11 August 2016

Yearning for the Land

7 Menahem Av 5776


Yearning for the Land
from Beyond Words: Selected Writings of Rabbi Meir Kahane
1960-1990, Volume 7

The klipa, the callus, that slowly and imperceptibly covers the burgeoning adult, immutably desensitizes us and forever loses for us the emotion and value that is the heart and nucleus of the mitzvah cell or ritual.  And so, as if suddenly – but really as part of the slow and ongoing process – there is created a human being, a community, almost a people that elevates the ritual to the heights reserved for the concept, and we become practitioners of Jewish ritual, rather than emotional and living embracers of the concept.

So it is with Tisha B’Av and the three weeks that precede it.  Not a few can emote all the laws and customs emanating from them.  Not an Orthodox Jew will violate the rituals that make up the three weeks and certainly not the nine days.  And yet, as with too many Jewish concepts that were meant to be living, thriving, real things that grip the heart and soul – ha’ikar  chaser min hasefer.  [Editor's note: A Hebrew idiom, literally meaning, “the principle is lacking from the book,” referring to the fact that the main concept has been forgotten.]

For I put it to all honest people that, of all who practice the rituals of the three weeks and Tisha B’Av, few – all too few – mourn for Jerusalem and the Land.  I put it that most find the three weeks an excruciating thing that prevents them from enjoying the summer; that most look forward to its passing as quickly as possible so that vacation and enjoyment can continue in the Catskills and all the other places that make up the Galut enjoyment; that few, all too few, feel the stab of pain in their heart for the Temple that is not there; for the Moslem jackals who walk and control the Mount; for the lack of holiness and sanctity that Jerusalem and the Temple mean. 

What happens because of this is a shallow and terrible corrosion of Judaism and a slow and terrible corruption of the Jewish soul.  Mitzvot become things to be done with and finished; the soul becomes a hard and callous thing feeling nothing, and, worse, mitzvot become meaningless and fraudulent as we weep for a land we could be living in – if we wish to; as we speak of a return to a land of which we do not wish, as we grab ourselves in emotions we do not feel.

We do not wish to leave America; we do not feel any pain in an “exile” that the ritual has us mouthing as a thing of tragedy and pain.  We enjoy the luxury of Galut and mouth quickly the kinot, the lamentations, most of whose words we do not understand anyhow.  We sit on the floor in the Ninth of Av and look forward to the 10th.  And enjoyment.

That is the death of Judaism, no matter how many synagogues and shtiblech have grown.  This is the destruction of Torah as a real and vibrant “thing,” no matter how many yeshivas have sprung up.  For all of them will produce scholars of callous soul unable to feel the pain and joy and honesty of a mitzvah as it was meant when given by G-d at Sinai. 

 ***
Of course, this applies to all the nations of galut/golus, not just America.

Here are a few videos that I hope will point the way forward:


 R' David Bar-Hayim: To Fast or Not to Fast on Tish"a b'Av

Zimmerman Farm: Experimenting with hydroponics, part 1

Zimmerman Farm: Experimenting with hydroponics, part 2

R' Ephraim Sprecher: T"U b'Av: A Tikun for Tish"a b'Av

Temple Institute: Tish"a b'Av: A Time to Build




2 comments:

Devash said...

Great post and links! Thank you.

Myrtle Rising said...

This post really gave me some food for thought, so thank you for that. And thanks for linking to Myrtle Rising.