Thursday, September 06, 2007

In response to Berel Wein's articles "Disappointment" and "Pruzbul"

Sent to the Jerusalem Post.
Re:  Disappointment by Rabbi Berel Wein
Rabbi Berel Wein talks about Disappointment and I am very disappointed in Berel Wein. I liked the first 2 paragraphs of this essay. Yishayahu and Yirmiyahu are correct to be disappointed in Am Yisroel.  Yes I do expect more from Rabbi Wein and from Am Yisroel.  We can do much better and in fact in we don't get down to business, I fear we are in big trouble.  Berel Wein talks about our disappointment in the Zionist State.  Is he excusing his own unwillingness to claim Eretz Yisroel as his rightful heritage.  Zionism with the formation of the State of Israel has its failings but in fairness, did Torah Jewry at the time claim Eretz Yisroel.   Is Berel Wein not addressing and/or excusing our own unwillingness to observe the Mitzvot at face value.  Hasn't Berel Wein instead lowered his expectations from Hashem in delivering His promises if we keep the Mitzvoth and fails to accept any responsibility on the part of Rabbinic Leadership as per how Am Yisroel has properly been keeping Mitzvoth.  Let Rabbi Wein ask himself how is it possible to keep the Mitzvoth in Chumash Devarim which are primarily Mitzvoth that we are to observe in Eretz Yisroel if the mainstream Rabbanim have not even publicly declared that Eretz Yisroel is our rightful Heritage.  Rabbi Wein may answer as other Rabbinic Leaders, that if we do not have the Land then we are excused from keeping the Mitzvoth dependant on the Land.  If this is the case, should we allow our right hand  to be cut off so that we be excused from keeping tefillin. Let's say, our right hand is sick.  Should we attempt to amputate it or cure it?   How can we function properly without a right hand? No wonder Zionism was such a failure.  The majority of Shomrei Torah and Mitzvoth do not even think that Eretz Yisroel is necessary to keep the Torah.  2000 years of Galus has shown that we can properly keep Torah without Eretz Yisroel.  Ki Mitzion Tezei Torah!  Why isn't Torath Eretz Yisroel coming from Rabbi Berel Wein?  There is no outcry from the majority of mainstream Rabbinic Leaders when Bush talks about a 2 State Solution.  Only the Evangelical Christians like John Hagee quotes from Chumash Breishis and the Covenant Hashem makes with Avraham.  What is Rabbi Wein and the other Rabbinic Leaders thinking when they says in Selichos  Vayikra 26 Pasuk (42) "Vezacharti as Brisi Yaakov, Veaf as Brisi Yitzchok, Veaf es Brisi Avraham Ezkor, Vehaaretz Ezkor".  Please visit
 One can and should have great expectations from Hashem.  However, if we fail to keep our end of the bargain then Hashem doesn't keep His.   If we find that we have indeed kept all the Mitzvoth as the Torah requires then we can say that these times are Yesurim shel Ahava.  However, if we are honest, then we will clearly see that we need to raise the level of our observance and surely Hashem will raise His level of blessings.  Any other conclusions regarding the Zionist State as being disappointing is only because we fail to look inward at our own observances and find them disappointing.    It is no surprise that Rabbi Wein finds that Hillel's institution of Pruzbul as having many positive results. See It seems to me quite clear that Rabbi Wein is not connecting the dots.  Keeping Shmita properly brings security in the Land.
Rabbi Wein does not seem to see any connection between the bombardment of Sederot with the abandonment of Gush Katif.  The Abandonment of Gush Katif was clearly because Am Yisroel did not cry out against it and allowed it to happen.  Did Rabbi Wein and the mainstream Rabbanim in Eretz Yisroel (the  Gedoilim) or in America (e.g. Agudath Yisroel of America, the OU etc) at any point speak out against the destruction of beautiful communities and their means of Parnassa? Did they carefully examine the observance of Shmita and the other Mitzvoth teluyot Baaretz in Gush Katif? Doesn't Hashem promise that if we observe the Mitzva of Shmita properly than we will live securely in our Land.  Anita Tucker told me that she had in fact wish to let the Land fallow.  However, the Badatz Hashgacha begged her to follow their direction as per keeping Shmita so that they wouldn't have to do business with the Arabs.  Did it occur to Rabbi Wein that perhaps the Rabbinic dispensation were not sufficiently good enough for Hashem?  Maybe Hashem said what He meant and meant what He said.   Apparently, Hashem is not happy with how we keep or rather how we are not keeping Shmita properly.  Tosfos you mention says that indeed Shmitta was never kept properly.  However, do you really think Hashem wishes to curse us?  Lo Bashamayim hi and the Mitzvoth are in our reach to do them.  We need the desire and longing. Let's for a moment suppose that it is not sufficient for us to rely on Rabbinic dispensations such as Pruzbul. People release their loans.  People need not pay back their debts.  Okay it would cause chaos.  However, Katrina and the War in Lebanon did not result in Chaos? Let's our imagination run a bit wild.   How about a nuclear attack on Washington DC or a Hurricane in NYC.   CHAOS!  Two small planes caused chaos on 9/11. Maybe Hashem wants us to experience a bit of Chaos and if not will force us in a situation where we are forced to share our resources.  Perhaps Pruzbul gives us the illusion that we are observing Shmita properly just like the security wall gives the residents the illusion that they are protected.  In fact quite the opposite is true.  The terrorists can throw over the wall or dig under the wall and when you try to catch them, the wall is blocking you from seeing where they are..   This was the advice an army general told the residents of Efrat when the intifada began. He advised them not to build a wall.  However as soon as the general became involved in politics, pleasing the public was more important than actual security. He then agreed to building the wall because it gave the public the illusion of security and thereby satisfied their need to feel secure as opposed to actually being secure.  If you wish to know the name of this general please contact Yossi Baumol that lives in Efrat.
So does Berel Wein want  the people to have the illusion that they are keeping Mitzvoth properly or does he really want to keep Mitzvoth properly?  Does he simply want to be a historian of all of history's failures and repeat them or does he want to make history by truly living Torah and Life and learning from History's mistakes.

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