Monday, March 10. 2008
To Love Hashem or Endlessly Weep?
by Eugene Narrett, Ph.D.
Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
March 10, 2008
Eight students of the wisdom of the Holy One, the Highest Wisdom, were gunned down the evening of Thursday March 06, 2008, two weeks before the Fast of Esther and the holiday of Purim when the Jews of Persia rose up “and did to their enemies what they had thought to do to the Jews.” But the spirit that animated the fighters of Purim, three and half centuries later, the Maccabees in the Land of Israel and so many other Jewish warriors for millennia seems lost to the Rabbis of the modern state, and in the galut, too. Crying and proclaiming one’s heartache at funerals seems to have replaced the spirit of Moshe, Joshua, David, and millions of others, famous or unknown. Dissolving in tears, like a woman, lets one avoid confronting an idolatrous, treacherous and remorseless anti-Jewish police state, the client of gentile kingdoms and their lynchpin, Rome.
Indeed, in the morbidly feminized exilic-Judaism of our day it is a women-led group that calls for a new settlement to be built in the heartland, one for each student murdered at Yeshiva Mercaz HaRav Kook. Elsewhere women lead polemics for trans-gendered law (as in Boston, March 07).
Let’s try to examine this situation systematically with assistance from the Rambam so that all Israel from the ignorant to “Torah geniuses” can understand the response. Be clear on a key point first: as Torah and history show, Amalek may seem to disappear for generations but does not go away. The command to blot out his seed is eternal as reviewed below. “Fearlessness” is essential to truth, wise judgment and peace.*
In Hilchot Teshuva, commenting on the second passage of the Shema, the essential prayer of Israel (“you shall love Hashem your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might”) and on psalm 112:1, Rambam notes that “the Torah teaches [us] to love Hashem,” the Eternal One . Indeed, the third positive commandment incumbent on all Israel is “to love the Exalted One” . Rambam here quotes the initial statement of the Shema (Deut 6:4-9), and the sages “to reflect upon His mitzvoth…to experience the ultimate joy…and love. For if you love someone you glorify and praise him and call upon others to love Him and make Him beloved by men as Abraham did” (on Genesis 12:5, cf. Psalm 67, etc). Rambam follows the Mishnaic sages in grounding the prayer service in required service in mitzvah five, “to serve the Exalted One.” Quoting Rav Eliezer and Rav Yossi Rambam writes, ‘You shall fear Hashem your God and Him you shall serve…with Torah serve Him in His sanctuary.’ That is, seek to pray in it or facing it, as Solomon explained (1 Kings 8:23) .
Previous essays have shown that the pillars of the Jewish way are Torah, Temple service and deeds of loving kindness (Avot 1:2); that Torah is true and requires the Temple for its integrity. In context, gemillut chassdim requires all the mitzvoth or else we profane the Name and unified essence which is Truth. This requires a council of sages to appoint a king when Israel is a majority in the land. Let the scoffers consider it a toy; it is essential to many mitzvoth and would prevent atrocities like that at Mercaz Ha Rav and many others. This can be done: everything is foreseen, but freedom of choice is given.
The land of Israel must be settled by the Children of Israel, today collectively called “Jews”; every place where these murdered students who sanctified Hashem as they fell over pages of Torah spattered with their blood, from Kokhav HaShakhar, to Gush Etzion, Elon Moreh, and the Mt. of Olives, Har HaZeitim has been acquired, again. As for those who worship worthless gods, “they shall not dwell in your land.”
Keeping, inhabiting holy Jewish places that the Quartet and their idolatrous Jewish puppets say must be cleansed of Jews requires great courage and self-sacrifice of life or livelihood. Rambam understood this congruence of love, public exaltation of God’s glory and fearlessness. On the prohibition against fearing non-believers he cites mitzvoth that in immediate context pertain to war: “Do not break before them” (Deut 7:21). He adds, “It is a duty to fortify oneself to stand firm in the ranks” as a Jew does in prayer, “the resistance” (Amidah) especially in the Promised Land and especially in those places where non-believers, usurping God’s place, forbid Jews to live. Thus he writes, “the negative commandment is repeated, ‘you shall not fear them’ (Deut 3:22). The command is repeated many times in regard to battle “for in this condition [fearlessness] the truth can be fulfilled” [4, emphasis added].
