At the risk of belaboring the points made in regard to Rabbi Limpman’s response (5TJT.com May 3, 2012) I would like to say that I would normally need not respond and can respect other opinions even if they differ from mine. But I must respond in this case because Rabbi Lipman not only completely misconstrued what I said but accused me personally of spreading lies about David ben Gurion and thus harboring sinas chinam. Such accusations are beyond the pale of the intellectual discourse I had hoped my letter/response would bring and passing that image of Charedim onto your non-Charedi readership will only lead to more baseless hatred and “us vs. them” which is the very animosity Rabbi Lipman and I are trying to avoid.
Let me preface by saying whole heartedly that the intent of my response was not to pour more oil on the flame of distrust but rather was an effort to clarify the position of the Charedi world so that both Charedim and Non-Charedim could begin to understand each other better and thus move from entrenched positions to underlying common interests, that of redemption. As Reb Elya Meir Bloch Ztl(Rosh Yeshiva of Telz) echoed in 1954 we Charedim should never lose sight that while we do not accept Zionism as is currently understood by the current State of Israel we should not confuse the Government of Israel with Eretz Yisroel, the Holy Land. We Charedim should still be longing and actively involved in bringing the final redemption rather than completely forsaking such a Mitzva (Yishuv Eretz Yisroel) simply because of an ideology that we hold foreign has taken over the reins.
In the end we are all a part of Klal Yisroel and believe it or not we are all on the same side. When, for example, the Zionists lose we all lose in a sense and vice versa. Allow me to explain. I heard the entire speech given by Yair Lapid at the Charadi graduation in Kirat Ono that Rabbi Lipman referred to and while it was a first step towards possible reconciliation and a very positive heartfelt speech I felt it was anticlimactic in that Yair kept saying that the Charedim won and the Non-Religious lost not realizing that this is not about winning or losing. If Yair could consider the victory of the Charadim a loss for his family and his irreligious friends what does that say about our responsibility as Charadim to spread love and the word of God/D’var Hashem? We all have much work to do towards mending the broken fences of the past, no doubt, and so this is not about winning since we are all on the same side rather it is about understanding each other and our differing views so that we can move from entrenched positions to common underlying interests. That of bringing the redemption closer so that we may serve the Almighty without all the background noise of hatred, distrust and , shibud malchious(external involvement of other nations).
I was very careful to be respectful of Rabbi Lipman’s suggestion that we may be at a time where we are at the beginning of the final Redemption period. I whole heartedly agreed that that was a distinct possibility while also suggesting, as others much greater then myself have, that we may however merely be at the period of the end of the exile. These two positions are not something that can be dealt with in a newspaper article and have been widely debated over the last half century long before Rabbi Lipman and I were even born. Sadly, I was not afforded the same respect. Frankly, it was bit churlish for Rabbi Lipman to have the temerity to suggest that if we Charedim would only just listen to “the entire point of his article” and accept Chazal as he understands it then there would be no question that we are in the beginning of the Redemption period. I wonder where does one get the effrontery to say such a thing? I am not suggesting he is wrong nor am I pulling rank with the common Daas Torah argument since they seem to be on both sides of the issue, I am merely suggesting that the matter is far from conclusive as many a greater Rabbi the he and I did not necessarily come to the same conclusion despite learning the same exact Chazal’s. If Rabbi Lipman is going to be intellectually honest he must ask himself why that is the case, no worse than any Scientist or Doctor that seeks peer review. Furthermore, Rabbi Lipman says without equivication and with such surety that though the modern State of Israel could have gone “bad”, “it did not”. Huh? I wonder under what rock is he living? Do not accuse me of suggesting that I am saying it is all bad. On the contrary, to be sure there are so many good things to be proud of but there are some very bad things still going on and the (religious) Zionists (together with the Charadeim, Secular, Traditionalist, etc.) still have much work to do before declaring victory. As but one of many examples (of that which is “bad” amongst the much good, no doubt) should I assume Rabbi Lipman feels that the annual Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv is a good thing?
