Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight


Window into the Charedi World | Mordecai Plaut, director







Opinion & Comment
Don't Be Conspicuous
by Yisroel Spiegel

A disgusting scheme hatched by extreme rightists, to throw the head of a dovor acher (i.e. pig) into the courtyard of the Temple Mount for the purpose of renewed incitement of the Moslem world against Israel, takes us back, again and again, to the painful subject of those circles who make allowances for themselves to incite the nations without taking into account the terrible danger of increasing antisemitism and compounding gentile hatred towards us, which is immense as it already stands.

The question does not apply only to those two or three people who were arrested upon the above suspicion, a loathsome, offensive idea in itself which, if it was really their intention, deserves full condemnation. But an added dimension is the fact that it `also' involved the Har Habayis; how can a Jew possibly conceive such an abhorrent idea to begin with? The gemora in Sotah 49b tells that when the pig of the enemy [which was raised in a basket in exchange for a basket full of gold coins -- rather than the animal intended for sacrifice] reached half the height of the Temple wall and impaled its hoofs in it, the entire Holy Land within the radius of four hundred parses quaked in horror. Rashi there comments, "It was shaken due to the wrath of the King, Whose honor was thus violated."

This matter must be interpreted with far greater implications. The very notion of the extreme rightists, who persistently, stubbornly and fanatically insist on ascending the Har Habayis for the sake of `prayer,' in the name of `the right to pray,' is altogether misguided and benighted and utterly wrong. They are fully cognizant that all halachic authorities categorically forbid it, and are no less aware that this very issue creates a blatant, extremely dangerous incitement of the Moslem world which numbers in the hundreds of millions of believers, whereas we stand in the age old threat of existence, of "And I am few in number, and [if] they all gather up against me and smite me, I and my household will be destroyed" (Bereishis 34:30).

The history of the past century in Eretz Yisroel teaches us that more than a few incidents, pogroms, riots and wars were instigated through irresponsible acts of fanatic elements who were influenced by the various visionaries of a Jewish utopian future and who sought to hasten this promise with might, and indulged in very dangerous activities to bring this about. They staged inciting demonstrations that fanned the hatred of the Arabs towards the Jewish settlers in their midst, were not deterred by all the warnings directed at them by our Torah leaders, and frequently created the very climate for terrible massacres.


Jewish outlook throughout history has been to roundly condemn all such attempts to rebel against the heavenly decreed role of golus. Rabbenu Bechaye writes in Vayishlach: "And thus we must follow the ways of our ancestors and prepare ourselves to greet them with gift- offerings and muted speech and prayer before Hashem, but war is no option, as it is written, `I have forsworn you, daughters of Jerusalem. . .' not to incite the nations through war." But to our deep dismay, there exist some circles, which sadly also number shomrei mitzvos in their ranks, who believe that since a Jewish state already exists, we have reached a stage where everything is permissible and sanctioned, and one may take any measures that strike our fancy.

These people became intoxicated with power some thirty years ago, when the commander of the paratroop division announced through his two-way radio that "Har Habayis is in our hands." To this very day, they refuse to accept this on any other basis except its face value. They fail to admit that any change in the status of the churban habayis, of the decree of "the nations have invaded Your heritage," is not dependent directly upon us [namely, our military might]. On the most bitter day of the year, on the 9th of Av, when we lament both of the Destructions, we recite the prayer of Nachem, which is unique to this day alone, and say, "For You, Hashem, ignited it with fire, and with fire will You rebuild it in the future, as it is written, `And I will be for her, declares Hashem, a surrounding wall of fire, and I will dwell within it in honor.'"

We have learned from all of our sages throughout the ages that the ultimate redemption lies within our power only in the spiritual sense. It depends upon our repentance, upon our full observance of all the commandments. Yaakov Ovinu's advice in this parsha serves as a pivotal peg for the redemption even before he and his sons descend to Egypt to fulfill the heavenly decree of, "For your seed will be aliens in a land not theirs."

The counsel of our sage Patriarch was to send "Yehuda on ahead." Rashi explains to what end: "To establish a house of study." Yaakov never told his sons to rebel, to rise up, for the house of study, itself, was to serve as their safeguard, their guarantee that the Jewish people would survive, that a remnant would endure to be redeemed. But the actual process remained in the sphere of Hashem: "I am Hashem, I am He and not a messenger . . . I am He and [there is] none other," as we state in the Pesach Haggadah.

Hashem promises that He will redeem us even from this last exile in which we find ourselves now. We have no need for those self-styled `loyalists of Har Habayis' or other delirious extremists with their wild notions, of the kind that are being exposed these days. Hashem wants and begs us to remain Jews steeped in Torah, keeping its commandments, for this is our ticket to redemption. Or, if you will, this is the only way that we can survive to see the redemption. The one and only way that we can hasten the Redemption is through "Today -- if you heed His voice." This is the necessary element and the only element that will be privileged to live to see that redemption.


"Would that you had abandoned Me, but remained true to My teachings -- for the light of the Torah would have restored you to the good" (Yerushalmi, Chagigah 1:7). This unique saying provides a critique of sorts for a topsy-turvy world which we witness by those various `premature hasteners of the Redemption,' who have shunted aside the prime formula of `keeping My Torah.' They seem to feel that they are `helping' Hashem; in their blind stupidity, they seem to think that He needs a push in the right direction by man -- a creature who is here today, buried tomorrow -- to get things moving.

Hashem explicitly declares, "Would that they had abandoned Me . . ." Let Me be, leave these matters up to Me; I am wholly capable of redeeming my people. "I am First and I am Last." You tend to your own responsibilities and go submerse yourselves in "keeping My Torah." Bring about that situation where the light within the Torah will effect a mass return of the Jewish people to its source, for then the redemption will surely come, "If they merit it -- I will hasten its coming."

Not only is that despicable act plotted by the fanatic rightists forbidden, but all forms of demonstration and conspicuousness are equally condemned. All unnecessary acts of incitement, of attack, of zealous rallying to this grave or that holy site which might possibly slip out of the conquering control of Zahal are superfluous when, at the very same time, the ancient tombs of our people are being blithely violated within our own limits proper and none of these zealots utter a peep of protest or proclaim prayer sessions, as their position on the subject would warrant. Indeed, no desecration of Torah values throughout Eretz Yisroel moves them or interests them in the least. Our traditional values in general seem not to be of their concern outside of their own grinding axes.

"And Yaakov said to his sons: Why must you be conspicuous?" (Bereishis 42:1). Rashi quotes Taanis 10: "Why must you show yourselves before Yishmoel and the sons of Eisov as if you are satiated?" Maran Hagaon R' Elchonon Wassermann Hy'd, notes: "This is a clear-cut warning not to provide the nations of the world with an opportunity to see us everywhere and to talk about us at every chance. The less they think and talk about us, the better our fate. The only time that we must be adamant as stone and not cede as much as a hair is when they pass decrees against keeping mitzvos" (Ikvesa deMeshicha, p. 34).

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