On the Way to a Jewish State (c)

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series we began to define a concise platform for rectifying the state with correspondence to the Kabbalistic sefirot. We began with the sefirah of crown and we reached the sefirah of beauty. Now let’s continue from where we left off.

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Making Aliyah – Victory

Loving-kindness, might and beauty are the principal attributes of the heart, corresponding to the emotive level of the human psyche. The attributes that follow have a more practical-operative character and represent the lower, more behavioral level of the psyche; like the movement of the legs, which is more powerful than the hands, but less refined. Here, we come to the sefirah of netzach (victory), corresponding to the right leg, which steps out first.[1] The inner motivating power of the sefirah of victory is confidence. This refers to trusting God, which in turn leads to a rectified sense of self-confidence, and the ability to get up and act. The root “victory” (נֶצַח) has a number of related connotations: acting resolutely to be victorious and overcome the obstacles that stand in our way; overseeing work and organization (e.g., conducting an orchestra); acting to achieve a stable and long-lasting realization of goals, etc…

In the structure we recommend for rectifying the state, the sefirah of victory corresponds to making aliyah (immigrating) to Israel, following in the footsteps of Abraham whose first commandment was, “Go for yourself…”[2] The concept of making aliyah in the Torah and in our sages’ teachings – in contrast to wanderlust and emigration for vague reasons – portrays the sanctity of the Land of Israel and its uniqueness from all other countries. “The Land of Israel is higher than all other countries” and immigrating to the Holy Land is a part of a complete elevation process, “One elevates in sanctity [and does not downgrade].” The pinnacle of ascent is the pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.

Although the past few generations have seen the immigration of millions of Jews to the Land of Israel, we must not forget that there are millions more who remain in foreign lands, and any Jewish state worthy of its name should encourage aliyah as a national goal of the highest priority. How can we encourage aliyah? Obviously, the state must open its gates to every Jew, as in the law of return that exists today (which still needs fundamental amendment; see below), by offering benefits and grants to new immigrants (an “absorption basket”) and by helping them in the absorption process with substantial assistance. But, the material conditions provided for new immigrants cannot suffice to warm the hearts of our brethren in the Diaspora to immigrate to the Land of Israel. Thank God, aliyah these days is considerably quicker and easier than it was during previous generations. However, we should find a way to stimulate the desire to make aliyah and warm their hearts to love and live in the Land of Israel, not just as a refuge from persecution, but as an ideal. This goal can be achieved once the country has a pleasing “Jewish face” that will attract every Jew to automatically wish to make his or her home here.

This is why there is a strong connection between rectifying the legal system (which we mentioned with regard to the sefirah of beauty) and immigrating to Israel: when the Torah sets the tone of the country, and the sanctity of the land comes to the fore in the public arena – then the natural connection of the Jew to his land will be aroused from its slumber, “Zion shall be redeemed through justice [rectifying the judicial system in the Land of Israel, then] and her returnees through righteousness [referring to the renewed return to Zion].”[3] In addition, mass aliyah will result from an amended leadership that strives forward, like that of Moses (who represents the attribute of victory) who brought the Jewish People out of Egypt and led them to the Promised Land.

We should not only teach new immigrants Hebrew in the absorption center, they should also major in how a Jew should behave in the Holy Land, in which we are under direct Divine supervision, “A land Havayah, your God, looks after; the eyes of Havayah your God are always upon it”[4]; living in it demands observing a Torah life according to God’s mitzvot with even more care[5]; living in it the Torah and commandments are observed in full;[6] and living in it we will merit heightened spiritual awareness and prophecy. Immigrating to the Land of Israel is infused with a sense of the eternal nature of the Jewish People, “The Eternity of Israel (netzach yisroel) does not lie.”[7] In essence, this is also true of belief in the Resurrection of the Dead (the eternal nature of every individual Jew), “He gives a soul [Resurrection of the Dead] to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk upon it.”[8]

Removing Dangerous Elements – Acknowledgment

Together with the sefirah of netzach (victory) comes the sefirah of hod (acknowledgment), as a joint effort of the two legs (also referred to as “two halves of one body”). In the human psyche, the sefirah of acknowledgment relates to the ability to be grateful for the good, to admit to sin and to acknowledge the truth, and it is motivated by the quality of sincerity in the soul, “Be sincere with Havayah your God.”[9] The sefirah of victory is relatively “male” and active, while the sefirah of acknowledgment is “female” and passive, with a mindset that “everything that God does is for the best.”[10] In the psyche, acknowledgment and thanksgiving refine and purify the soul and act like the immune system acts in the body to guard us against unwelcome intrusions to our minds.