Rabbi Lipman wonders how “could one question whether one should say Hallel for a redemption that is not complete.” Actually, I was baffled by that question and truly wondered if he even read what I said (not questioned)? I never questioned or even said it could not be done and I agree Chanukah is a case in point. I merely stated a fact and said (not questioned) that Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank ZtL and Rav Chatzkel Sarna ZtL, who Rabbi Lipman so prominently referenced in his article, did not say Hallel and neither did David Ben Gurion for that matter. Did it ever occur to Rabbi Lipman why they did not say Hallel? Certainly they were aware of the Chazal’s he mentioned. They even suggested we were at the beginning of the Redmption so why did they not say it? If we are going to be intellectually honest Rabbi Lipman needs to ask as I have, why did they not say Hallel? And while we are mentioning Ben Gurion let me set the record straight. Rabbi Lipman makes it sound as though I suggested Ben Gurion wanted to create a society of rapist, murderers and thieves as though to turn Modern day Israel into a Biblical Sedom and Gomorrah, society run amok. Rather, I merely stated that Ben Gurion wanted that Zionist society should run the gamut and contain the “full spectrum” with “rapist, murderers, and thieves included” just as any “normal” European society would. Rabbi Lipman is a Talmudic scholar and well aware that the word “included” infers that they are merely one segment of that full spectrum and not the full spectrum itself. Believe it or not Ben Gurion also wanted Charadim as part of the greater Zionist society he envisioned, though according to Professor Yeshaya Leibowitz he seems to have had nefarious reasons for that (see Y. Leibowitz, I wanted to ask you p.338). Rabbi Lipman claims that my reference to Ben Gurion is a lie and sinas chinam on my part. While that charge is untrue as I bare no hatred in this regard he is technically correct in that we do not have a record (that I am aware of) for posterity showing that Ben Gurion used the above criminals as an example. Nevertheless, as someone that has known a few Talmudic scholars I and others inferred it from the following statement that he did in fact say. Here is what he said. “Zionism would have attained its aims when the first Hebrew speaking policeman arrested the first Hebrew speaking prostitute”(Martin Van Creveld, In the Land of Blood and Honey pg. 27). Even if Rabbi Lipman wanted to be Dan L’kav Zcus (judge favorably) and say that Ben Gurion only said that jokingly after one too many drinks one does not have to be Shakespeare to know that many a truth said in jest. Besides which, I do not find that particularly funny and rather quite offensive as should Rabbi Lipman.
Rabbi Lipman’s claim that I suggested that “everyone but the Charadim are holding back the Moshiach” is both false and ludicrous. On the contrary, I very clearly stated that instead of complaining about the state of affairs we Charedim should “direct the future” by doing more (akin to what Yair Lapid said) and that with “their high birth rate” they would soon have to be reckoned with since no large minority can be ignored forever without dire consequences upon the governing body that rules them. I also stated that while we continue to long for the Redemption “we could do more in that regard”. So it is false to suggest that I suggested that we Charedim are also not holding back Moshicah since there is much more we can do and only a fool would say otherwise.
I must say that while I am gladdened by Rabbi Lipman’s love for Eretz Yisroel he should realize that the Zionists do not have a monopoly on this love even if we should be thankful that with Gods help they made “the desert bloom”(amongst other positive accomplishments). As I stated the issue is not Moshiach or the longing for the Redemption which is of the first questions that the Heavenly Court will ask us upon our death, but rather an ideology that many a Zionist have themselves stated openly was in direct opposition to God and Judaism.(See for example–Chaim Chassas, in the newspaper of the Zionist’s, Ha’Arutz, 1943, “Zionism and Judaism is not one thing but two different things. And of course two contradicting one another. Zionism starts at the place where Judaism is destroyed…one thing is certain, Zionism is not a continuation or healing of wounded Judaism, but rather an uprooting.”)
I agree with Rabbi Lipman wholeheartedly that this is not about “us vs them” and it was disheartening and hurtful that he would accuse us Charedim of that malaise. By doing so he only seems to further the very animosity he claims to be trying to dispel. In fact, my original letter ended with a call towards Jewish unity. In addition, I referenced the Talmudic passage ( the editor omitted accidentally) in Berachot 10a where Bruria said to her husband Rabbi Meyer, “destroy the sin, not the sinner” so that we could unite and not confuse other Jews with an ideology that may be foreign. In the end we are all on the same side and are all in this together wanting the same redemption for all of Klall Yisroel. We are but one nation amongst so many that would otherwise destroy us. God wants us to remember that we are our brother’s keeper and must stick together. As Benjamin Franklin said immediately after the signing of the Declaration of Independence in July of 1776, “we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately”
With love of all Klall Yisroel,
Jacob Hirsch Esq.