Political News and Analysis
The Jews, the Hebrew Bible and President Donald Trump
By Jerome S. Kaufman
Last Shabbat we had the privilege of listening to renown Rabbi Shlomo Riskin discuss the Hebrew Bible and perhaps, as a surreptitious aside, the Jews, the current State of Israel and Donald Trump.
He began by telling us the classic story of Jacob and his entire entourage finally escaping from 20 year old captivity in the hands of his cousin Laban whose daughters, Leah and Rachel, Jacob had married.
The biblical story describes how Jacob’s sons Shimon and Levi, with cunning and deception, murdered the male members of the Chevites in revenge for their Prince Shechem kidnapping and violating the brothers’ sister Dinah who Shechem still kept in captivity.
The Prince’s father, Chamor, came to Jacob to tell him that his son Prince Shechem was genuinely in love with Dinah and wanted to marry her and make peace with the Jews.
At this point, Jacob’s sons Shimon and Levi devised a scheme whereby if all the male Chevites circumcised themselves, they could become Jews and then make peace with the Hebrews.
Jacob and Chamor agreed to the plan. On the third day after the self-imposed circumscision the males, all in great pain presented, as planned by the brothers, easy targets for their slaughter with the swords of Shimon and Levi.
Jacob took great exception to this dastardly deed admonishing his sons for “Making my mind troubled creating hostility between me and the inhabitants of this land and have them gather against me and my household and destroy us.” Jacob carried that criticism all the way to his death bed when he again chastised his sons for their action.
(That part of the story ends at this point. I did notice later in Jacob’s journey, a sentence, that to my knowledge, has been neglected.
“Then the journey (of the Hebrews) continued and “The fear of G-d was upon the cities that were around them and they did not pursue the children of Yaacov (Jacob).” So, Jacob’s worries at the point, came to naught and the slaughter evidently was an effective political move.) jsk
Rabbi Riskin the took a different tact – one, by the way, that I have been preaching for over 60 years.
He went on to describe previous acts of deliberate Hebrew military action.
Much earlier in the bible, Lot, Abraham’s nephew, settles in the evil city of Sodom and became captive to four armies in the Sodom Valley. Abraham, hearing this, quickly set out with a small band of his followers to rescue his nephew and miraculously, with Hashem’s great help, defeats all four armies.
Also, Rabbi Riskin pointed out that despite Jacob being a learned religious man favored by his mother Rebecca, Yitzhak, his father, in many ways preferred his outdoor hunter son Esau who provided him with game and perhaps protection. Yitzhak, on his death bed, expressed his desire to bless Esau and advised him he would live by the sword.
In an earlier chapter Abraham, Yitzhak’s father, exhibited great love for Ishmael his son through Sara’s maidservant Hagar. This was despite the fact that Ishmael was not a spiritual man, was the son of his second wife and lived on the land through cunning and thievery.
Rabbi Riskin then brought the threads of these facts together to show that the Hebrews in the past had used power and violence to protect their very existence. And … it was an accepted policy for the founding fathers to do so.
II Commentary: Jerome S. Kaufman
Now to the present: Up until the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Diaspora Jews that survived following the destruction of their biblical nation and their Holy Second Temple by the Romans in 70 AD and 135 AD lived as vagabonds – second class, despised citizens in the cities of the Arabs and the Europeans. They lived without military strength or power under the complete domination of their host countries.
What is worse, to my mind, is that this state of being became very comfortable. The Jews need not become military and provide for their own protection. They became content and even smug in being the People of the Book, the apparent beacons of moral authority and an example to which the nations of the world were to aspire.
But what has been the direct result of this supposed superior moral unprotected stance? Disaster! The nations of the world have ignored or despised the Jews and their moral assumptions.
The Jews have been deliberately buffeted from European nation to nation by the monarchs of the day in order to steal their money and the property the Jews had accumulated. The monarchs then used these assets to pay for their own extravagance and awful performance. Blame and use the Jews has been historically a great ploy and to this very moment.
The Jews were slaughtered in the centuries-old pogroms of the Poles, the Russians, the Slavs, the Italians, the Balkans, the Arabs and everyone else – many times encouraged and indoctrinated by the Catholic, Protestant and Islamic churches.
This on-going slaughter culminated in the deliberate killing of 6 million Jews by the Germans and the rest of their very willing executioners in virtually all the nations of Europe. Anti-Semitism was in full bloom.
Unfortunately, it is once again in full bloom in these same areas – easily again instigated, for their own purposes, by Islam. What is worse is that Europeans have chosen not to recognize the obvious Islamic plan and that they are themselves next on the victim list of useful idiots.
Back to Rabbi Riskin: His message was thus that simply being a nice guy, a nice nation, a moral nation is not enough. Simply currying favor with those dominant over you does not work. It leads to victimhood. Rabbi Riskin carefully pointed out that the Hebrew Bible made power and force an essential part of the Jew’s very existence.
Many believe that Hashem has provided this essential power in the re-establishment of the State of Israel. Unfortunately, once again most Jews remain oblivious to importance of this essential gift and do not protect it with every bone in their bodies. And, Hashem forbid, may in the immediate future, suffer the consequences.
What other amazing gift has Hashem laid upon the Jews and Israel and again, unfortunately ignored and disparaged?
The amazing gift is President Donald Trump. Through his genuine emotional involvement and his complete understanding of the importance of establishing protection and power in our friends, he has greatly empowered our crucial ally – Israel.
He has moved Israel’s capitol to Jerusalem; recognized Israel’s domain over the Golan and recognized Israel’s right to develop communities in Judea and Samaria, Israel’s biblical homeland.
Furthermore, he has amazingly nurtured a re-approachment between Israel and the Arab powers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman. He has thus, put on notice to the world that the US genuinely has Israel’s back.
He has in addition, in his usual outspoken manner, opined that American Jews do not love or appreciate Israel enough and its importance to their very existence.
And …. He is, of course, right.
Jerome S. Kaufman
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