This is what the Rabbis and all Jewish leaders wherever they are, especially in the Land of Israel should be teaching. Not fear of the “autocratic government” of idolatrous and stone-hearted judges who have gone utterly astray, willing servants and victims of the “enticers” (meisitim) but fearlessness in demonstrating the way of Judaism as explicated by an ‘all-time great’ like Rambam: “For not studying but doing is the main thing” (Avot 1:15, 17, 3:12, 22, etc). Before contending about how to trim hair and beard, the enemies must be defeated, destroyed and chased from the land or all the other mitzvoth are gone for they are for our life and the length of our days. This requires destroying the enemy.
Regarding the mitzvah “not to be broken before them” above it is notable that Rambam lists the prohibition “against ever forgetting what was done to us by the seed of Amalek.” He specifies the “seed” (zera) of Amalek to stress that it is people, human enemies of the Jews whose enmity Jews are commanded to remember and never forget; this is what we are not to doubt. The special Sabbath reading of remembrance that immediately precedes Purim centers on this history and these commandments, mitzvoth that are essential to live, love and serve Hashem, to Torah and prayer in the Sanctuary: indeed, to fulfill them is to show that one truly knows that there is a God and to reject with deeds the notion of any other gods. These were the first two mitzvoth at Sinai, heard and accepted by all the people.
Rambam explains, “We are exhorted not to be lax in this [destroying Amalek] and forget it.” Quoting Sifrei on Torah portion Ki Teitze (“when you go out – to battle,” Deut 23:10), “remember – with your mouth; ‘do not forget’ – in your heart.’ That is, do not neglect this hatred and do not remove it from your heart” . To love, serve, exalt and proclaim requires hating those that would destroy and bury this love and service as is being done today. This recognition is intrinsic to the proper celebration of Purim: to love Mordechai is identical to hating Haman, the descendant of Agag, king of the Amalekites whom Saul let live one or two days longer than commanded and thus left a window wherein millennia of agony for the Jews could enter (1 Samuel 15). “All traces of Amalek must be wiped out, even their herds and cattle” .
Rambam expounds on this, clarifying the import for Israel’s deeds to gain the level of the primal command “to love Hashem, your God” in positive mitzvoth stressing at length that the commandments to destroy the seven nations and Amalek are eternally binding even though for centuries or millennia some of these peoples have seemed to disappear (as the descendants of Agag did, only to appear in Haman, pogroms, the inquisition and Hitler) and involve waging war for which there is a time: those who explain this away will never have “time for peace” which is the ultimate goal, not the method of the Jewish way. Thus Rambam stresses, we are commanded “to cut off the seed of Amalek, male and female, minor and adult” and he links this to what “the Eternal One said, ‘wipe out the remembrance of Amalek.’ …the war with Amalek is a milchemet mitzvah” (“mandatory war” ): the deferments do not apply and women must take part; one can see, even in debased ways and bad faith by some in government, preparation for this today.
The previous mitzvah provides what may be the most pertinent explication of Rambam, given the equivocations of our day in which an atheist client regime intimidates and suborns rabbinic support for its betrayal, having them provide “interpretations” of Torah that ignore the greatest Rishonim and de-emphasize the land, the commandment to fight, within and beyond its borders for its integrity and always to destroy any threat to it or to Jews. Clearly Rambam recognized in his day already there were efforts to elide the specificity of this mitzvah and the stance of fearlessness and love that it supports, that is, to abrade and de-nature Judaism and its covenant with the Master of all worlds: the Highest Wisdom and the Highest Mercy – the God of Jacob . Rambam stipulates: “to slay the people of the seven nations and to annihilate them, these nations being the first root and foundation of idolatry.” The first root and foundation of a cultural edifice that again waxes great in recent centuries in the worship of the earth, of various forms of divination and sorcery, cross-dressing of various kinds (“to arouse the passions to perversion as often found in idol worship”), of human beings acting “as gods. The main point is that the Canaanites and Amalek continue to exist and are an eternal menace even though their distinct identity if obscured by the mixing of events and peoples.
