Is it possible that after all these years serving as the spine, spirit and catalyst of the Jewish people—regardless of their level of observance—that Torah has reached the point where it needs a public relations agent to burnish its image?Â Whether you study it or plumb its depths, analyze it or embrace it, it is the dictates and the proscriptions of Torah that makes us all who and what we are.
After all, where did we get this notion about the specialness or sacredness about the land of Israel and its connection to the Jewish people if not from the detailed description of the connection between the Jewish people and that land? What was that land that Abraham was promised in a vision? And where was it that Moshe Rabbeinu beseeched G-d to allow him to enter and change the destiny of the world?
Sure Zionism’s founder, Theodore Herzl had some temporarily inane notion about relocating our people to Uganda or just about anywhere so long as we can dwell alone (as the gentile prophet Bilaam prognosticated) and hopefully in peace as Jews without getting in anyone’s way but that idea really had no hope of materializing if for no other reason that it defies nature and the destiny of the Jewish people.
This all come into view today because of what is going on in Israel—or was going on in Israel until Shaul Mofaz had enough and withdrew his Kadima party from the Netanyahu super coalition earlier this week. The 10 week self-serving political love fest crumbled because the Likud and the former Likud members who make up the Kadima party could not come to an agreement about the role of Torah today in Israel.
You probably thought it was about whether or not Yeshiva students should serve in the Israel Defense Force or do some form of national service to the country.Â Yes, it was about that too but only superficially and only in part.Â What it really comes down to and the answer that no can seem to place their finger on is what is the real value and why is there such emphasis on Torah study and what does it have to do with anything that we consider real in this day and age.
The Israel Supreme Court and Mofaz’s Kadima Party along with the Plesner Commission thought they figured it out a while ago.Â They determined that Torah study is really about nothing.Â That it is really about a growing segment if the population using this ancient and sacred practice as an excuse for not serving the country in some “real” capacity that everyone can relate to and understand and little more.Â Sure there were some real scholars out there but they were or are inconsequential in number.
And if nothing else it has been a colossal failure of the Torah community in Israel and elsewhere who have not been able to aptly and succinctly communicate to the world at large and to secular Israeli’s in particular the value to the existence of Eretz Yisrael of significant and real Torah study. More in this weeks 5TJT
By Larry Gordon