard, “The rabbi visited Pollard ten times and this is something that gave him a lot of strength to hold on and survive throughout all those years. All these years he also did not think only of himself, he was very concerned for the people of Israel, for the State of Israel, for people who were hurt, injured in terrorist attacks and other things. His thoughts were not only about himself. He knew the problems and failures that had happened, but mostly his thoughts were on how to help the people of Israel and the State of Israel and his dream was to come and join the people of Israel and contribute all he can with the rest of his strength and do everything he can.”

What a fine concerned and selfless example to young Israelis, Pollard would be, as President of Israel. But not everyone is even happy that Pollard was finally released from all restrictions.

Former PM Ehud Olmert blasted the US government’s decision to nullify Jonathan Pollard’s parole restrictions. He argued, “With all due respect, I would prefer that he not move to Israel. We don’t owe him anything. He was a spy who worked for a lot of money. He was not a Zionist volunteer who came and sacrificed his life.”

Olmert is one to talk about taking money, the jailbird.

He continued, Pollard “was an American who loved Israel and worked for a lot of money, spying for Israel. His spying was beneficial [to Israel], but when taking a full account, the damage caused to Israel’s interests, as a result of revealing his involvement, was the harshest in the history of US-Israel relations.”

“The danger of increasing this damage has not ended. If the prime minister will act like he does and have a festive welcoming ceremony for Pollard, we will pay a heavy price when there will soon be a new administration in America, worried Olmert.”

This is a non sequitur, because an incoming Biden administration already is planning a tough time for Israel. Just take a peak at the likely appointments Biden’s going to make, many of them Clinton operatives. A moderate-Left Democrat administration, will return Israel to the tone of the Obama years, with new problems. For example, the Trump Plan’s vision of a Palestinian state was encapsulated in policy for the first time, and for the first time, was formally agreed to, by the current Israeli government.

Yisrael Beitenu leader, Avigdor Liberman, has also criticized Pollard, in an interview with KAN Radio. He said that Israel should not have drafted Pollard as a spy, and that his moving to Israel should not be celebrated.

What has Lieberman ever done to promote Israeli security?

How far Lieberman has fallen, from his Hebrew University student days, as a campus activist for Rabbi Meir Kahane’s far-right pro-Jewish Kach Movement.

And, idiot, pardon my English accent, Yedioth Ahronoth columnist, Nahum Barnea, who seems to have learned nothing since the Oslo War (Second Intifada), even with losing a son in the war; wrote, “Pollard does not have the heroism of the Nili organization, not even that of Eli Cohen. Have some proportion.” He, also opposes making Pollard a “national hero.”

Well, I don’t agree with Olmert, Lieberman, and Barnea, so much so, that I believe Pollard should be elected President of Israel.

Recently in an interview with 103 Radio FM, former PM Ehud Barak commented on the possibility of Netanyahu trying to get elected as the country’s president, to avoid facing criminal charges, calling it a “black day in Israel’s democracy.” This idea has been bandied about for awhile already. Barak also accused Netanyahu of tending to his personal affairs, while the country found itself mired in the “worst crisis in its history.”

I can agree with Barak, that Netanyahu should step aside from the race. Netanyahu’s often been accused of being Machiavellian, and politically very self-serving, this is his chance to go beyond that. I suggest to Netanyahu, since he’s claimed for years, that he’s done all he could to free Jonathan Pollard, he take the bold and courageous step, to throw his weight behind Pollard for President of Israel.

The position is largely ceremonial, as head of state, Pollard would represent Israel at conferences, state festivities, etc. The most significant action the president can take, is to grant pardons to prisoners, similar to the American president. Its the perfect “non-partisan” position for him, within the Israeli political constellation.

Who could best empathize with the pain of prisoners and their families, to give them a fair shake, and possibly overturn an injustice, than someone who sat in prison unjustly for thirty years, for the security of the Jewish people, and State of Israel?

Jonathan Pollard for President of Israel!

Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.

(c) 2020/5781 Pasko


Monday, December 28, 2020

Born Free, Die Free, L’Hiyot Am Chofshi

“Give me liberty, or give me death!” This emotional outburst by Patrick Henry, from a speech he made to the Second Virginia Convention in 1775, swung the vote, convincing the convention, to pass a resolution to send Virginian troops, for the American Revolutionary War effort.

It seems the early Americans learned something from the ancient Jews, the value of freedom.

So much so, that the bell that has became known as the Liberty Bell, originally placed in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House (now called Independence Hall), was inscribed with the verse, “Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof,” from the Book of Leviticus (25:10).

A copy of the bell, now graces Liberty Bell Park in Jerusalem.

Similarly, modern Israel’s national anthem, HaTikvah, proclaims “L’Hiyot Am Chofshi B’Artzeinu,” to be free people in our land.

Themes of Dror/Liberty and Cherut/Freedom swirl around in my head, as I write this, while the Iron Curtain of Israel’s third “Seger,” CoronaVirus closure/lockdown descends on Israel.

But try what they may, the powers that be in Israel, won’t break us.

