In recent correspondence received, a Ten Triber claimed that it is a grave error to encourage reawakening Ten Tribers to make living in the Land of Israel a priority for them. WHY? Because, according to this the New Testament (NT) tells everyone to flee the Land. Accordingly the land is to be rejected “until the next Coming.” The actual Return to the Land is all on G-d’s head (so to speak) and Messiah’s shoulders, to accomplish! Therefore all the re-identifying Ten Tribers are freed from doing anything about return or rebuilding of the Land.
In response to the view that when the NT says you are to flee, that it meant fleeing from the Land of Israel. From a Hebrew rooted view, I don’t think so.
I’d like to quote and paraphrase from Dr. Moshe Katz, in his work Computorah. He never dreamt that Torah learners’ observations could be used to clarify the ‘Brit HaChadasha’. (NT) I freely insert my own insights between [brackets]: “Fear not, My servant Jacob, says G-d, tremble not, for I am your Savior from afar” [Jeremiah assures]. In the Gulf War we did not mobilize a single Tank or plane. Our defense was taken care of by others. As in Exodus 14:14, “HaShem will fight for you and you will remain silent. [Even here we still needed to do our fair share by gathering our belongings, putting on sandals, belting up and carrying out our leaven/matzos on our shoulders!] Former Chief of Staff/Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin reports: “A miracle occurred. The Americans gave us their warning system … If someone would have told me a year ago that a foreign army would come and fight our worst enemy for us, we would have said he was delusional. G-d helped us, and we did not handle the war against the Iraqis.”
HaShem took care of the bad guys from afar! Isaiah 26:20 told us to listen to the civil defense warning up close! “Go, my people, in your rooms and seal your doors, wait awhile until the wrath passes away”. Even when we are passive we are still BUSY being active doing our fair share. Sort of doing what we can do and then the Miracles flow. We still, every one of us, had to take the plunge into the sea. We still had to risk our lives in taking an Egyptian god, the lamb, killing it publicly, eating it publicly etc. When we build a flat roof house with an entrance to the roof the Torah says to put a fence upon it. Nu really? Does not HaShem run His world, if someone is to fall or something is to fall upon someone else, is it not from HaShem? Yet the Torah commands us to live, work and participate in this world within the laws of nature. This world is built on G-d given principals of His created nature. Yes, He makes exceptions occasionally for His exceptional.
“Go my people”, our Oral Torah explains : The prophet speaks in parables. Go into your rooms and seal your doors so that none can get to you and harm you …” This means: hide yourself in the refuge of repentance and good deeds, to protect you from the evil which will proceed the Redemption [Mezudas Dovid. Not merely look at the TV in those rooms, but also look into ourselves, repent with good deeds, for this is what will “protect us from the wrath which will yet visit us before Redemption,”
When the NT said ‘Flee’, it was in the above Hebrew spirit that it was meant! We Hebrews are never told by HaShem or by Angles to run away from or to avoid living IN the Land. If He wants to cause the Land to vomit us out because of our sins, well, that’s His business and we well deserve it!
But, we are not supposed to voluntarily run away from His land, like a pact of dirty rats escaping a sinking ship or a home on fire. We usually go down with our ships. The world does not always understand this, nor comprehend that we are the world champions from a Torah view. In: “Custards Last stand” – remember the Alamo, ‘Forward the Light Brigade,’ into the Jaws of death, into the mouth of Hell, Geronimo. Off we go. “Hear, O Israel. HaShem our L-ord is One!” Samson’s last stand; King Saul, even though he knew that his troops probably had no chance! He could easily have excused himself and his son on that fateful day! Instead he rode in to lead his fellow Tribesman into a doomed battle. Mordechai and Esther could have sat back and enjoyed their elevated wealth and status. Instead, they prayed, fasted and threw their lot in with their people. Why did Jonah run from the land of prophecy, to escape HaShem’s voice? Because he knew if he went to the gentiles of Nineveh, they would listen to him. In fact, that is where HaShem wanted him to be to deliver his Message.
The big deal was that we, the Hebrew people, did not properly listen to His message. If these pagans would, well, then we would look awfully bad, bringing Divine Judgment upon us and giving these folk, who were to become our enemy, a whole lot of merits which they would eventually use in battle against us. The prophet Jonah, “whether he was right or whether he was wrong, whether he’d find a place in this world or never belong”, decided to stand by us, His people.
Grand Rabbi, genius, who also knew 14 languages, Doctor Menachem Mendel Schneerson, later to become a Rebbe, while studying in the Sorbonne in Paris, noticed something awful. In a list of the Jews of Paris who were targeted for persecution, his name did not appear!
Normal folk would say, “Hey, this is a miracle. Oh boy am I lucky and blessed”!
This Rabbi though, hopped right down to collaborating Vichy French headquarters, later to become Gestapo headquarters. He wanted to know why his name was not on the list. They found his name listed as Russian Christian orthodox. They basically told him to count his blessings for that list was made for the purpose of taking all the Jews into custody. He insisted though on correcting his placement! For he did not want to be separated from his fellow Jews even on a piece of paper! This is the same story for thousands of our leaders during thousands of years.
A la Torah, we seldom give up; we seldom give in. We fight, die, get beaten or are victorious! We were about to disappear from view; HaShem knew just what we were there for. He heard us saying a prayer for someone we could care for; then we come back to life again like the renewing new moon!
What the NT meant, no doubt, is more akin to King David’s orders to hide for a while in the mulberry trees.
