"It is evident from the concluding verse of this Psalm that Asaph does not think here only of the Jewish people, but also pleads the cause of the salvation of all mankind on earth, all of whose existence and welfare is dependent, first of all, upon the proper enforcement of justice and right." (Hirsch Siddur, p. 214, Psalm for Tuesday)
Many who pretend to be followers of Torah Im Derech Eretz may be disappointed to learn that TIDE is not Modern Orthodoxy, is not a license for wanton consumption of secular culture. Rather it allows for utilization of the best elements (and you won't find those on television or Hollywood films) of secular wisdom, when that wisdom does not conflict with or dilute Torah in any way, as long as Torah remains our main pursuit. This knocks out many people who claim to be TIDE from truly being classified as TIDE.
Those people may be even more disappointed to learn that Rav Hirsch was not a fan of Zionism. He stressed over and over again that our home is Torah and the land is an adjunct to that. Land without Torah is very dangerous. And not only that, but Rav Hirsch stressed the applicability of the Three Oaths from the Gemara in Shavuous, that Jews are not allowed to immigrate en masse to the land, nor to take it by force. Rav Hirsch also forbade dealing with institutions run by non-religious Jews, like, you know, the Israeli government. So that knocks out about 90% of the remaining people who claim to be followers of Hirsch.
But not only that. Under TIDE, a person should not care only about Jews. Imagine that. We also have to have concerned for humanity in general. Our view should not be, anything for Jews even when it harms gentiles. We should even promote the general welfare of gentiles. Imagine that.
So that brings us back to the shooting of the protestors in Gaza. The Israeli government has become so arrogant over the last decade. It doesn't even hide its methods anymore. It really has overplayed its hand here, shooting more than a thousand people with banned exploding bullets, killing three dozen and maiming a few dozen, including a little boy. He now has one leg.
Was he a danger? Was an eleven year old boy a danger because he came too close to a fence? Was he going to break through and beat up all the soldiers and then march on to Tel Aviv like some beast from Greek mythology?
For decades now, Zionists everywhere have been claiming that every act of violence by the State of Israel is necessary and justified. Most religious Jews, I am so sorry to say, can't imagine for even a second that the Israeli government has ever made a mistake of any kind, done any injustice whatsoever to the Palestinians because the government like a god is perfect and the Palestinians are all devils, all terrorists, even though in fact there has been an average of 20 acts of terrorism a year since '48 and there are millions of Palestinians. So if one is capable of grade school math, he can calculate that 99.9% of Palestinians do not engage in terrorism. Call me a leftie if you want but at least I can do math.
One - that is one who thinks - starts to wonder. When the government of Israel talks about existential threats is it being paranoid? Is it being delusional? Because if people protesting on their side of a fence are labeled rioters because they roll tires in a field then one starts to wonder if the definitions being used are a little off. Normally, rioting means destruction of property like cars and store windows and harm to people. There is not much damage to property that one can do in a field, particularly their own field. And there is not much harm one can cause to others if those others not only are located on the other side of a fence but in fact don't live anywhere near the fence.
It's pretty obvious that the goverment of Israel could have said, go ahead wave your flags, roll your tires, and yell. Just don't cross that fence, the one we set up to lock you in your concentration camp. And let us note that a ten year economic blockade that leaves 95% of drinking water polluted is a cause worthy of protest. Go ahead, yell about it. We blame Hamas for this as we do everything but that doesn't mean you can't have your protest. That would have been nice of us.
But that is not what the Israeli government has done. Rather, it has gone ahead and shot 1000 people that clearly and obviously to everyone who is not paranoid and completely brainwashed by fear mongering did not present a danger to anyone other than themselves via smoke inhilation of burning rubber.
And surprise, surprise, the Palestinians are becoming less peaceful. Did we provoke them by any chance, provocation of the gentiles being another issur from the Torah?
Provocation is a serious matter. We seem to feel at this point that we are so powerful that we can provoke all we want and our armed forces will keep us safe. That's an idol worship. While the yearly frequency of terrorism in Israel since '48 is 20 a year, the rate prior to '67 was 3 a year. Thus, terrorism has increased with this military occupation that we insist we must maintain to prevent terrorism. Huh? Not only that but the rate in recent years is 50 a year. Thus, all the tough guy tactics that we claim keep us safe have made us less safe. One can suspect, chas v'shalom, that the sniper shootings of Gazan protestors will trigger acts of terrorism that would not have otherwise happened. Maybe it's time to rethink our methods and attitudes. This assumption that everyone who breaths is a killer may not be the right way to go.
One wonders, what about all the other times we were told that violence was necessary because of the dangerous enemy. By dangerous enemy did they mean teenagers with tires? Ladies waving flags? Journalists taking notes?
Apologies to all blind followers of the state and its propaganda. I am a follower of Rav Hirsch and he was a follower of the Torah that forbids murder and forbids Chillul Hashem. Can there be a much bigger Chillul Hashem than a sniper meticulously and intentionally shooting a little boy in the leg because he came too close to a fence that isn't actually near any of us? All this while billions of people are watching? Not exactly what one could call not having a choice but to be harsh. Rather, it is seeming that we take great pleasure in being harsh. And that is yetzer hara of a very bad kind and the kind nevertheless that seems to be standard in Orthodox Jews who worship the state. So much for Jews being indentifiable by kindness, humility, and modesty.
All those people need to read Rav Hirsch's writings again, not for permission to watch television (as if he gives it) but to find their way again to the path of mentsch Yisroel. As Rav Schwab noted, Torah Im Derech Eretz is not a kulah, not a leniency, it is a chumrah, it is a harder path of life. Just as we don't ban all secular studies, we don't declare war on all the goyim of the world. We need to use our minds, think, use fact, control the emotion, reason, and seek the truth, seeking the middle path, slice and dice. Is that person really coming to kill you just because he wears the same kind of clothing as someone who did, or speaks the same language of someone who did? Justice, justice you shall pursue. And that doesn't mean justice only with Jews. It means you shall be a just person no matter who or what you are dealing with. We say to countries what we say to police. If you are so jittery that you shoot at anything that moves, you shouldn't be a policeman or a country. Let somebody else do the policing or the running of people's lives. We need steady, rationale people in charge. If you are convinced that everyone is out to get you, you more likely need to be in a mental institution than a government office.