Jews have already learned from Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi (Sotah38b), that “Afilu mechitzah shel barzel einah mafseket bein Yisrael L’Avihem shebashamayim, even an iron curtain, can’t separate the people of Israel and their heavenly Father.”

We learned it again, in the late 1980s, when the Berlin Wall fell, and again in 1991, with the fall of the Soviet Union, and the massive waves of Aliyah, Jewish immigration to Israel, that came here, yearning to be free.

But, sad to say, Israel’s political class, it seems, has been working overtime to figure out how to better control people.

And, it’s not just happening in Israel. Throughout the democratic west, shades of Chinese-style societal control are emerging, just as I warned of back in June 2020. Politicians have been making power-grabs everywhere in the name of the “crisis.”

Many in Israel, have speculated that Netanyahu has used the CoronaCrisis, to distract from his corruption cases.

Yamina party leader MK Naftali Bennett recently said, “Things didn’t have to be this way. Millions of Israeli citizens are now going into a political lockdown, simply because the Netanyahu government placed political considerations above all else.”

So, we enter another deprivation period, of our basic human rights and civil liberties, in spite of the fact that over 130 doctors complained already back in July, that the government’s policy had no chance of succeeding, and actually caused an increase in morbidity and death rates.

Even the Knesset’s Coronavirus Committee pushed back at the time, on some of the government’s restrictions, but recently, committee chairwoman Yifat Shasha-Biton (formerly of Likud), has left the ruling junta, and joined Gideon Sa’ar’s new political party, New Hope.

Who will fight against Lockdowns and other frivolous policies, from within the belly of the beast (Likud-led government) now?

Will “New Hope” take up the call? After checking out their website, there is no sign of hope, no CoronaVirus Policy is discussed.

Back in July, thousands took to the streets to protest the economic and social damage inflicted to the Israeli body politic.

Will Israelis take to the streets this time?

In September, doctors and scientists in Israel protested the High Holiday Lockdown, and questioned the accuracy of Israel’s CoronaVirus death count.

Also in September, Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University, expressed his opposition to a second nationwide lockdown in the United Kingdom. He said a lockdown merely “delays the inevitable,” it would push future cases into the winter, when the danger of comorbidities with influenza and/or pneumonia could make the epidemic far more dangerous.

Is that what this third Lockdown will do to Israel?

Or, will they decide to extend the Lockdown, as some officials have already called for, beyond the two to four weeks, further into February, or beyond? While promising a panacea with vaccinations?

Meanwhile, nearly half of Israelis oppose this third Lockdown.

Then again, about 40% of Israelis say, “I don't want them injecting me with anything.”

And, in response to the news of a Health Ministry recommendation, that a mandatory vaccine law, be enacted to deal with vaccine refusers, former MK Moshe Feiglin wrote on his Facebook page, “You'll have to kill me before you stick a syringe in me with this vaccine.”

About two weeks ago, one hundred doctors signed a petition against closures and restrictions. “We, doctors in Israel,” they wrote, “strongly protest against coercive measures to prevent COVID-19 spread, which include lockdown, curfew, shutting down the education system, surveillance, and traffic restrictions. It is our job to warn of the slippery and dangerous slope of violating rights and taking away liberties that the State of Israel is galloping towards.”

They continued, “As far as CoronaVirus is concerned, coercive measures, especially enforcing movement restrictions of any kind, are destructive and dangerous, and have nothing to do with the medical profession. The basis for taking them is not medical.”

And, just about a week ago, members of the Public Emergency Council for the Coronavirus Crisis, which includes senior Israeli doctors and researchers, warned that a third Lockdown would be a “national disaster.”

During their press conference, they stated, “The Public Emergency Council for the Coronavirus Crisis was established, with no economic or political interests, in order to say no to further lockdowns, and that an immediate change in the manner in dealing with the outbreak is required. It is time for the public to know the scientific truth.”

This all follows an international effort by more than 50,000 medical & public health scientists, and medical practitioners, who have joined a movement called, “the Great Barrington Declaration,” warning that the lockdown approach, is having a devastating impact on physical and mental health as well as on societies, as a whole.

Yet, one Israeli newspaper recently wrote in their editorial, regarding the third Lockdown, “While it is legitimate to take the handling of the CoronaVirus crisis into account when deciding how to vote on election day, it is not legitimate to violate the CoronaVirus regulations because of a particular religious or political belief.”

Say bye bye, to freedom of religion, speech and assembly in Israel. Media supported. Seems eerily similar to the mainstream and social media in America, that worked hard to suppress contrarian views and brought Biden (seemingly) to power.

Then we heard about “GreenPassports,” that vaccinated Israelis will get, waiving lockdown restrictions, allowing them access to cultural events, malls, restaurants,and the like. Creating two classes of citizens in Israel, some with less rights than others.

But in America, there’s been a massive pushback against local and state politicians, over gym, restaurant, small business, and religious services closures. Many breaking the law and remaining open. That’s why the Republicans blasted the Democrats down ballot in the recent elections.

Will Israelis, this time learn from the Americans?

