Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

22 Sivan 5765 - June 29, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
On Not Being Orange

Those who are scheduled to move out of their longstanding homes, where they were sent by legitimate and legal government actions, are deserving of the utmost sympathy and understanding. It is hard and it is tragic, and it is worse than it need be because there are so many difficult strategic and political questions about the policy that was adopted by the government. Sharon himself has never fully explained the reasons for the unilateral disengagement and what he expects it to accomplish, making it all the more difficult to accept it.

Moreover, even if it is theoretically justifiable (though it remains unclear if it is justified in practice) it always remains painful to have to part with parts of Eretz Yisroel.

Sympathy? Yes. Understanding? Yes. But that does not mean that we will tie an orange band on our wrist or to our car.

The struggle against the government and its disengagement plan is a political struggle. As with almost everything in life as complicated as this, it raises religious issues such as having to move yeshivas and graves. But these issues arise within a context that is purely political.

In contrast, for example, the struggle for the integrity of the graves along the route of the Trans Israel Highway is religious in nature, though it also raises political issues as MKs use their weight in the government coalition to try to influence the company to treat Jewish graves with consideration. But the basic question is a religious one.

The dati-leumi people who are most involved in trying to stop the disengagement tend to throw all the various elements together. It is not clear if this a result of their own confusion about the issues or if it is a policy decision on their part to try to sow confusion among their opponents and potential supporters. They list all the issues and difficulties involved, without discriminating among them as to which are critical and which not, and which are political and which not.

According to their approach, everything that involves the State of Israel is a religious issue, since the State itself has religious meaning. This is a central principle of the religious Zionist movement, and it is one that we reject.

If the Zionist movement in general has religious significance, it is clearly negative. For many Zionists, there is an imperative to destroy all of the "old" elements of Judaism, including the Torah. This was seen by HaRav Chaim Soloveitchik and HaRav Elchonon Wassermann, among others, and recently argued by historian Yoram Hazony who showed that the desire to undermine and destroy the Jewish religion was consistently apparent in the actions of secular Zionists over many years.

Orange cloth has become a new symbol of Zionism. On Yom Ha'atzma'ut it was brought into their shuls along with the State flag.

The symbols that the Torah tells us to don are tzitzis and tefillin, which point to Hashem, His mitzvos, and our relationship to them. As the Seforno says at the end of last week's parsha (Shelach): "Uzechartem es kol mitzvos Hashem — remember that you are the servant of Hashem yisborach, and that you undertook to do His mitzvos with an oath and a curse."

We measure all our actions by the Torah. This does not just mean that we check to make sure that the Torah does not prohibit what we want to do. Rather, our goal is to do what the Torah wants us to do.

Most of the anti-disengagement values and the political activity are not taken from Torah sources. They were drawn in from "broken wells" outside the tradition. It is true that these elements do not immediately clash with any Torah principle, but our tradition is to keep ourselves pure. We do not add anything to the Torah, neither in act nor in thought. We do not seek a State nor any of its symbols, but only Torah and mitzvos.

Our exclusive desire is to learn Torah and do the mitzvos — ad bi'as Go'el Tzedek, soon in our days.

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