Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

8 Sivan 5761 - May 30, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
The Fiendish Aim in Feigning Traditional Values

by Rabbi Nosson Zeev Grossman

Lately the Chief Justice of the High Court of Israel, Mr. Aharon Barak, has been acting quite out of the ordinary, not the least like a judge is expected to act. Barak has been making enormous efforts to influence those behind the levers of power in the government and the Knesset to accept his beliefs. Just as any politician he has been busy trying to recruit the newspapers, television, and radio to sway public opinion.

In the past Yated Ne'eman has reported about Aharon Barak's open- mouthed public appearances in which he spoke blatantly ("Let's kill the cockroach when it's still small") and about his press conferences where he demanded that the journalists report his stands anonymously. Such irregular behavior, once unacceptable for any Israeli judge, and surely improper for the head of the highest judicial court in the country, shows that Aharon Barak has launched an aggressive "to be or not to be" campaign. The Chief Justice is unwavering in his desire to become the central influence over the character and lifestyle of Israel's citizens.

To set this in motion Barak initiated a meeting with writers and editors of the religious and chareidi newspapers. "There were two reasons Barak decided to initiate the meeting," writes Ha'aretz, a popular morning newspaper. "One was his desire to reduce the friction between the chareidim and the High Court, to prove to the chareidim that he does not overlook them, and the second was connected to the general trend of the High Court's becoming more exposed to media."

The Vaada Ruchanit of Yated Ne'eman directed its editors not to take part in this meeting. The media reported that those editors of other newspapers who participated heard from the President of the High Court that he is attentive to the feelings of the chareidim, that he judges every question objectively, and that he intends to take into account religious considerations and protect the rights of the chareidi minority. Just wonderful! Could we ask for more?

Those present at the meeting refuted what he said about his sensitivity to chareidim, his supposed objectiveness, and his protecting their rights. Although they criticized him sharply, the Chief Justice definitely succeeded in his aim. The meeting itself showed Barak's "tolerance," his ability to listen to criticism and differing opinions, and even to adopt them in the totality of his considerations. Of course, he is the person who will eventually consider and decide "objectively" what should be done.

Through that meeting Barak hopes to dull the intense criticism against him from chareidi newspapers, and especially from Yated Ne'eman, and also to mollify his negative image among the religious and traditional.

Ever since the mass tefillah rally in Yerushalayim about two years ago in which hundreds of thousands beseeched our Father in Heaven to save us from the enemies of Judaism dressed in court cloaks, Barak has been persistently trying to change his public image. On the one hand, the Chief Justice's zeal to generate an ideological and political revolution is unabated and he relentlessly wages war against principles of Judaism. But on the other hand, Barak tries to prove how "conscientious" and "understanding" he is, and asks reporters (not for attribution, of course) to tell about his so-called "balanced approach," and his personal religious acquaintances.

Through such a two-pronged assault Barak wants to gain contradictory goals: to damage our sacred values and destroy the character of the Jewish Nation; while on the other hand to be pictured as an "objective element" who follows a policy of "tolerance" and "exchange of views." Barak does not want to be perceived as someone alien to religious values, not an enemy, not a hostile adversary, not someone who threatens to harm the entire religious community. All we have here seems only to be "two sides of an academic argument."

But we should make no mistakes. Both sides are not equal. One side (guess which one) harbors "narrow interests." One sectarian sector possessing bigoted views is arguing before the "supreme judge" who has "with strict objectivity" decided against them.

Heaven recently sent us a topic that although it was a side issue in the general news; it can serve us as an incisive parable. In an educational institution of a kibbutz in northern Israel, traditional parents whose children were being educated in the kibbutz-run institution asked that the school put mezuzos on the doors. The secular kibbutz members argued that this conflicts sharply with their Weltanschauung, but at the end the institution agreed and put up the mezuzos. This episode was covered at length in a Friday supplement of Ha'aretz, in which one of the institution's heads was "accused" of giving in because of financial considerations. That person, a member of the Sha'ar HaGolan kibbutz wrote a letter to the editor defending his stand. That letter is an edifying document that we should read well and also read what is written between the lines.