So far, I only see Sheeple, not the proud, free Jews of yesteryear, who declared Israeli independence, fought major wars, and ingathered the exiles.

Will a political party arise, that declares “Diyenu – Enough!”

Enough of these politicians, and their PoliTrix!

Enough of unelected petty bureaucrats wielding so much control over our lives!

Enough of forced closures!

Enough of destroying jobs, businesses, and livelihoods!

Enough of threatening permanent restrictions, if not vaccinated!

Live Free or Die,” is the official state motto of New Hampshire, in America.

Israelis could use learning that phrase and internalizing it, before they see what civil rights they still have, eroded.

In spite of the dire warnings by politicians, about the CoronaCrisis, Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri just said that political parties will be able to prepare for the elections under the nationwide CoronaVirus lockdown. “Employees, including volunteers, service providers and candidates on behalf of a party, can leave their homes, under the current legal situation, for the purpose of reaching a party headquarters for their activities,’ Nizri wrote. “Party employees are also allowed to leave their homes in order to work in the public space or anywhere else they are required to work in.”

How serious can the CoronaCrisis be, if the PoliTrix people are still allowed to wander outside, and gather indoors?

New elections are set for March 23, 2021, just days before Pesach (Passover). What an irony, just before the Festival of Freedom.

Back in September, a health communication lecturer at IDC Herzliya International School, Dr. Yaffa Shir Raz, in her Facebook post, predicted that a “commission of inquiry” would eventually be established to investigate the “peddling” of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Will justice ever be meted out to these criminal politicians?

Whether the government’s policies, the vaccines, or just a natural decline of the CoronaVirus through herd immunity will improve the situation, or not, we all should pray, that we be liberated from the political power grabs taking place these days. Elections are coming.

Maybe then we’ll be an “Am Chofshi B’Artzeinu,” free people in our land, as HaTikvah proclaims, just in time for Pesach, the Festival of Freedom.


Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.

(c) 2020/5781 Pasko


 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Pollard for President of Israel

Recently, five years to the day, after Jonathon Pollard was paroled (with severe restrictions) from the federal penitentiary, the US Parole Commission issued a certificate terminating parole and removing the restrictions that were imposed on him. He had served an excessive thirty years, of his injust life sentence, for transmitting classified information to Israel (convicted of Espionage, not Treason), in helping a friendly state.

It’s been claimed that Pollard only turned over to the Israelis, intelligence information that the Americans were obligated to pass on to Israel, under their security and defense cooperation agreements, but were holding back.

As such, Jonathon Pollard is now, “free to travel anywhere, including Israel, for temporary or permanent residence, as he wishes,” said his lawyers, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman.

Details of his case, and the campaign to free Pollard, can be found at Justice for Johnathan Pollard.

But even with his release, the Americans and Israelis still have some Teshuva (repentance) to do, more on that later...

Lauer after the decision, told Israeli Channel 12 TV, that Pollard was “ecstatic” and determined to move to Israel but that it would take some time, because Pollard’s wife is undergoing medical treatment for cancer. Channel 12 TV speculated it could take several weeks.

Many public officials and personalities have expressed gratitude that this day of liberation has finally come. Some have even raised the issue of the cruel treatment, by the Americans, and betrayal by Israeli officials in the past.

The Women in Green movement, which struggled for Pollard’s release for years, welcomed the American decision not to extend Pollard’s restrictions.

Movement leaders, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, emphasized that the decision marks long years of injustice imposed on Pollard by the American legal system. “Every day that Pollard was imprisoned or confined was a day of grave injustice...The day Pollard comes to Israel will be a holiday for the entire Jewish people.”

“The entire State of Israel owes him a lot and it is doubtful whether it will be able to return to him a little of what it received from him, but it is its duty to do everything to give him all the best it has, they stated.”

That’s why I propose nominating Pollard for President of Israel. Elections by the Knesset members will be held in July 2021.

Katsover and Matar also said, “The State of Israel accepts Jonathan with great love...this slightly reduces the moral flaw, that clung to it, when it abandoned him and closed its gates to him.”

Former Defense Minister and Yamina Party Chairman Naftali Bennett welcomed the removal of restrictions on Jonathan Pollard. Bennett said, “V’Shavu Banim L’gvulam, ‘and the sons return to their borders.’ The State of Israel owes a deep debt to Jonathan Pollard who gave us over 30 years of his life, and we are waiting to welcome him and embrace him here, in the land of Israel which is his home, as soon as possible.”

So, I assume that Bennett would back a movement to draft Pollard for President of Israel.

Yamina Knesset Faction Chairwoman MK Ayelet Shaked also spoke out, “In the 19th Knesset, I served as Chairwoman of the lobby for the return of Pollard and as Justice Minister, I continued my activities until his release and thereafter. I sincerely hope that in the near future he and Esther will establish their home in Israel.”

Petach Tikva’s mayor, Rami Greenberg, quickly promised to name a square in the city center, “Jonathan Pollard Square.” Greenberg also expressed gratitude to the Trump administration, for terminating the limitations of Pollard’s parole.

Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who visited Jonathan Pollard in prison in the United States over the years, told Kan Moreshet, “I think that American Jewry should perhaps ask him for forgiveness. In an attempt to be considered kosher Americans, they simply ignored him. They forget that we are each other’s guardians and it’s not possible that they would turn their backs on someone who gave so much of himself for the people of Israel, what a waste.”

It’s true, organized American Jewry, fearful of the duel-loyalty accusation, pretty much hid their heads in the sand, while Pollard rotted in prison.

Rabbi Eliyahu then added, “If it were not for the people in Israel who sold him to the Americans, he would not have sat in prison. All the evidence that indicted him and put him in prison for so many years, was given by people in Israel. I heard these things directly from him when I was with him...There are people who were ministers in the government, two of them, who committed this crime, which is why Pollard was in prison. He did everything he did for the people of Israel, for the State of Israel. We should have lain on the fence for him but people preferred to save their skin and sell him out, which is a very serious matter...I did not name names, we are now in a happy time, but there were two people who could have saved him and they did not,” he added.

I’m sure that Shaked and Rabbi Eliyahu would support a movement to make Pollard, President of Israel. That would be the real Teshuva, the State of Israel could do for him.

Asher Mivzari, an activist prominent in the movement to free Jonathan Pollard, also blamed the Americans, “On the one hand, there is great joy and we are thankful to God that he survived all these thirty difficult years in prison, and another five years under restrictions. On the other hand, it’s late, because he should have been released long ago, even in terms of simple justice. For what he did in the US, you usually get five years in prison, but here there was such a severe punishment, that was out of all proportion. Even American officials [including those involved with his case] have stated that he should have been released long ago in terms of American justice,” Mivzari pointed out.

That’s why I say America still has a day of reckoning to come...

Mivzari also noted, the frequent visits of the late Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu to Pollard, “The rabbi visited Pollard ten times and this is something that gave him a lot of strength to hold on and survive throughout all those years. All these years he also did not think only of himself, he was very concerned for the people of Israel, for the State of Israel, for people who were hurt, injured in terrorist attacks and other things. His thoughts were not only about himself. He knew the problems and failures that had happened, but mostly his thoughts were on how to help the people of Israel and the State of Israel and his dream was to come and join the people of Israel and contribute all he can with the rest of his strength and do everything he can.”

What a fine concerned and selfless example to young Israelis, Pollard would be, as President of Israel. But not everyone is even happy that Pollard was finally released from all restrictions.

Former PM Ehud Olmert blasted the US government’s decision to nullify Jonathan Pollard’s parole restrictions. He argued, “With all due respect, I would prefer that he not move to Israel. We don’t owe him anything. He was a spy who worked for a lot of money. He was not a Zionist volunteer who came and sacrificed his life."

Olmert is one to talk about taking money, the jailbird.

He continued, Pollard “was an American who loved Israel and worked for a lot of money, spying for Israel. His spying was beneficial [to Israel], but when taking a full account, the damage caused to Israel’s interests, as a result of revealing his involvement, was the harshest in the history of US-Israel relations.”

“The danger of increasing this damage has not ended. If the prime minister will act like he does and have a festive welcoming ceremony for Pollard, we will pay a heavy price when there will soon be a new administration in America, worried Olmert.”

This is a non sequitur, because an incoming Biden administration already is planning a tough time for Israel. Just take a peak at the likely appointments Biden’s going to make, many of them Clinton operatives. A moderate-Left Democrat administration, will return Israel to the tone of the Obama years, with new problems. For example, the Trump Plan’s vision of a Palestinian state, encapsulated in policy for the first time, and for the first time, formally agreed to, by the current Israeli government.

Yisrael Beitenu leader, Avigdor Liberman, has also criticized Pollard, in an interview with KAN Radio. He said that Israel should not have drafted Pollard as a spy, and that his moving to Israel should not be celebrated.

What has Lieberman ever done to promote Israeli security?

How far Lieberman has fallen, from his Hebrew University student days, as a campus activist for Rabbi Meir Kahane’s far-right pro-Jewish Kach Movement.

And, idiot, pardon my English accent, Yedioth Ahronoth columnist, Nahum Barnea, who seems to have learned nothing since the Oslo War (Second Intifada), even with losing a son in the war; wrote, “Pollard does not have the heroism of the Nili organization, not even that of Eli Cohen. Have some proportion.” He, also opposes making Pollard a “national hero.”

Well, I don’t agree with Olmert, Lieberman, and Barnea, so much so, that I believe Pollard should be elected President of Israel.

Recently in an interview with 103 Radio FM, former PM Ehud Barak commented on the possibility of Netanyahu trying to get elected as the country’s president, to avoid facing criminal charges, calling it a “black day in Israel’s democracy.” This idea has been bandied about for awhile already. Barak also accused Netanyahu of tending to his personal affairs, while the country found itself mired in the “worst crisis in its history.”

I can agree with Barak, that Netanyahu should step aside from the race. Netanyahu’s often been accused of being Machiavellian, and politically very self-serving, this is his chance to go beyond that. I suggest to Netanyahu, since he’s claimed for years, that he’s done all he could to free Jonathan Pollard, he take the bold and courageous step, to throw his weight behind Pollard for President of Israel.

