In the Face of Approaching Disaster

As many of us know PM Olmert has publicly stated that he is ready to divide Jerusalem as well as expel up to 70,000 Jews from their homes. To show support for Israel and to protest PM Olmert’s intended actions there will be a rally on Tuesday May 23rd, 12:00 Noon in Washington D.C. Taft Park at The Capitol Building. If you want to go on a bus from the NY, NJ, CT area, please contact Rafael V. Rabinovich, Cell phone (718) 514-4328, e-mail:, For Information and Coordination Across the United States: Jonathan Silverman, (718) 304- 3193, e-mail:

Somebody sent us an email alerting us to the OU’s take on the rally. You can read the OU statement here.

Please read Rabbi Brody’s recent Open Letter to Hashem about this matter.

We want to thank Max Stessel of Chicago for writing the following piece with the goal of trying to sensitize us to the potential horrific situation facing our brethen in Eretz Yisroel.

Max Stesel
Chicago, IL

The Medrash tells us that when, as a young prince, Moshe Rabeinu went out of Pharaoh’s palace for the first time and saw Jewish slaves toiling for Egyptians, his first act was to join them in their back breaking task, to participate in their pain and partake in the suffering of slavery. This was done despite the fact that being a prince and a Levi, slavery was not a part of Moshe Rabeinu’s experience. He further could have argued that had the other tribes stood their ground when Pharoh invited them to volunteer for the sake of the state, as Levis did, they would not be subjected to cruel slavery. All reasons and differences aside, Moshe Rabeinu saw that it was his brothers who were suffering and he had to join them and participate with them.

Almost a year ago, possibly the greatest humanitarian disaster in recent decades struck world Jewry. More than 10,000 Jews were forcibly removed from Gaza. We might debate the diplomatic, security, ideological and other justifications and condemnations of that event. But one thing is undisputable, this was a humanitarian disaster. Destruction of communities, dreams, removal from spacious homes into crowded hotels and refugee camps, loss of personal property, transition from meaningful jobs to reliance on charity, complete uncertainty about future, strained family relations, depression. Today, most of these Jews still lack permanent housing and adequate employment. We saw it on the internet, read about it in newspapers, heard about it on the radio and what was our reaction? How did we respond to this momentous event?

When Hashem judges a person he begins with smaller punishments. If a person is not stirred to tshuvah, the punishments escalate. The same probably applies to the nations. This spring, the new government of Israel has explicitly committed to reenact the forcible pullout in Gaza, five times fold! This time, fifty to seventy thousand Jews in Judea and Samaria are expected to undergo the last year’s experience of Gaza Jews. Amazingly, Kadima, the party which is leading the new government, received more votes in this spring’s elections than any other party. The runner up was Labor, an even greater supporter of forced removal of the Jews.

We know that all that happens, the good and the seemingly bad, comes from Heaven with a purpose to motivate us to grow and get better. To say that I am unqualified to judge why the Gaza expulsion and the threat of expulsion from Judea and Samaria were decreed from Heaven would be an understatement. I lack background to even ponder that issue. But I want to make a few observations. Israeli politicians leading the push for expulsion from Judea and Samaria have a hard time displaying any tangible benefits of that move. The international community including United States and Europe have expressly communicated that they will not recognize Israel’s new borders. The Israeli army is not planning to withdraw from the areas that the settlers are supposed to vacate, because doing so would place many of Israel’s major cities within easy reach of Kassams or worse. So then why such a drive to force fifty to seventy thousand people from their homes. One of my secular Israeli friends told me: “We tried everything else and it did not work, we may as well try this as well.” That is it?! Removing tens of thousands of Jews from their homes is just another trial balloon, may be it will help?!

