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12 Shevat 5760 - January 19, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Opinion & Comment
Even if His Voice is Sweet, Don't Believe Him

By Asher Ben-Daroma


The State of Israel, and its citizens of all religions, extend greetings of welcome to Pope John Paul II upon his upcoming pilgrimage visit to Israel.

The State of Israel commends Pope John Paul II on his part in the struggle against antisemitism, xenophobia and racism in all its forms.

-- Israeli Foreign Office Press Release

We can still recall the voices of joy and cries of triumph in the winter of 5754 (1993), when the "historical treaty" was signed between "the Jewish religion" and the "Christian religion," as defined by the head of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Diplomatic relations were agreed between the Vatican and the State of Israel. We heard the "good news" that at long last the head of the Roman Catholic church, the Pope, had consented to come and visit this country, and the politicians rejoiced and celebrated victory. The media took great pleasure in broadcasting this important, historical, resounding message over and over again.

And now after celebrations of two thousand years since the founding of a religion that has ruthlessly persecuted and continues to pursue our people, by means of cunning, power, incitement, and oration, they hope to destroy kol habira, the whole capital, R"l.

The "important" visit of the Pope is scheduled for the innocent date of March 21st, according to their calendar. On our calendar this day is Purim in which Yishletu HaYehudim heimo beson'eihem. This may very well not be incidental to the schedule of the visit which was determined at the Vatican in Rome.

The signing of normal relations with the Vatican has aroused an internal storm in Jews who believe and live by the words of Chazal.

In the future, the nations of the world will say, "We are Israel," say Chazal. This terrible vision has expression already in the Christian Church, which is built on this very foundation. They said, wrote, rejected, drew, and even acted in this direction. They did not simply believe and preach this way, but they also acted, killed, tormented, burned, and spilled the blood of our nation as much as they could. And when HaRav Dov Weissmandel zt"l asked for mercy, during the European Churban, from one of the Church's Bishops for the blood of innocent children, that official replied, "There is no such thing as blood of innocent Jewish children."

The very base of Western culture is completely built on Christianity, with its deep hatred and pursuit of the Jews, whom they describe with various disparaging descriptions. For this, the blood of acheinu kol beis Yisroel was spilled throughout the generations.

There is no doubt that the European churban during World War II required, for its success, at least the silence of the Church and the Pope, and the moral support drawn from the teachings that church believers all over the globe had imbibed for two thousand years.

In all generations, understanding that the Golus Edom we are in is, in fact, the Catholic Church and its cohorts, acheinu beis Yisroel have tried to come to agreements with the Church in order to weaken its pursuit of us as much as possible. But it has always remained clear that it is the number one enemy of our nation, the nation of Hashem, and so will it be until the end of history, bimheira beyomeinu amen. The Jewish people traditionally presented restrictive and conditional agreements, and tried to couch them in a way that the Church wouldn't be able to exploit the agreements, and not to give it any legitimacy.

Since Yaakov's dispersal around the world, Eisov, the progenitor of the Roman dominion over us, relates to us in two ways. One is defined by Chazal as a neshicha, a bite, that is the threat of murder, tzoros, and yissurim.

The second way of pursuit is neshika. This second one is much more sophisticated, and it aims at breaking Am Yisroel from the inside through enticements and manipulation of Knesses Yisroel's temporary weaknesses.

The Torah describes the meeting between Yaakov and Eisov, which was ma'aseh ovos simon lebonim as, "Vayipol al tzavorov veyishokeihu, He fell on his neck and kissed him." One opinion states that he literally kissed him, and the word is dotted in the mesorah to say that Eisov's act was unusual and out of character, because generally he pursued him mercilessly.

Another view holds that at this meeting he also attempted to bite Yaakov. According to this, the dots of the mesorah teach us that this was actually a bite.

Klal Yisroel has always known whom to try to have dealings with and has fled from the wolf's bites. They also kept far away from its kisses. Nesa'eiv neshikos sonei, detest the enemy's kisses.

The fourth of the four kings who fought in Sodom at the time of Avrohom Ovinu, o"h was Tid'ol melech Goyim. Our predecessors questioned this. With all the other kings the Torah wrote where each one ruled; only here it is not written. (Rashi comments that goyim here refers to the name of the place.)

The Ramban adds that the four kings parallel the four exiles, and the last kingship will not actively rule over the whole world like the preceding ones, but will not be restricted to one place. However, it will spread its hatred to the whole world. With its scorn, its ideas, its missionaries, it will rule over all the goyim. Enough said.

Until now the Vatican never recognized the State here, since it interfered with their ideology. According to their ideology, the Jews, and especially the Jewish nation, should never have any revival. Yet the Jewish nation is clearly still around and is in fact building a State with all the accepted characteristics. Furthermore, their own perspective convinced them that if they withheld recognition it would undermine the Jewish state's legitimacy in the eyes of the world, and especially its control over Jerusalem.