Yeah, do not be an idiot. Turn from the evil, hide for a moment. Take shelter. We have a verse that calls upon us to be ‘tamin‘, pure, simple, innocent in our walk, not stupid. The intention was never to dessert the Holy land. That is the Roman Church with all of its selfish interests speaking. They have put their spin onto a document (the NT) that needs to be understood within a Jewish cultural perspective.
When HaShem told Moses He would destroy the common people and rebuild a nation from his tribe, Moses did not sa, ‘Let them eat cake’. He was the humblest of fellows. He thought of himself as a ‘common man’. He said, “Well, then blot me out of your book. I go down with our ship. I chose to die on the battle field, on the boulevard of broken dreams with my friends, my students, my people!”
To flee or to hide, from a Hebrew Roots perspective, should not mean to be regarded as a Torah Command. The Jew hating, quasi pagan Roman flees!
Nor does it mean you are now FREE from the Commands and drama of rebuilding the Land! It simply means: “Take cover for a little while from the wrath; not abandon ship, the Land, the Sages, or the Judge who will be in your time'”
There is a world of difference between jumping up and down at an Israeli day parade and the Torah’s obligations toward the LAND. Regardless of having a State or accepting a State, we have many BIBLICAL Commands and obligations toward the LAND of ISRAEL, not the State. Two different things altogether!
To live with an anticipation and an active plan of how to return to the LAND is absolutely BIBLICAL, according to ALL religious Jews. You all may have missed that point. This was true way before Modern Zionism. In other words, even for the most super-duper ANTI-Zionist,
The most preferable, feasible place for a righteous, good, G-d fearing and loving Jew to live out his\her life, is in the LAND of ISRAEL! Thus should it also be for the righteous, good, G-d fearing Ten Triber – or for any Gentile who wishes to serve the G-d of Israel.
This DOES NOT preclude the fact that there will be a Diaspora community of Ten-Israel, in various blocks of strategic, geographical areas of the world. They will rule from there. There will of course be representatives of Judah among them. Ten-Israel must educate, reach out and enlist their fellow Tribers in the Diaspora. Their very enlightened presence will actually raise the sanctity of the Diaspora in Messianic times.
Regarding settling, living and staying in the Land, there is an active positive Command of the Torah to do so (put it on one’s crucial action list). Or if you do so, then you start to effectively fulfill the general Commands to inhabit, possess and settle the land. Or because the Land is holy, makes us wise; the very air sanctifies and is the most appropriate place for our people, who are to be a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy nation of the Creator G-d (surely – not without a Land!)
Some of the Nuturei Karta (super anti-Zionist Jews) live in the Land though not recognizing its government or Israeli Statehood. Large amounts of anti-Zionist religious though have lived under the Turks and other countries and continue to do so.
Around 36 different Nations have trampled on us. Be it the French, who told us to go and re-build our Temple! The Crusaders who murdered us or 500 terrible hard years of Byzantine Christian rule. All Jews agree that, a la Torah, not politics, being in the land is a fulfillment of many wonderful Mitzvot!
What is good for the goose is good for the gander; what is good for Judah is going to have to be good for Ephraim! It is to be ONE Nation, in the eyes of HaShem.
Did you know that many so-called secular Jews were against the formation of the State of Israel? The Reform movement, for example took out full page adds in the N.Y. Times against a State in; 1948! We needed a loyal opposition.
In Mitzvath Yishuv Haaretz, Rav Zev Leff has produced a wonderful work in English with all of the following great quotes. Rav Yosef Sonnenfeld with Rav Breuer’s agreement said, “Now I understand the words of the Musaf (additional service) for Yom Tov (festival): “Because of our sins we were exiled from our country” – by HaShem; “‘and we were distanced from our land’ – this we have done voluntarily. Moriah, page 19. “Anyone who has the ability to come to Eretz Yisrael (the Land) and does not do so, will have to account for his failure in the future world.” Ha’ish Al Hachoma, vol. 11, page 149. The Chazon Ish (super Torah giant and Super Anti Zionist) asked a student who had come to say good bye, if it is at all permitted to leave the land? The student said, “I thought there is a category that gives a bit of permission, if you came intending to return.” The great Rav, giant of mind and soul, was disappointed: “We are trying to devise methods to get Torah students to settle here and you are involved in finding ways to be allowed to leave ?” This can be checked in Peer Hador, Vol. 11, page 42.
“When the Israeli government passed the law of conscription for women … challenge was put to the Rav: does the Rav still decide that Jews are obligated to come and settle here (when there is a State that drafts such laws, which had been ruled forbidden by Torah Giants). After a brief pause the Rebbe and others answered in the affirmative with forceful resolve and clarity, Peer Hador, vol. ii, pg.43. All Torah sources agree that to walk four Amot in the Land assures one of the next world; that it is better to live in a hut in the Land than a Place aboard; that better a gentile city in the land than a nice Jewish city aboard; that living in the Land is equal to all the other Commandments. I can go on and on. All of this is normative Torah Judaism embraced across the board!
All Jews who believe and also plenty who don’t, do accept the Talmud when it says (Brachos 5) “The Holy One, Blessed be He, gave Israel three gifts; all were given only through suffering. They are; Torah, The land of Israel and the world to come” (all based on Bible Scriptures).
Jews are returning to their Heritage, because they returned physically to the land. There exist a host of schools that sprang up to accommodate our 10-Israel Returnees!
Now is the time for 10-Israel to come and harvest after Judah has planted, sowed and worked to prepare the Holy Land!
With much blessings,
Avraham Feld, family and friends