At the same time, it is does not appear that mass expulsion of Jews from their homes has touched the nerve among the Torah observant public either. Otherwise how is it possible to explain that the political parties representing various sectors of Torah Jewry, in Israel have joined or contemplate joining a coalition whose main mission is the forced removal of the Jews from parts of Judea and Samaria? Imaginethat a party is trying to form a government with the express platform of improving Israel’s infrastructure, by removing ancient cemeteries located in the path of planned highways, or with the express mission to expand Israel’s economy by opening presently closed services on Shabbos. Would a political party representing any segment of Torah Jewry sit down and negotiate with such government and rationalize that perhaps they don’t really mean what they say, and if we don’t join, they might form a government without us?! Why when it comes to forcing tens of thousands of Jews from their home, leading to loss of property and livelihood the response is different? To me this indicates that the relationship between Jews has reached a particularly low point. And perhaps this is where we need to concentrate our efforts.

Should we not reflect that the Jews facing the perspective of forcible expulsion, and the host of tragedies that come with it, are our brothers and sisters, children of the same forefathers who are dedicated to serve Hashem and their People. Should we not pray to Hashem with passion and beg him: “Please do not let this tragedy befall my brothers”? Should we not discuss in hushed tones amongst ourselves: “How is it that not only do we live in a generation when the Temple is not rebuilt but we live in a generation in which Jews force tens of thousands of Jews from their homes?” Should the threat of the tragedy over the heads of tens of thousands of Jews not be their problem alone, should it not become our problem?

Today, everything may still be changed. Today, our heightened awareness of the terrible threat hanging over our brothers’ heads may sweep over the sectarian barriers of geography and hashkafa that separate us. The heightened awareness of our brothers’ danger may inspire us to unleash torrents of sincere prayer which may achieve desired results in Heaven, and which may wake up the good Jews around the globe, and in Israel in particular, to the question: of how can we let, or worse, be the cause of unimaginable disaster befalling tens of thousands of our brothers? The time to pray, cry, reflect is now for tomorrow it may be too late.

13 comments on “In the Face of Approaching Disaster

  1. BS”D

    Yashir koach for keeping folks informed.

    The rally is behind us. Olmert is back home. If we think we’re “yotzeh” and go to sleep on our laurels, nothing will have been accomplished.

    Therefore I ask that all those who feel the Convergence, and any similar territorial surrender, is NOT the way to go, please join into our already-on-the-works grass roots efforts.

    Eretz Yisroel is a matter of concern to every Jew, including all the Jews in Chutz La’aretz. The Lubavitcher Rebbe tought that it is a matter of Pikuach Nefesh, and that it is relevant to every Jewish soul.

    Thus, everyone is welcome to join.

    Stay tunned, be in touch.

  2. Nevertheless Max, Kinneret’s post is important in that it does put the disengagement into a global perspective.

  3. Kinneret, forcible removal of Jews from Gaza was the greatest humanitarian disaster that befell the Jewish people since violence forced nearly a million Jews to leave the Arab countries in the 1950s. I was not referring to the humanitarian disasters that occurred and continue to occur through out the world.

  4. Almost a year ago, possibly the greatest humanitarian disaster in recent decades struck world Jewry. More than 10,000 Jews were forcibly removed from Gaza.

    In light of events like the tsunami of 2004, genocide in Rwanda and Darfur, the war in Iraq, it is absurd to call what happened in Gaza “the greatest humanitarian disaster in decades.” As terrible as I believe the explusion was, it doesn’t even begin to compare with most of the humanitarian disasters of the last few years, let alone decades.

  5. Yitz,

    What Menachem is helping us to do, is to get our minds and hearts into action to sharpen our main national weapon – tefillo. I dont deny that it may be helpful to get those who still believe in superficial “security” measures such as higher walls or bigger and better equipped armies to start davening with the rest of us too but I reckon it’s easier to try to convince the ma’aminim what we have to do and how to do it.

  6. Yes, R. Menachem, there’s a lot to do with our imagination! BUT WE NEED HELP NOW!!!!

    We must stop this evil from proliferating, and use a message that going to get through. Homeless people are a nice emotional tug, but FACTS like the dangers to both Israel’s existence & America’s security is what’s going to move people against Olmert’s plan.


