by Rabbi Eliezer Waldman
Rosh Yeshivat Kiryat Arba

21 Shvat 5765 -- January 31, 2005

Thank G-d that we are blessed every few months with the power of faith and spiritual elevation that can only be experienced by the assembly of hundreds of thousands of Jews gathering together to demonstrate their loyalty and devotion towards the divine process of redemption of the Jewish people in their homeland. On Sunday night, walking along the wide avenues of the government compound near the Knesset, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of my brethren, I became aware of the meaning of this phenomenon. While being immersed in this ocean of love and determination to continue the process of renewal of Jewish life in all of Eretz Yisrael, I was engulfed by a spiritual sensation which I imagined engulfed the Jewish People when witnessing the splitting of the Red Sea. This divine miracle which finally delivered them from the evil Egyptians, ignited their level of faith to the spiritual heights of song and thanks expressed in Shirat Hayam.

The multitudes of Jews demonstrating in Jerusalem conveyed a clear and strong message. It is immoral and unacceptable for Jews to transfer fellow Jews from their homeland. Jews will never agree to be uprooted from their homes in Eretz Yisrael. Such inhumane acts, that were always considered illegal and immoral when perpetrated against Jews in exile, are certainly unacceptable in our own homeland. How absurd it is that the necessity of uprooting Jews from their homes is justified by the need for peace with our neighbors. This is the "peace" of being driven from town to town and from country to country. This is the "peace" we endured in exile. This is the "peace" of the ghetto. We have not come back home to Eretz Yisrael to be forced again to flee from town to town. We are continuing to tread on the classical Zionist path of bringing life to our land and its people and consequently a blessing to our neighbors. Our enemies are intent on preventing us from achieving this goal. Their final goal is the uprooting of the reality of Jewish independence in Eretz Yisrael, by terror and destruction. Therefore the foremost responsibility of a Jewish government is to confront this imminent danger by strengthening and securing our presence in Eretz Yisrael. Fleeing our enemies and uprooting flourishing Jewish communities, thereby weakening our position, would certainly be a criminal breaching of that responsibility.

These thoughts bring me back to the strange feelings I encountered last week upon hearing the declarations of world leaders at ceremonies commemorating sixty years since the liberation of the notorious Auschwitz death camp. On the one hand, there was a feeling of closure, in that world leaders were forced to finally admit their guilt and responsibility for the atrocities committed against the Jewish people. All the more so since this had to be done in front of Jewish leaders. On the other hand, I felt a deep frustration at the obvious lack of genuine repentance, since just six decades later, these same world powers are twisting the arms of Jewish leaders to accept "road maps" that are meant to limit our rights to our homeland. Most of these nations are continuously supporting the Palestinian leaders of Arab terror and offering to reward them with the political power of an independent Arab state to be established within the Jewish homeland. They still consider Israel a pariah state, always chiding us not to use "exaggerated" force when defending ourselves against murderous terrorist attacks. These leaders' unbelievable lack of sensitivity for past atrocities allowed them to demand the expulsion of Jews from their towns and villages in Eretz Yisrael only because they are Jews.

Thank G-d, at these memorial ceremonies, Jewish leaders were inspired to declare "never again", while at the same time, expressing the painful question "have they really learned"? With great anguish and yet grave responsibility, I must put this question before our leaders "have we learned"? How can our leaders even think of uprooting Jews from their homes and communities in any part of Eretz Yisrael? Are Jewish homes, in which three generations grew up, to be destroyed? Are synagogues and yeshivas, bastions of prayer and Torah study, G-d forbid, to be abandoned to our enemies?

No my friends, all this cannot happen. We are in the midst of the divine process of Jewish redemption. We are in the process of engagement, engagement to our land, engagement to our people and to our G-d, engagement to our destiny. We pray that the G-d of Israel awaken again the natural instincts of Jewish faith and survival, that will enlighten the minds of our people to the realities of Jewish life, and help us overcome the fallacies of our government.

The multitudes of Jewish hearts at the demonstration in Jerusalem, overflowing with the faith, love and devotion to our people and our land, conveyed a message of renewed hope and determination that burst forward in our national anthem Hatikva, followed by the eternal truth of the song Am Yisrael Chai.

Am Yisrael Chai

For information regarding Rabbi Waldman's upcoming visit to the USA (February 27 -- March 15, 2005), please contact Jeff Reznik at 917-776-6828 or email:YeshivatKiryat4@aol.com

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