The position is largely ceremonial, as head of state, Pollard would represent Israel at conferences, state festivities, etc. The most significant action the president can take, is to grant pardons to prisoners, similar to the American president. Its the perfect “non-partisan” position for him, within the Israeli political constellation.

Who could best empathize with the pain of prisoners and their families, to give them a fair shake, and possibly overturn an injustice, than someone who sat in prison unjustly for thirty years, for the security of the Jewish people, and State of Israel?

Pollard for President of Israel!

Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.

(c) 2020/5781 Pasko

 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Toledot: Jewish Genealogy

“And these are the generations of Isaac, the son of Abraham; Abraham begot Isaac,” (Genesis 25:19).

That’s how this week’s Torah reading, Toledot, starts out. Genealogy is important to Jews. We know who our progenitors are, and we honor them.

Then the Torah goes on to tell about Jacob’s birth, his blessing from Isaac to continue the family traditions, and later, Isaac instructs him not to intermarry with the Canaanites, but to go to uncle Laban’s house and marry a cousin. (Genesis 25:26, 26:28-29).

Before he leaves to find his bride, Isaac blesses Jacob a second time, “And may the Almighty God bless you, and make you fruitful and multiply you, and you shall become a multitude of people. And may He give you the blessing of Abraham [to be a great nation], to you and to your seed with you, that you may inherit the land of your sojournings [the Land of Israel], which God gave to Abraham,” (Genesis 28:1-4).

In contrast, Americans are “rootless cosmopolitans,” (a term I might add, that was frequently used incorrectly by Europeans against Jews in the past). By rootless cosmopolitans, I mean to say that America is made up of people from all over the globe. Most Americans are descended from earlier arrivals to its shores, from more than one country, and many don’t know who their relatives were, beyond a few generations back, or where they come from, in the “old country”.

Remember Elizabeth Warren’s mistaken claim to be part Native American?

Thus, the explanation for the popularity of genetic testing and ancestor searching in America today.

The New York Times, back in 2006, ran an article entitled, “Who’s Your Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaddy?” about the then, new fad.

Well, mine are the famous Biblical prophets, chosen of the Lord, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Jews, by the way, also know where they come from, Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel), the Biblical “Promised Land” (and the rest of the world knows it, too).

So, while Americans are scurrying around to determine if they have some of Genghis Khan’s DNA (probably raped their maternal progenitor), have some connection to Marie Antoinette and her infamous “Let them eat cake” rant, or some other famous historical figure, Jews the world over can pride themselves in their descent from such moral pillars as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (and Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah).

To this day, the world reads about them in the Hebrew Bible, and tries to learn lessons from their lives on how establish a relationship with God, how to organize society and how to live life more fully.

In Judaism, there’s a concept called “Ma’ase Avot, Siman L’Banim,” the deeds of the fathers are guides for the children. Having such illustrious ancestors puts a heavy burden on Jews. Unlike someone who discovers he’s descended from Robert E. Lee (what’s he going to do, start a new slavery movement?), Jews have a responsibility to live up to our past.

Positive that there was a way to understand God’s creation using the language of modern physics, Einstein said, “God doesn’t play dice with the universe,” and went about studying it. Freud tried to “heal the soul” through the modern techniques of psychology. Karl Marx, a descendent of the great 12th century Biblical and Talmudic commentator Rabbi Shlomo Ben Isaac (Rashi), worried about the oppressed worker and the poor.

Whether they’re involved in left-wing movements for social justice, or science, medicine and the arts, many Jews are trying (often unconsciously) to express these eternal Torah values of “fixing the world,” (sometimes properly, other times in mistaken ways), that they’ve inherited from their forefathers.

Spiritually inclined, morally precocious and always inquisitive, Jews established universal public education in Judea for their children about 2,100 years ago. Always literate, besides the Bible and Talmud, the Jewish bookshelf contains a university library of works on morality, philosophy, mystical pursuits, science, medicine, history and law.

There are well over 200 very serious super-commentaries on Rashi’s biblical commentary alone. Jews as translators, were a main transmission link between the classical Greek and Latin scientific and medical texts, and the early Islamic world.

Learning enough Torah to become a rabbi (a moral, legal and spiritual guide), has always had an honored place in Jewish life, a reminder of the days of prophets and kings.

But, it’s not just for rabbis, but for all Jews to learn Torah, their cultural-spiritual inheritance, and to live in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel), to fully participate in Jewish Civilization.

If your last name is Cohen or Kahn, Katz or Kagan, genetic testing has proven what most already knew from tradition: you’re a direct link to Aaron the High Priest. Jews have always guarded their lineage and many kept intricate records. Today, more descendants of King David walk the earth than one might realize, and they often know who they are.

But whether they’re descended from Moses or Aaron or King David, any number of biblical prophets, great rabbis like the Rambam or Rashi, or not, every Jew knows he’s the great-great-great-great-great...grandson or granddaughter of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the chosen of the Lord.