Rambam continues, “Warring against them is a milchemet mitzvah. And lest one think that the mitzvah is one that does not pertain for all the generations” he notes that it does not have a time set for its accomplishment, adducing the future tense “You shall wipe out the memory of Amalek” (Deut 25:19). Has this obligation passed, and he answers passionately, “certainly not! It obtains in all the generations. Whenever the seed of Amalek is to be found it is to be annihilated.” This is the joy of Purim whose timeliness was noted by the mayor of Jerusalem at the funeral of the students murdered while sanctifying the Name in prayer and Torah study. These are the Amalekites who came to remind us of the purpose of portion Zakhor and the mitzvoth discussed with Rambam in this essay. The enemies remind us of who we are and of our obligations.
Many can and have joined Amalek. Note, in listing the negative mitzvoth, Rambam places “the prohibition against forgetting what was done to us by Amalek” between the prohibition of fearing non-believers and against blaspheming the Great Name” for “only in fearlessness can truth be fulfilled” and the mitzvah to “love Hashem your God” be observed . “This mitzvah [Amalek] is not linked to a specific time and place,” Rambam continues, even if “the remnant scattered and assimilated” history shows that they return until our final victory over them and the securing of the entire Promised Land with the building of the Temple, reestablishment of its service, ingathering of the exiles and the teaching of Torah as mapping an exemplary way of life. “For sometimes a mitzvah obtains for generations even when its object may have gone out of existence” or appears to have vanished “in a certain generation… Understand this principle and know it!” . The corollary negative mitzvoth include the “prohibition of showing compassion to idolaters” (“do not show them favor,” Deut 7:2) and “against allowing idolaters even to live in our land so we do not learn their heresy” and allow our thoughts to stray, erecting man-made value systems in place of Torah, which is not love, does not lead to love, abundance or peace. Quoting the Talmud’s explication of the prohibition of letting idolaters live in the land, Rambam reiterates words filled with contemporary import, “give them no chanayah [“property rights”]. “Do not make a covenant with them .
It is clear that Israel’s perennial client regime has utterly betrayed Judaism along with the security and peace about which they talk so much. Being de facto anti-Jewish, their fake peace is “the peace of the wicked” on which they arrogantly strut and declaim.
As the annual “pride” parades funded by the European branch of the Jew-hating Ford Foundation mean to humiliate and desecrate Israel, weakening its grace, so the strictures above, and the very sequence Rambam arranges for the mitzvoth, as he explains in his introduction to Yesodei HaTorah are topical and show connections, for example that Israel is beset by cultural and military battles and must fight them to win, defining and destroying the enemies that mean to destroy her. The series of negative mitzvoth, 14-60 link the cultural undermining and enticements of idolatry to the wars against current forms of the seven nations and Amalek. It is clear that the idolaters, diviners, enticers who draw Israel from love, fearlessness, Torah and truth are allied in fact and spirit with the descendants of Amalek and Haman in the ancient alliance of Edom and Ishmael. It is not for “moral” or “metaphysical” reasons only but for practical and survival reasons that Israel is forbidden to behave like the nations where gender confusion and cross-dressing to arouse “perverse passions” is habitual or that such transgressors almost always are in the vanguard of apologists for the Amalekites . In the very midst of this series of mitzvot of national survival, Rambam explicates that the “time deciders,” those who arrange their lives by “propitious times” transgress the prohibition against “capturing the eyes [achizath ha’eiynaim] …a sophisticated form of conjuration.” This is screen world and fashion. He warns that even sleight of hand, the physical form of political rhetoric, media spin and diplomatic apologetics and “understandings” is “conjuration that steals the mind [gonev da’at]” that damages the very basis of understanding and the form of the soul, its ability to understand concepts, immaterial things, and thus the Eternal One and its own immortal essence. This continues until “minds become habituated to accepting unreality as reality,” until a “virtual reality” dominates and displaces life as the cults of the idolaters have sought to appropriate and replace Judaism . This is desolation of the seed, the Dominion of Esau in its war on Jacob and Joseph . As Rabbi Shimon stated, without truth and judgment, there is no peace (Avot 1:17-18). Torah is truth, from the Highest Wisdom and must be complete, shaleim to fulfill its blessings and balance and to “preserve the world.” It is a Torah of life, not of surrender, betrayal, war and death.