But the unbelievable has happened: an agreement for mutual recognition between the Vatican and the State. The business was accompanied by superlatives talking about a "historical treaty." And now the well-planned visit by their leader. This follows declarations he made expressing regret, so to speak, for the troubles the Church afflicted on Am Yisroel.

An expert on Christianity commented that in doing so they changed their own theological foundations, and that from now on a new page will open on the relations between Eisov and Yaakov, and so forth. From now on Jews and Christians will live side by side in brotherhood, Uvo letzorer go'eil.

But we know what Chazal have taught us: Le'om mile'om ye'emotz, when one arises the other one falls, and when the other falls, the first one rises. If someone will tell you, "Jerusalem exists and Edom (Tzur) is destroyed," believe it, and vice versa, R"l. But if someone tells you both are flourishing or neither, don't believe it.

We turn to the words of Chazal, because from them we draw out our path and our relationships in the darkness of golus: a political treaty, temporary pragmatism (even if the "temporary" is long), is possible and sometimes even necessary. A treaty of brotherhood is not possible, and is even frightfully dangerous.

In the first years after the establishment of the State of Israel, one of the Church's bishops delivered a broadcast speech on the "religion of love" in the "first Hebrew city." Someone got up and asked, "How is the existence of the Jewish State reconcilable with the Christian theology of the destruction of Judaism and its heritage?" The bishop replied, "What are you talking about? What Jewish State is there? Here we have a state of Israelis, who are in every way an integral part of western culture. And look how your own ruler is trying to erase all the symbols of Judaism." That's how the perturbed bishop answered, ukedai bizoyon vokotzef.

Hashem in His chesed has not forsaken us, and Israelis tried, but ka'asher ya'anu oso, ken yirbeh vechein yifrotz. But this government is leading a breakdown of our Jewish strength. This is no longer a State that pretends to be Jewish, this is merely a state of its citizens. If its Arab citizens increase, it will be Arabic. If the majority of citizens are influenced by Christianity, R"l, it will be Christian, etc. (And the well-known dream of the visionary of the Jewish state about mass conversion of Jews to Christianity will materialize, R"l.) How all this relates to our stance and our struggle in the future is not the topic of this essay.

But the chachmei Edom in the Vatican (vechochmo bagoyim ta'amin) have studied past deeds well. They sense that an ideological-moral breakdown has befallen the majority of Israeli residents. Life has absolutely no meaning to them, all the more so life in a battle-stricken land. Why is it worth living, why is it worth sacrificing your life? This was the central (not technical) reason that government leaders made a treaty with Arafat, Israel's worst murderer in the last century, a true descendent of Yishmoel. Why think about anything but "eat and drink" amidst a peace of sorts, "for tomorrow we shall die."

They are pushing Judaism farther and farther away. It is forbidden to present talks on Judaism in army camps, and in other public gatherings. The media was enlisted to slander anything connected to Torah and mitzvos. So much so that if it should enter someone's mind to search for meaning, he would turn first to all kinds of outside broken wells rather than to his own sources.

Here is the Vatican's opportunity, by way of a treaty with the government of Israelis. Kisses, flattery, etc., followed by the Pope's visit and his recognition of this state. They will be allowed entrance into the main door for whatever they want. They will be able to "sell" their religion more easily than until now. It is very possible that soon their schools will be granted a budget allocation from our taxes, including that of the faithful believers of Israel. There will be no criticism of their schools or their activities. It will be almost prohibited to speak against the mission, because they are official representatives of the Vatican, whose diplomatic relations it is so vital to keep.

Who knows how many of our brethren, particularly Russian immigrants and yuppies from northern Tel Aviv who are searching for a high "scholastic level," may then run to their schools, if they are recognized as official institutions by mandatory educational law. How many hundreds of thousands of young people will come to study Christianity, R"l? Since the previous educational minister let Christian studies into their schools, it will be easy and legitimate to search for them from their source. The visceral reaction that Christianity once drew is fading. Who knows if meshumad will not turn into a title of honor to them?

On the contrary, whoever speaks against the missionaries will be considered from the Dark Ages. The Vatican's representatives, under the aegis of our government of porkei ha'ol, will set the tone. And Purim, R"l, will turn into a day that they captured the queen even though the king was there in the symbolic house. It will turn into a day, R"l, representing assimilation and shmad.

Of course all of this will not come about in one day. But this is the one-time opportunity for the church to come in like peaceful allies, and not in order to give in, but to conquer once and for all, and to poison the souls of acheinu beis Yisroel.

If one should ask, "Why be suspicious?" Besides all the intellectual answers, here are the words of the Rambam in his commentary to Ovos, chapter 1, at the end of the sixth mishna: "When there is a known evil doer, whose deeds are well known, and afterwards we see him doing one deed that indicates that he is good, but there is still a remote possibility that the deed was bad. In such a case, it is fitting to be wary of him and not to believe that he is good, as long as there is a possibility for the bad. About this one is said (Mishlei, 26): "Even if his voice is sweet, don't believe him, because seven abominations are in his heart."

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