I wish others, all the best in finding out about their beloved ancestors from Africa, Europe, Asia, or from wherever they may be.

By the way, I can go and visit the family burial plot (Ma’arat HaMachpela, the Cave of the Patriarchs) in Hebron, Israel, anytime I want, to say hello to Buby and Zaidy, my forefathers and foremothers, Abraham and Sara, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah.

In fact, last week, Parshat Chayei Sarah, Jews worldwide read about Abraham’s purchase of the family burial plot for Sarah. And in pre-CoronaVirus times, tens of thousands would flock to Hebron, for Shabbat Hevron every year.

Is there any other nation, that knows where its illustrious progenitors lived, died, and are buried?

Is their any other nation that has such inspiring role models of behavior? Jacob’s descendants, the Jewish people, are truly blessed. 

Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.

(c) 2020/5781 Pasko

 

Rabbi Kahane, the Sarah Solution, and Peace

This past week’s Torah reading, Vayera, coincided with the 30th remembrance of the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane. He was the founder of the Jewish Defense League in America (JDL), a former member of Knesset, and leader of the later outlawed Kach party; Rabbi Kahane fought to protect Jews from anti-Semitism in America, increase Jewish identity and national pride, and to free Soviet Jewry.

But he was probably best known for advocating the transfer of Arabs out of Israel, to a nice life somewhere else, to put an end to the Arab-Jewish conflict in Israel, and bring true peace there.

Something else happened recently, the serial liar, Saeb Erekat, died. He was the Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization and chief “Palestinian” negotiator, and he often claimed that he was “indigenous” to “Palestine.”

He had claimed at various times, to be descended from the Canaanites, the Philistines, to be an Arab, a Palestinian, and a Jordanian. As for example, in a February 2014 interview with “Dunya al-Watan” where he said, “I am honored to be a Bedouin, to be Arab, to be Arab, to be Jordanian…I am the son of the Canaanites, the foundation of this country, who were here thousands of years ago.”

Yet, thanks to the “Elder of Ziyon,” and his investigations, we know that his family actually came from the Huwaitat region of the northwestern Arabian Peninsula. On the Facebook page of the Erekat family, it also says that before Huwaitat, their ancestors emigrated from Medina, today in Saudi Arabia.

Many Palestinian family names actually reveal their true family origin. For example, Mograbi, indicates that the family migrated from the Morocco area (Maghrib in Arabic). The name Masarwi, comes from Misr, which is Egypt, in Arabic.

The whole Palestinian narrative, is similarly fabricated on such outright lies.

So to Saeb Erekat and his lies, I say good riddance.

Now that “Peace” is breaking out all over the Middle East, between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and with proposed countries such as Morocco and Saudi Arabia to be included in the near future, let’s examine a creative solution to the “Palestinian” problem, something long ago suggested.

True peace cannot be built on falsehood...

But first, one should ask, was Rabbi Kahane, even the first one to advocate expelling violent enemies, for attacking Jews?

In this past Torah reading, Vayera, we find Sarah, telling Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son [Ishmael – father of the Arabs], for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac,” (Genesis 21:9-10). Sarah had seen Ishmael constantly picking on little Isaac, and setting a bad example for him.

The Torah continues, “The matter greatly distressed Abraham regarding his son [Ishmael]. But God said to him, ‘Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.’” But they can not live together in the same land. So Abraham listened to God and expelled him and his mother, (Genesis 21:11-14).

There you go, right from the start of the Jewish people, the solution to attacks on Jews, is to expel the perpetrators. Mother Sarah in her woman’s wisdom, sees the future, that the Arabs and the Jews can’t live together, and God backs up her demand on Abraham, to expel Ishmael.

Later, God codifies it in the Torah, “You shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you...You shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess.” And then warns, “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides; they shall trouble you in the land where you are settling,” (Numbers 33:52-53, 55).

Even the nations understood this, in the 20th century, several internationally sanctioned population transfers were implemented, to separate warring peoples.

Most notably, the Greco-Turkish agreed mutual expulsion in the 1920’s, of about 1.6 million people, and the Pakistani-Indian exchange, after British decolonization in 1947, where 10-12 million people were displaced.

Then there was the forced expulsion of about 12-14 million ethnic Germans (between 1944-50), from central and eastern Europe, to create more homogeneous states, after the war.

So, as Rabbi Kahane documented in his book, “They Must Go” (1981), population transfers and forced expulsions had been being used, long before his proposal to transfer the Arabs out of Israel. In fact, his plan was quite merciful, by international standards, since he proposed offering money to the Arabs to leave.

Even some Arab leaders had previously suggested transfer as a solution to the conflict.

For example, in 1939, Mojli Amin, a member of the Arab Defense Committee for Palestine put forward a proposal for the transfer of Arabs from Palestine. This proposal was published in Damascus and distributed among Arab leaders. Amin proposed that all of Palestine be given to the Jews.

“Furthermore, I hereby propose that all the Arabs of Palestine will leave and be divided up among the neighboring Arab countries. In exchange for this, all the Jews living in Arab countries will leave and come to Palestine,” Amin stated.

