Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Avi Shafran - More on why Agudath Yisroel made a statement for Yerushalayim

Rabbi Shafran writes:
< Eretz Yisrael is the land not of any particular temporal government but of the Jewish People. >
I agree completely.

< Jews who are fortunate to live on the Jewish Land's holy soil are the brothers and sisters of Jews everywhere else. To suggest that any Jew or Jewish group does not have a right – or anything less than a responsibility – to speak up when an Israeli government seems poised to do something objectionable or dangerous is to deny the bond of Jews to both their ancestral homeland and to other Jews.>

I agree as well. The Jew is bound to their ancestral Homeland whether or not he/she resides in the Land and has the obligation to protect the Land and Settle the Land and keep the Mitzvoth in the Land just as much as his brother/sister that actually lives in the Land of Israel.

<Theoretically – and here Agudath Israel may part company with some other Orthodox groups – we could even countenance a non-Jewish flag flying over the city's walls, if it meant true safety, security and freedom of worship for the Holy Land's Jewish residents. Needless to say, though, such a scenario is nowhere in sight.>
In all due respect, there is a lack of understanding of the role of Am Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel.  Our purpose and raison D-etres is to be a Mamlechet Kohanim VeGoy Kadosh.  A Kingdom of Priests.  This means that we are the Sovereign Nation and others follow our lead.  There is no way we can be a Kingdom of Priests in a live and let live society. What kind of King lives as he wishes and the rest of the people live as they wishes.  The King sets the tone. Our purpose is not to be coercive of all the other nations but rather to be their Priest.  We in turn are servants to Hashem.  The other nations will look to us for guidance as we look to our Kohanim. When we learn about the Avodah in the Beis Hamikdash, we do not say it's not fair that only they get to enter the Sanctuary.  We do not say that it's not fair that only the High Priest can enter the H-ly of H-lies. The opposite.  We recognize that the H-ly service must be done just so.  It is not for everyone.  Yet everyone can learn from how it was conducted and apply it to their daily lives. Every detail is so educational that can be applied to the way we conduct our own lives and the lives of our own families and society.
If we have a strong desire to keep the Mitzvoth Teluyot Baaretz knowing that only through keeping these mitzvoth will Hashem bless our nation with security we would simply tell the world that only Am Yisroel has the mandate to keep the Mitzvoth and for this we need the Land of Israel.  Reciprocity is totally not in the picture as you suggest. Will a democratic peaceful Goyish State keep Shemittah?  Will they do Lequet shikcha and Peah on the non shemittah years? What about Teruma, Maaser and Bikurim?
Only Am Yisroel can bring forth the Kedusha and this holiness will then encompass all of humanity.
As for G-d building the Beit Hamikdash let me suggest the following.  When a person does a Mitzvah like giving Terumah to the Kohein, he does not give a direct present to the Kohein.  He gives it to Hashem.  The Kohein, benefits from the Mitzva to Hashem and not directly from his fellow Jew.  If the motivation for giving is off or if the motivation for receiving is faulty, like if the Kohein feels he owes the giver  or if the giver feels that the Kohein owes him anything, then the Mitzvah was not given or received properly. 
Now I will address the other point which states that Hashem Himself will build the 3rd Beit Hamikdash. (I would appreciate the source for the statement, if anyone knows it.)  A possible explanation is that  in the 3rd Beit Hamikdash the way it gets built is totally leshaim Shamayim with no aspirations of personal gain or honor, prestige or money.  Just like we teach our children.  Brick by brick of Mitzvoth. It will be a complete Avodas Kodesh.The end result is that it will be built purely from Mitzva gifts from Am Yisroel and from the Nations of the World.  Moshiach is ready to come today.  However, we must show Him that we truly want Eretz Yisroel and we strongly desire to keep Hashem's Mitzvoth and keep the H-ly Torah.  Now Moshiach is in exile.  He sees that after 2,000 years Hashem has performed miracle after miracle, and continues to do so in Sederot.  Yet Bush speaks of a Two State Solution and we are Silent. If we give away Eretz Yisroel then is there anyway to keep the Mitzvoth of the Land? Can one light a candle if there is no candle?