  7. Imagine if all the Jews who felt like Max lived in Israel and voted in the last election.

    Imagine if all the Jews who will, hopefully, show up in Washington next week used that time to contact Nefesh B’Nefesh and prepare for their aliyah.

    Imagine if the Jews of the diaspora woke up from their spiritual stupor and acknowledged the Yad Hashem in creating the miralce that is the modern state of Israel. The home to the majority of the world’s Jews and what is once again the Torah center of the world.

    Imagine if after 38 years instead of 8,000 people living in Gaza there had been 80,000 or 800,000.

    Imagine the embarassment if the Knicks drew only 8.000 people at the Garden and thus how much greater, exponentially, is the “embarassment” to Hashem here.

    Imagine if the “frum velt” treated the mitzvah of Yishuv Haaretz, “only” a mitzvah kiyumas according to Rav Moshe, 1/2 as seriously as they treated other Mitzvos Kayumos such as wearing Tzitzit.

    What a wonderful world it would be…

  8. Yashar Koach, Max. This is exactly what we need to hear. Increased tefillo and being nosei oyl b’chavero from outside in chutz la’eretz must be what is required of us now. May we be zoche to pass this incredibly difficult test of emuna that effects all of us both as part of klal Yisreol and as an indiviudal. See Rabbi Brody’s open Letter to Hashem for an example of what to say:

  9. While your concern is real and good, it seems to me that you are making the same unfortunate mistake that the people of Gush Katif made – concentrating too much on themselves. NO ONE wants to be thrown out of their homes. But the secular Israeli is “tired” of sending his children to serve in an area of the Holy Land that he’s completely disconnected – yes, Minutak from.

    you wrote:
    We might debate the diplomatic, security, ideological and other justifications and condemnations of that event.

    THIS IS FOLLY! It was a security disaster, leading directly to the victory of Hamas in the “palestinian” elections, since they learned that TERRORISM PAYS! This point should be stressed to the US gov’t.

    Finally, let me share some of the words of Lazer Brody’s tefilla to Hashem:

    “Beloved Father, Master of the World, You in Your infinite wisdom know that the current regime here in Your exquisite holy land is not motivated by the laws of Torah; on the contrary, rather than subjugating themselves to the advice of Your tzaddikim, they’ve literally enslaved us under the chains of foreign influence. The current Prime Minister is leading the nation into an abyss of self-hate and lack of faith, by offering the common people an illusion of peaceful Viennese-style sidewalk cafes, while people leisurely sip expresso to the strains of a violin playing Vivaldi. Yet, Your children that are threatened with losing their homes are the ones who dream of bringing their first fruits to the Holy Temple this Shavuos and of raising their children to serve You with all their heart.

    Hashem, the convergence (surrender) plan will cost an estimated $25 billion. For that money, we can feed all of Israel’s poor and spread the light of Torah to millions of children who don’t even know how to say “Shema Yisrael”.

    Beloved Father, please don’t take our ancestors’ holy gravesite away from us; please leave the Machpelah Cave of Hevron in Jewish hands.

    Holy Creator, please don’t consent to the creation of a terrorist Hamastan entity on our borders. Let the children of Ashkelon, Sderot, and Kiriat Arba sleep peaceful nights.

    Merciful King, I beg You, don’t let another Jew anywhere in Eretz Yisroel lose his or her home. Please, help us learn emuna. Show us that You run the world and that all other “powers” are nothing but brittle bamboo sticks in Your presence. Even if we’ve failed in free choice, and we don’t serve You like we should, we’re clinging to You the best way we can. Even if we’re spiritually retarded, a loving parent still has mercy on his or her retarded child. Have mercy on us, tear up the harsh decrees, and bring us Moshiach together with the full and complete redemption of our people, amen.”

    see the whole thing here:

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