Amin proposed that this exchange of populations, should be carried out in the same way as the Greco-Turkish population exchange, and that special committees should be established to deal with the liquidation of Jewish and Arab property. He realized that at first there would be great difficulties, but he hoped they would be finally solved. (Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial, (New York, 1984), p.25, and Proposal, 21 May 1939, [CZA S25/5630]).

Later, in 1946, Britain awarded Transjordan (what had been 75% of the Palestine Mandate) independence, and Abdullah ibn Hussein became its King. His Prime Minister was an Arab jurist named Ibrahim Pasha Hashem.

In July 1946, Alexander Kirkbride, from the British Legation in Amman, reported on his meeting with King Abdullah and the Prime Minister. Various ideas for the future of the Palestine were discussed and Kirkbride wrote that Abdullah was, “for partition and he feels that the other Arab leaders may acquiesce in that solution although they may not approve of it openly.”

In Kirkbride’s meeting with Ibrahim Pasha, Pasha proposed a population transfer, to avoid future conflict in Palestine. Kirkbride reported that, “He [Pasha] went on to say that, in his opinion, the only just and permanent solution lay in absolute partition with an exchange of populations; to leave Jews in an Arab State or Arabs in a Jewish State would lead inevitably to further trouble between the two peoples. Ibrahim Pasha admitted that he would not be able to express this idea in public for fear of being called a traitor.”

About a month later, a telegram sent from Amman to the British Foreign Office stated, “King Abdullah and Prime Minister of Transjordan both consider that partition followed by an exchange of populations is the only practical solution to the Palestine problem. They do not feel able to express this view publicly because having regard to the possibility of the Arab area of Palestine being joined to Transjordan they would be regarded as prejudiced.”

We can see from this, that King Abdullah had now joined his Prime Minister in favoring population transfer. (Kirkbride to Wikeley, 29 July 1946, p.1-2,[PRO FO 816/85], and Telegram, Prodrome to Foreign Office, 23 August 1946, [PRO FO 816/85 C208213]).

For an excellent review of the subject, check out, “A Historical Survey of Proposals to Transfer Arabs from Palestine 1895 – 1947,” by Rabbi Dr. Chaim Simons (2004 – it can be found at chaimsimons.net).

So with “Peace” breaking out between Israel and multiple Arab states, why not raise the suggestion of Mother Sarah, the Sarah Solution, to compliment the Abraham Accord, to end the conflict with the so-called Palestinians. Let the Arab countries, reabsorb their Arab settlers, who unjustly invaded and colonized the Land of Israel. Now is a wonderful time to propose an international conference to carry that out.

True peace must be built on truth, not falsehood, otherwise it’s not true peace, and will collapse.

An expression in the midrash and early Torah commentators, is “Ma’aseh Avot Siman l’Banim,” the deeds of the fathers are signs/guides to their children. Mother Sarah was teaching her children, us, the Jewish people, an important lesson.

When will we learn it?

Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.

(c) 2020/5781 Pasko


 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Shoftim: Tzedek, Chasidut and the Tzadik State of Israel


This week’s Torah reading, Parshat Shoftim, teaches “Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof...Justice and Righteousness shall you pursue, so that you may live and possess the land HaShem (the God of Israel) your God is giving you,” (Deuteronomy 16:20).

Whether as a judge, leader, or as an indiviual, Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowicz of Peshischa (1766–1813), a Hasidic Rebbe, also known as the Yid Hakadosh (the Holy Jew), taught, you must pursue justice with justice. The means by which you seek to attain justice must be righteous also. Not like the godless principle of some, that the end justifies the means.

Let’s take a look at what one should do as an individual to live a righteous and saintly life, and then we’ll look at the structure of a saintly political state...

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Ramchal, 1707-1746), in his book Mesillat Yesharim (The Path of the Just), chapter 19, describes what true Chasidut (Saintliness) is, “The true motivation which is found among the Pious, who have exerted themselves and strove to attain it, is for one to serve solely in order to magnify and increase the honor of the Master, blessed be He.”

How does one achieve this Kavanah – intention?

“This intent will come only after the love of HaShem has intensified within him, that he longs and lusts for the raising of His honor and is pained by any diminishing of it. For then he will perform the divine service for this purpose, so that at least, through himself, God’s honor will increase. He will lust that all others do the same. And he will be pained and grieve when they diminish His honor.”

The Ramchal continues, “This Saintly attitude was clarified by Elijah the Prophet, in Tanna Devei Eliyahu (Chapter 4): ‘Every wise person of Israel who has attained true Torah knowledge, and grieves over the honor of the Holy One, blessed be He, and over the honor of Israel all his days, who longs and feels pain for the honor of Jerusalem and the Beit Hamikdash (the Holy Temple), and for the swift sprouting of the Redemption, and the ingathering of the exiles, immediately merits Ruach Hakodesh (the Divine Spirit) within his words...’”

