Friday, June 08, 2007

The Meraglim in our generation

In Kol Hator, the GRA (Vilna Gaon) said that in the time right before mashiach, the sin of the meraglim will come once more.
The meralim were the 12 spies sent by Moses to tour erets Israel of which 10 came back giving a report urging the people not to go to war.

Before I go on with this post, let me make something very clear. When you call someone one of the meraglim, this is not an insult. It is actually one of the biggest compliments you could give them. The Meraglim were HUGE talmidei chachamim that just made one sin. When you call someone one of the meraglim, you are first saying he’s a talmid chacham, then saying that he is making a mistake on one specific idea in Judaism.

What is this idea?

The kli yakar explains that the sin of the Meraglim was not because the talmidei chachamim did not like erets Israel, or because they had a lack of emunah when it comes to winning the war with God’s help. That wouldn’t make sense since these people were HUGE talmidei chachamim! No, the sin was something more refined. The Meraglim were used to living in the desert. Think about life in the desert: You wake up, go to the mikveh, pray shacharit, learn all of morning seder, then go home and eat with your family for lunch. Then, you go back to learn for afternoon seder, praying mincha somewhere in between, and go back home to spend some time with the family once again and relax. You then pray arvit and learn as late at night as you can manage. Sounds familiar? Well to anyone who every learnt in yeshiva, it should!
In yeshiva, all the food is provided, there is no need to work, we can completely concentrate on our spiritual growth. Isn’t this the ideal live to live a religious life?

Well, while it might be the ideal way to live a religious life, it is not the way to live a Jewish life. This is mamash torat chuts laarets. You can learn all you want, if you don’t apply it to the national life of the Jewish People, then it is not authentic Judaism. Judaism is first and foremost a nationality. Thus, our national life is more important then anything else.

What happened with the meraglim? They were ready to enter erets Israel, but then they told themselves: Wait a minute, this will mean we will need to fight wars. This is horrible for our limmud torah. It also means we will need to work the land, I mean, the Mann is going to stop falling from the skies, this is also horrible! Who wants to go to Israel? Its not Godliness, its Maase Satan! Zionism is Kfira!

The Majority of Talmidei Chachamim got it wrong and said: “We’re better off not joining the IDF, not going to the army, not entering and working the land. Nothing! Just limmud torah!”

When Kalev and Yehoshua spoke, I can hear the voices of the people saying: “You kofrim! Go back to sit! You’re just a Zionist Kofer!”
But they were right! They were the only ones who understood that there is no authentic Judaism outside of Israel and any opportunity to go to this land needs to be taken.

The problem is that after a long time in exile where all our focus is on limmud torah, we tend to forget that the ikar is not limmud torah. Torah is secondary to the Jewish People. The Rambam says this explicitly in Igeret Teiman: If there was no Jewish People, there would be no torah (since Torah is our national message).

In our generation, just as the GRA predicted, in the generation of atchalta digueoula, we see the same arguments coming once more. All we can do as individuals is to make sure to strengthen our Judaism. Those of us who know the importance of the national life in Judaism need to show that we can be Jews who are just as serious about our Judaism as the ones who don’t understand the importance of nationalism. We need to be Kalevs and Joshuas.

And to our brothers following the meraglim of our generations, who are mamash talmidei chachamim but who are wrong on one very important issue, let me tell a story:
Rav Oury Cherki was in Montreal for a Shabbaton, while I was in Israel. I therefore wasn’t there but my friend told me at the melave malkah, Rav Cherki asked everyone to say what he thought of Jerusalem and one of the Charedi Rabbis there said: Jerusalem makes me think of the Gay Parade.
In a generation where the Jewish People is going back to its ancestral homeland, all that someone focuses on is one religious incident which occurred in this holy city, taking away the awesomeness of the miracle of National Resurrection.
My friend told me Rav Cherki completely destroyed this person’s answer but this shows how in our generation, just like in the meraglim’s generation, people show much more value to the Religion then to the Nation when the religion is just secondary to our Nationalism “Asher Bachar Banu Mikol Haamim Venatan Lanu et Torato”.

So please guys:
Stop being “religious”, start being Jewish!

Shabbat Shalom more...


Mordechai said...

Excuse me? Don't be "religious" be Jewish?!? Your Jewish regardless, the matter is that every country is like this: A group of people live in the land and then form a constitution. The Jews had the opposite. We had the constitution (i.e. Torah) and then got the land. The Torah is the key, the center. Not the land.

Dan said...

Read the older posts and ull clearly see i never ever said we should deny the torah...
What I'm saying is that religion is all about individuals getting closer to God while in Judaism it is done on a national level (as u said ureself by calling Torah our constitution). Therefore, we are not a "religion" per say...
once again, go see the older posts..

As for what came first, truth is nationalism came first..
God told Abraham : Veescha legoy Gadol... not le-dat gadol.
Until Matan Torah, Judaism was all about nationalism... Torah gave us the way to bring out our unique nationalism, which is influenced by Godliness, to this world... Without Torah, our nationalism nowadays is useless because its just like any other nationalism in the world... but without nationalism, torah is not authentic.