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Jew Against Jew? That’s Nothing New.

March 2, 2014

Slifkin made two interesting points recently regarding the new Israeli draft law:

1. Violators are not being punished for Torah study; they are being punished for breaking the law, and they happen to want to study Torah.

2. Lapid wants avreichim to close their gemaras and head to war, so to show how much they don’t wanna do that, they’re gonna close their gemaras and head to war against him.

I do not necessarily agree with Slifkin’s take on the issue. I happen to see the logic in Feiglin’s argument: Israel does not need universal conscription anymore; instead, it needs a professional army.

Today, both men weighed in again, here and here, and Rabbi Nahman Kahane has proposed that the masses use the rally to demand Jewish access to the Temple Mount. I humbly suggest that they also use it as a teshuva and prayer rally, because it’s already March, and we’ve gotten so little rain.

***

The sages said that what happened to the forefathers would be a harbinger for their descendants, or the Talmudic version of history repeats itself. I have long believed that our era reflects that of the Judges, when the Israelites were bidden to conquer the land, drive out its idolater inhabitants, and settle. Each tribe did either all, none, or some, leading to the subsequent problems detailed in the rest of the book. The Daat Mikra points out that the first verses of the book,

Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass that the children of Israel asked the Lord, saying, “Who shall be first to go up for us against the Canaanites to fight against them?” And the Lord said, “Judah shall go up…”

parallel a verse at the end of the book, prior to the eleven tribes punishing the tribe of Benjamin (20:18):

Then the children of Israel arose and went up to the house of God to inquire of God. They said, “Which of us shall go up first to battle against the children of Benjamin?” The Lord said, “Judah first!”

That is, originally the Jews were supposed to organize themselves for war against their enemies. When they did not sufficiently exert themselves to do that, it led to them massing against their own brothers. W’hameivin Yavin.

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