The murder of those wonderful students who walked in the way of love, fearlessness and truth shows that Israel is beset by cultural and shooting wars of many kinds from missiles to explosive packs, to “peace promises” – all pointing at expulsion of Jews and pushing them ever further from achieving their qualities and identity which include exemplary teaching to the world. To oppose the witchcraft, charms and perversion of the West, and its big power military blackmail, to suppress and annihilate their attack dogs from Kedar Israel must turn to the mitzvot as explicated by the Rambam, recognize the facets of the war seeking to bury us and know that it is not weeping but love armed with fearlessness that will bring the truth to the world and save it from the conjurors that steal the mind and drag humanity to a terrifying hi-teach dark age. Israel must resist and if it does it can save us all from this nightmare. Enough with the tears of defeat: “toward evening, there will be light.”
*. Pirke Avot 1:17-18 and Rambam, Sefer HaMitzvoth, negative commandment 58 with comments.
1. 10:4, Hilchot Teshuva, translated & annotated by Rav Eliahu Touger (Moznaim, NY / Jerusalem), 1990
2. Rambam, Sefer HaMitzvoth translated & annotated by Rav Shraga Silverstein (Moznaim), 1993; in Yesodei HaTorah, Rambam lists this as the 4th commandment (Moznaim 1989), Touger translation.
3. On “service” including “prayer in the Sanctuary” Rambam cites Exodus 23:25, Deuteronomy 13:5, 6:13, 11:13 and the remarks of the sages, supra. See also Pirke Avot 1:2-3 and essay, “fighting for life & truth.” In Yesodei HaTorah these include mitzvoth 3-6, “to unify, love, fear and sanctify Hashem.”
4. Sefer HaMitzvoth op. cit. negative commandment #58 on Deuteronomy 25:17-19, “you shall not forget!”
5. ibid. 59; Hilchot Melachim 1:1-2, 5:5; in the latter passage, Rambam quotes Exodus 17 writing, “destroy the memory of Amalek” meaning, given his other comments and the plain sense of both Moshe’s and the prophet Samuel’s teachings and deeds, obliterate them so that even the memory of their nationhood is gone. Failing to do this leads toward the obliteration of Israel, land and people, as is plain.
6. Rav Touger quoting Rav Yosef Karo on Hilchot Melachim 5:4 (Moznaim 1987)
7. Sefer HaMitzvoth, positive commandment 188, referring to Melachim 1:1 and citing Deut 25
8. The first two terms for the Eternal One are used frequently by Ramchal; the latter by Isaiah and others.
9. ibid. negative commandments 39 & 40; see Hilchot Avodat Kokhavim 11
10. ibid. positive command 187, negative commandments 58-60; supra notes 1-3
11. Sefer HaMitzvoth, positive commandments 187-91
12. ibid. negative commandments 48-51; re 51, Rambam on Avodah Zarah 20a
13. ibid. negative commandments 39-40, cf. Hilchot Avodat Kokhavim 12:10, and look at feminism, western dress and roles. One can see it from Athena to the paintings of G. Klimt to Senator H. Clinton, etc.
14. Sefer HaMitzvoth, negative command 32 & review the series 14-60 and its thematic unity. The entire experience in ‘bi-nationalism’ has worked to stress the truth of the mitzvoth “do not love them” and “do not allow them to live in your land.” For if Israel does, “they will thorns in your sides and pins in your eyes” and there will be more and worse horrors than what occurred on 20 Adar 1, 5768 in holy Jerusalem. It was like a reminder of the greatness of Rav Kook, that he should have convened a council of 71 senior sages as a successor must, and of his words that “Amalek is the exact opposite of Israel’s holy aim” to perfect the spirit of humankind. Thus “Amalek needs to be blotted out in order that God’s Name will be whole” (Shmoneh Kevatzim 6:252). “Return to Me, and I will return to you” and Hashem will “reconcile His people to His land” (Deut 32:43). On the form of the soul, see Yesodei HaTorah 4:9-10
15. The six millennia of human history preceding the era of Mashiach and renovation as noted in Sanhedrin and explicated in Sefer Yetzirah, the version of the Vilna Gaon in Aryeh Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah, the Book of Creation (1997, Weiser, posthumous). The third millennium is that of Jacob, truth and seed whose inverse is desolation, -- all the attacks on Jacob. His direct connection is to Joseph, the sixth sefira relating to the sixth millennium whose potential is foundation and fruitfulness (Yesod haTiferet) but is marked by its perversion, War in its phantasmal form, “war as peace,” the “war of terror” and by virtual reality.
Prof. Eugene Narrett
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