The head of the institution points out that he, together with the social coordinator and three of the alumni, initiated the discussion about placing mezuzos in the educational institution Bikat Kinarot. He declares that financial considerations were definitely not the deciding consideration. "Those active in promoting the placing of mezuzos were a small group of some three to four parents. They surely do not represent all the parents of Tiveria. Even if they would remove their children that would not cause any financial collapse."

Now he explains the real reason for his stand: "I am opposed to mezuzos since they are not a part of my secular world, but the main problem is not personal but social. With the mezuzos on our doors we can reach a large group of people so we can influence them. Without the mezuzos our influence is limited. What I'm trying to say is that this is a reasonable "price" to pay. Contrary to some alumni, I believe that our educational way, educating to acceptance of our outlook on the world, of our value system, of our culture, is powerful and relevant and can win over others. For the overwhelming majority of those being educated in our institution, that is what is important and influential, and not the mezuzos."

In these short lines that kibbutz member revealed the tactics being used by those wanting to uproot our religion, those of the more sophisticated sort who, ever since the beginning of the Enlightenment and Zionist movement, have plotted to uproot Torah from the Jewish Nation. Of course, many of them had difficulties hiding the hatred to religion that burned within them and therefore innocent Jews knew that they should be wary of them. However the more refined among them spoke elegantly about "Jewish values," about "sympathy for tradition," about "mutual understanding," and the like. In that way they won over the masses and instilled within them the poison of heresy and the idea of the "New Judaism."

"Without mezuzos our influence is limited," writes the kibbutz member. He reveals the reasons why the kibbutz institution "understood" those traditional parents. "This is a reasonable price to pay" to educate "to acceptance of our outlook on the world, of our value system, of our culture" so that it can "project" itself to others. And he concludes: "For the overwhelming majority of those being educated in our institution that is what is important and influential, and not the mezuzos."

This reminds one of the well-known explanation of the Kli Yokor on parshas Shemini. He explains why, when the Torah mentions the animals that are tomei, it first mentions their signs of tohoroh ("The camel, for it brings up its cud, but its hoof is not split" - - Vayikra 11:4).

"The explanation for this is that their sign of tohoroh adds tumah for them. Chazal write that Eisov is compared to a pig that stretches out its hooves to show that it is kosher but actually by doing so is deceiving others. This is an indication of someone insincere, like the hypocrites who want to outwardly appear to be proper people. Doubtless they are worse than the complete rasha who is at least sincere in his wickedness. The split hoof of the pig is therefore a sign of [greater] tumah -- since with this hoof it can mislead people and show them that it is kosher."

Anyone who thinks about what has happened to us lately, after reading the above, will understand that all of those "mezuzos" that the anti- religious put on their doors while appearing to understand us and even quoting from religious sources is not a sign of tohoroh. On the contrary, it is a sign of tumah that only adds to their original tumah. "The split hoof of the pig is therefore a sign of tumah since with this hoof it can mislead people and show them it is kosher."

This analysis was always made by the gedolei Torah when enemies of the Torah wanted to mislead the masses through a "positive approach" and "readiness for mutual understanding," and similar expressions. Because of this Yated Ne'eman was not tempted to accept the invitation to that meeting for "an exchange and clarifying of views" that only Barak gained from.

As the Kli Yokor later writes, this was the way the enemies of the Torah throughout history acted: "They showed themselves as being proper people, as if concerned in bringing benefit for Klal Yisroel, but inside they were evil since actually all of their intentions were malevolent."

Our kadmonim therefore warned that we must even condemn the apparent "positive acts" of a rasha. As proof they cite what Shlomo Hamelech, the wisest of men, wrote (Mishlei 26:25), "Though his voice is ingratiating, do not trust him." On the contrary, because the enemies of the Torah are making more attempts to flatter us, because of their increased "preparedness to listen" and willingness to conduct an "exchange of views," we should even more so take heed and distance ourselves from them. This is exactly what rabbenu the Meiri writes in his commentary on Pirkei Ovos (1:6): "The mussar Sages say: `Beware of the smooth tongue of the scoundrels just like you beware of the bow. When the bow bends more, it is more destructive (its arrows fly further).'"

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