Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Poem - Or

The sefer leans heavily against the shtender
while i drift through the sun-drenched window.
i fly out and high
across tree-spotted valleys and cityscapes.
i contemplate:
such a gift is this world
one could lose himself in its roaring possibilities
or consider rather
the giving and the Giver
reading the card before tearing the box.
And looking straight ahead
I find myself
in the middle posuk
of the middle perek
and breathing

Yisrael Kashkin

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Not with might

And I saw, and behold there was the candelabrum of the Sanctuary, golden through and through, carrying the source of oil on its pinnacle, seven pipes of oil leading to each of the seven lamps. And next to the source of oil, carried by it, two trees of the oil fruit, one to the right of the source and one to the left.” “Do you know what they signify?” “It is God's word to Zerubbabel: (Zech. 4,6) Not with might, nor by force, but with My spirit, says the Lord.”

The spiritual life of the Divine law is self-sufficient. It is victorious by means of its innate strength. It achieves victory without outside support, without state support, without military might. It carries sufficient energy to supply the lamp as well as the tree on which the fruits of its supply ripen. Although the difficulties facing Zerubbabel mounted steadily they were all destined to be solved. The spirit was the cornerstone to which the abundance of mercy would flow. מִֽי־אַתָּ֧ה הַֽר־הַגָּד֛וֹל לִפְנֵ֥י זְרֻבָּבֶ֖ל לְמִישֹׁ֑ר וְהוֹצִיא֙ אֶת־הָאֶ֣בֶן הָֽרֹאשָׁ֔ה תְּשֻׁא֕וֹת חֵ֥ן חֵ֖ן לָֽהּ: (Zech. 4,7)

R' Samson Raphael Hirsch, “Kislev III”, Collected Writings, Vol. 2, p. 225

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

We love Zion and therefore we are non-Zionists.

...truth compels us to state unequivocally that most certainly Zionism is not at all identical with Judaism that in fact it is diametrically opposed to it. Zionism is a political philosophy which considers the divine nation of the Torah a nation like all others, albeit with certain religious traditions which you are free to accept or reject as an individual, and which may or may not become part of the law of the Jewish land, subject to a majority vote of a democratic parliament. Zionism has transformed the holy land, the holy tongue, the holy nation into secular entities, according atheists and anti-religionist Jews at best equal status with firm believers. Zionism has created a sovereign state which is governed like all other states by its own man-made laws and not by the G-d given laws of the Torah. All these are dry facts which cannot be disputed. The term “Zionism” is derived from the name Zion (ציון) which is one of the most sacred words in our authentic Jewish dictionary:
ציון משכן כבודך
Zion is the dwelling place of G-d's glory. רחם על ציון כי היא בית חיינו Zion is the house of our life – Zion is the citadel of G-d, promised us by the Creator, for which we long in our daily prayers and which has never ceased to belong to us. Zion is the Sanctuary of the Torah, the holy city which surrounds it, the holy land of which it is is and forever – the abode of the Shechina on earth, from which the word of G-d shall come forth and over which a new light will shine – the Zion of David and Shlomoh, the Zion of our Prophets and Sages and singers and mourners and lovers – all this is very opposite of Zionism. No! A thousand times no! We love Zion and therefore we are non-Zionists. (R' Shimon Schwab, 1908-1993)

R' Shimon Schwab, Selected Writings (CIS: Lakewood, NJ, 1998), pp. 147-8.