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Friday, September 16, 2016

When the 'peace process' and a 'Palestinian state' are your religion

Greetings once again from Boston, where the local time is 5:09 pm as I start this post.

I learned in a yeshiva that shall remain nameless in 1979-80 (okay, some of my readers know which one it was, but please don't mention it in comments or I'll delete them). The yeshiva was unusually open in terms of the viewpoints that were tolerated by the Roshei Yeshiva (heads of the yeshiva). An apocryphal store from the year before I arrived would perhaps be the best illustration.

The year before I arrived, one of the Roshei Yeshiva stood up and spoke out in favor of the then pending Camp David accords with Egypt, pursuant to which Israel was going to return every last inch of Sinai to the Egyptian aggressors from which it had captured Sinai 11-12 years earlier. There was an argument about what the Rosh Yeshiva was saying, and one of the other rabbis stood up and started screaming at him in the Beit Midrash (study hall). That Rosh Yeshiva passed away a bit more than a year ago. His eldest son is today one of the Roshei Yeshiva. The rabbi who stood up and screamed at him is also one of the Roshei Yeshiva today.

Perhaps that will explain to some of you how it could be that Rabbi Donniel Hartman (then known as Danny) and I both studied in the same yeshiva at the same time. I did not know him well, but even then I had heard of the Sholom Hartman Institute founded by his father. I wonder which of us got the yeshiva's openness correctly. This statement seems like an overstep to the yeshiva's philosophy in my book, for reasons I will explain below.
Donniel Hartman, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and an Orthodox rabbi, focused his part on the Israeli side of the conflict.
Hartman said he dreams of a time where he can live side-by-side with the Palestinian state in peace and security.
Change must be made, he said, as fear of the unknown can begin to define and warp an individual’s existence.
“We also have to unequivocally stop acting in such a way that undermines each other’s hopes,” he said. “If the deepest hopes of the Palestinians and my hope for them is to be a free people living as sovereign in sovereign state, side-by-side with Israel, any action which undermines the fulfillment or the completion of that dream has to cease to be.
It is not simply enough for me to declare my commitment to a Palestinian state, anything I do that undermines that possibility has to become forbidden either as a political position, let alone as a political platform or political action.”
The emphasis is mine.

Really? If defending Jews anywhere means no 'Palestinian state,' that means no defending Jews anywhere? Not in my Talmud and not in my Rambam (for starters).

While the yeshiva in which we studied was quite open, it was still well within Torah boundaries. I find it hard to believe that the Roshei Yeshiva - today or in my times - would have placed the value of a 'Palestinian state' on a pedestal above the Torah. In fact, I'm sure they would not. 

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At 4:14 PM, Blogger EC in NJ said...

His mind is so open that his brains fell out.

At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds a wee bit like James Cone saying, "if G*d isn't with us in destroying White America [aggression], then we must destroy [that White-constructed] G*d" (or words to that effect.)

It's also not all that far away from the philosophical core of the Wahhabist position that killing in the name of G*d is itself holy.

"Any action which undermines..." Welcome to the face looking back at you in the mirror, Rabbi.


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