With reference to rectifying the state, alongside the positive action of encouraging Jewish immigration, undesirable elements must be prevented from taking hold of the country. Just as the sefirah of might accompanies the sefirah of loving-kindness and complements it, so too the sefirah of acknowledgment accompanies the sefirah of victory and guards it from falling into a state of disease [a case of “My glory has turned upon me as a destroyer,” where “My glory” (הוֹדִי) is also the possessive form of “acknowledgment” (הוֹד)]. So, for example, although the “Law of Return” is a wonderful idea, nonetheless, we still have an obligation to correct the definition of “Who is a Jew?” since this law currently contains a broad breach through which many gentiles can enter the country (such as 'converts' who did not accept upon themselves to live by the Torah, or hundreds of thousands of Russian immigrants who are not Jewish). So too we cannot ignore the broad phenomenon of illegal foreign immigrants. No civilized country can ever light-heartedly allow a flood of illegal foreign immigrants to drown it, how much more so is this true for a Jewish state, whose main task is to guard its Jewish character by nurturing a sensitivity towards the danger of intermarriage, which for us is an existential question (this in particular will bring great blessing to all of mankind).

At the first phase – as early as possible – we must prevent anyone who endangers our security from residing in the country. This belongs to the earlier stage of the sefirah of might, and “Israel’s firm arm” by which we deport terrorists (and missionaries, too) who pose an immediate threat to our existence. However, now, in the sefirah of acknowledgment, we come to a more comprehensive “root” treatment, which will become possible once the law system has been rectified and follows mass Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel. This treatment relates not only to the obvious enemy but also to the undercover enemy, i.e., any hostile population who pose a long-term security or spiritual danger (such as intermarriage). Therefore emigration for this population to other countries must be encouraged, whether by offering a financial grant, or at least by not offering them with our own hands the optimal conditions necessary to foster a hotbed for terror. Let’s recall that when the War of Independence broke out, entire Arab villages fled from the country. However, even if the situation today appears to be different, we must begin repairing our mindset by recognizing our right and our obligation not to leave an antagonistic element in our midst. Indeed, the Torah’s warns us, “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you, then those whom you leave over will be as spikes in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they will harass you in the land in which you settle.”[11]

The general outline for rectification should be based on the description of the three epistles that Joshua sent to the Canaanites who inhabited the Land of Israel before it was conquered by the Children of Israel: “Whoever wishes to flee shall flee. Whoever wishes to make peace shall make peace. Whoever wishes to go to war shall go to war.”[12] In this context, we are reminded of Sarah who knew how to demand that Abraham, the man of loving-kindness, should banish Ishmael from their home because he posed a security danger.

At an even more advanced stage, we will be able to apply in full the laws of the “resident foreigner.”[13] A resident foreigner is a non-Jew who is committed to observing the seven Noahide laws – the fundamental obligation of every human being.[14] Such residents are entitled to live in the Land of Israel under our auspices and receive select social benefits, as required by the Torah, “A convert or a resident; he shall live with you.”[15] However, this can only become possible once the Jewish People is rooted in its land and the law of the Jubilee year is reinstituted, at which stage we will be capable of incorporating a population of resident foreigners without spiritual danger. This stage marks the completion of the stage

 of “kingdom” which we discussed in the next part of this series. However, we cannot allow anyone who doesn’t stand up to the minimal criteria of the resident foreigner to remain in the Land of Israel, just as it would not be correct to bring home a tenant who has a bad influence on the family who lives there, “They shall not settle in your land, lest they bring you to sin against Me.”[16]

In Rabbi Shimon’s Merit

To conclude, we will mention that Lag Ba’omer corresponds to “acknowledgment within acknowledgment.” In his teachings, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi) combined the glowing light of the Torah’s inner dimension, which opens the gate to the upper worlds, together with a burning love for all Jews. Indeed, he was allowed to exit his cave only after he had learned to love every Jew. From a different perspective, Rashbi represents an uncompromising assertiveness towards the enemies of the Jewish People (which was why he initially had to escape to the cave). This teaches us that assertiveness against the enemy stems only from pure and positive incentives, “Lovers of God, hate evil.”[17]

TO BE CONTINUED



[1] See Yoma 11b; one picks up one’s right leg first when walking.

[2] Genesis 12:1.

[3] Isaiah 1:26-27.

[4] Deuteronomy 11:12.

[5] See Sefer Chassidim p. 59; Sefer Shnei Luchot Habrit, Gate of the Letters, Letter Kuf, The Sanctity of the Land of Israel.

[6] See Nachmanides interpretation on Leviticus 18:25.

[7] I Samuel 15:29.

[8] Isaiah 42:5. See also Ketubot 111a, that the Resurrection of the Dead is particularly related to the Land of Israel.

[9] Deuteronomy18:13.

[10] Berachot 60b.

[11] Numbers 33:55.

[12] Maimonides, Laws of Kings 6:1-5.

[13] See Maimonides, Laws of Idolatry, ch. 10; Laws of Forbidden Relations 14:7-8; Laws of Kings, 6:1, 10-11.

[14] Enumerated in Maimonides Laws of Kings ch. 9.

[15]  Leviticus 25:35; Maimonides Laws of Idolatry 10:2; Nachmanides Reservations on Sefer Hamitzvot, Additional Positive Commandments 17.

[16] Exodus 23:33.

[17] Psalms 97:10.

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