“Thus we learn that this is the ideal intent. For it is completely removed from all consideration of personal benefit, and is only for the honor of God and for the sanctification of His blessed Name, which is sanctified by His creations when they do His will.”

“A Chasid like this, besides the service which he does, in performing his Mitzvot (commandments) with the proper intent, will constantly feel real pain over the exile and the destruction [of Jerusalem and the Temple], because they cause a diminishing (so to speak), of the honor of the Blessed One. He will long for the Redemption, because then the honor of God will be exulted.”

“This is what the Tanna Devei Eliyahu we brought earlier meant: ‘And he longs and feels pain over the honor of Jerusalem. He prays always for the Redemption of Israel and the return of God’s honor.’”

“If one would say: ‘Who am I, and what importance am I, that I should pray on the exile and Jerusalem? Will the exiles be gathered in and the Salvation sprout because of my prayers?!’ “

“The answer to him, we learned in Sanhedrin 37a: Thus man was created alone, so that each person should say: ‘for my sake the world was created.’ Already it brings gratification to HaShem, that His children desire and pray for this. And even though their request may not be fulfilled, because the proper time has not yet come, or for some other reason, nevertheless, they have done their part and the Holy One, blessed be He, rejoices in this.”

“Thus we learn from here, that we are obligated in this matter, and cannot exempt ourselves due to our lack of power. For on all such matters, we learned: ‘It is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but neither are you free to abstain from it,’” (Avot 2:16).

“It is impossible for the honor of HaShem to grow except through the Redemption of Israel and the growth of their honor, since in truth, one depends on the other, as the prophet said in Tanna Devei Eliyahu: ‘And he grieves over the honor of the Holy One, blessed be He, and over the honor of Israel.’”

“Thus we learn that there are two matters in this. One, that the intention behind every Mitzvah and act of divine service be to increase the honor of God, which comes from His creations’ giving pleasure to Him.”

“Two, that one feel pain for His honor, and longs that it grow through the magnification of Israel’s honor and their well being…To what is this analogous? To that of a father who loves no one more, than he, who sincerely loves his sons.”

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935) said something similar in his book, Orot (Lights), “When Israel grows mighty, holiness grows stronger. Wherever the activity of Israel is alive, the light of the True God bursts into flames and shines bright,” (section, Orot Ha-Techiya, Lights of Renaissance, 69).

“This intention [for the honor of God and for the honor and Redemption of Israel] needs to be included in his divine service and also be an actual part of his prayers, namely, to pray on behalf of his generation, to atone for he who needs atonement, to bring to repentance he who needs to repent, and to plead in defense of his entire generation…”

It is proper for every Chasid to be motivated in his deeds, for the good of his entire generation, to bring merit to them...See then, that it is a duty incumbent on the Saintly to plead and exert themselves on behalf of their generation…These are the true shepherds of Israel, which the Holy One, blessed be He, greatly desired in, who sacrifice themselves for His sheep, seeking and striving for their peace and well-being in all matters,” (Mesillat Yesharim, chapter 19).

And what greater matter for self-sacrifice can there be, than to help bring about the full Redemption of all Israel?

In our generation, that HaShem is redeeming before our eyes, besides prayers and longings, it’s possible to do actual physical acts, for example make Aliyah (move to Israel), build up the Land, etc.

What can be done, like work to re-establish the Sanhedrin, and prepare everything, including all the materials, to rebuild the Beit Hamikdash, should be done.

Parshat Shoftim provides the blueprint to build the Tzadik State of Israel at the time of Redemption.

What is a Tzadik State?


Just like the Torah sets out the structure, of how an individual Jew can best relate to his Creator (through the Mitzvot), and express his/or her personal example of Kedushah (holiness) in the world, it also does it for the Jewish People on the national level. This national structure sets up the framework for individual Jews and the nation as a whole, to reach their full potential.

“You shall be for Me a kingdom of priests [teachers] and a holy nation,” (Exodus 19:6).

The Torah shows the Jewish People the institutions needed, to build a holy society in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel), that will then become a shining example for the nations, on how to express Tzidkut (righteousness) on the national level.

In the parsha, we encounter the Mitzvot to appoint a king, and the laws of war (Deut. 17:14-20, 20:1-20); to establish a Torah-based Legal System (Deut. 16:18) and recognize G-d’s prophets (Deut. 18:15); and issues dealing with the Priests and Levites (Deut. 18:1).

The Mitzvot, map out the ideal national structure for the Jewish people in their homeland. The parsha describes the central elements of full Jewish life in their own country. Jews today should be working towards bringing about: Malchut/Kingdom, Sanhedrin/Torah, Nevuah/Prophecy, and Kehunah/Temple.

When one is held back from actual deeds, the Ramchal teaches us, what our prayers and longings should be for. And, when the time of Redemption sprouts, as is the situation today, what Kavanah we should have, as we strive to build the Tzadik State of Israel.

As the prophet told Israel, “...be a light unto the nations, that My salvation may come to the ends of the earth,” (Isaiah 49:6).

Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers. His latest articles can also be read on his archive: The Think Tank by Ariel Natan Pasko.
(c) 2020/5780 Pasko