Disengagement: Non-Political Responses

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9 Responses

  1. Moshe says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein,

    Thank you for explaining why you do not want to wade into the mess of disengagement.

    However well thought out your reasons are, I feel that we are an orphaned generation, one that’s leaders are scared to stand up and lead us.

    Wise men cannot speak lest they be accused of being part of one camp or the other, and in the meantime, the simple folk do not know where to turn.

    L’havdil, this reminds me of the famous words of the Navi (Amos 8:11), “Behold, days are coming – the word of the Lord Hashem/Elokim – when I will send hunger into the land; not a hunger for bread nor a thirst for water, but to hear the words of Hashem. [People] will travel from sea to sea, and from North to East; they will wander about to seek the word of Hashem, but they will not find it….”

    The Navi tells us of a time that we will thirst for G-d’s word, yet it will not be found. Unfortunately, we have lost our prophets generations ago – we now turn to Rabbis for leadership and advice.

    When Torah scholars and Rabbis won’t lead us due to fear of ‘politics’, it is no wonder that the populace is in the state that it is in.

    The time of Mashiach must surely be near, as the face of the generation is like the face of a dog – trying to gauge where the public stands on an issue and not discuss it if the populace might be offended. A leader leads with truth and conviction – the dearth of such leaders is astounding.

  2. Ze'ev Orenstein says:

    I very much understand the rationale behind trying to keep “politics” out of the articles that are found on this site. Yet, I do not agree with the basis of the idea (and forgive me if I am misinterpreting what was said) that “politics” is seperate from Torah. All of Sefer Devarim is about how exactly the Jewish People should enact sovereignty in Eretz Yisrael, the modes of leadership, executive and judicial, military policies and requirements… all in order that the Jewish People will be able to fulfill their purpose in the world, that of creating a “chevra l’mofet” (an exeplary society) which will serve as a “light unto the nations” by having the sovreign Jewish State fulfill the verse – “For Torah will come forth from Zion, and the word of G-d from Jerusalem” and thus we will truly be able to bring “tikkun Olam”.

    Today, we are struglling with the very same challenges… As such, I view our struggles today, be it disengagement, or the issue over “who is a Jew” to be part and parcel of Torah Judaism, and how best to interpret and implement it.

    I do not see how any observant Jew, in particular one living in the Land of Israel, say that he isn’t interested in “politics”, as if the issues are something that he can choose not to involve himself in. Perhaps that is the case for Jews living in the Diaspora, but not here in Israel.

  3. Ori Pomerantz says:

    I think the Halachic problem is what to do with a Jewish state without a king.

    There is precedent for a Jewish king to give up territory: I Kings 9:10-13

    ויהי, מקצה עשרים שנה, אשר-בנה שלמה, את-שני הבתים–את-בית יהוה, ואת-בית המלך. חירם מלך-צר נשא את-שלמה בעצי ארזים ובעצי ברושים, ובזהב–לכל-חפצו; אז יתן המלך שלמה לחירם, עשרים עיר, בארץ, הגליל. ויצא חירם, מצר, לראות את-הערים, אשר נתן-לו שלמה; ולא ישרו, בעיניו. ויאמר–מה הערים האלה, אשר-נתתה לי אחי; ויקרא להם ארץ כבול, עד היום הזה.

    Of course, it is possible that none of Shlomo’s subjects felt safe complaining. Sharon, on the other hand, is not a king. He is a leader who was elected democratically and can be removed democratically.

  4. Edvallace says:


    “The time of Mashiach must surely be near, as the face of the generation is like the face of a dog – trying to gauge where the public stands on an issue and not discuss it if the populace might be offended. A leader leads with truth and conviction – the dearth of such leaders is astounding.”

    Let’s hope that Mashiach is indeed coming but I’m not sure there’s as great a dearth of leaders as you suspect. I fear there’s a great dearth of people willing to submit to their decisions. One need not think long or hard to find examples of this unfortunate state of affairs. I’ll cite two and I’m sure you can think of many more.

    1] Certain established Gedolim recently came out quite strongly against the works of a certain young Talmid Chochom. If you’ve spent any time on this blog or on any others you must know what kind of response their words received. Rather than accepting them as the words of Gedolim, they were mocked and rejected by the masses. I’m not stating an opinion here, I’m merely pointing out that when Gedolim do come out on issues, all of the things that you decried in your post actually happen and far worse.

    2] The Moetzes issued a strict set of guidelines for Simcha’s. Do you know of anyone who follows them?

    Next time you feel so strongly about what the Gedolim should or shouldn’t say, ask yourself whether you’re prepared to defend their words to the masses who are sure to disagree.

  5. Moshe says:


    Thank you for commenting on my comment.

    Yes, I am familiar with the Slifkin affair, and I have discussed it with Rabbis. I am not getting into the issue here, as my opinion is worthless in any case in the eyes of most people. Allow me to comment that there is much dissonance among Rabbonim regarding the ban, and as such, I’d advise you to speak to your local Orthodox Rabbi about the issue, and follow his advice.

    Regarding the Simcha Guidelines:
    I had no vort.
    I got married in a Shul with no rental cost, and the Seudah was home cooked.

    Regardless of my personal opinions, I do not accept your answer as being valid. From time immemorial people have been ignoring Gedolim. Just look at Moshe and Korach. This continues on throughout Jewish history – yet it does not stop the leaders from leading.

  6. Ze'ev Orenstein says:

    Ori, the p’sukim you mention are oft quoted to give the impression that it is in fact ok for the Jewish People (as a nation – via a king or whatever government body is serving i nthat function) to cede land from Eretz Yisrael. However, let us look more closely at the p’sukim involved, and what the Rishonim have ot say on the matter, and you will see that things are not as open and shut as they appear to be:

    (This is a direct quote from the blog Hirhurim – http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2005_06_01_hirhurim_archive.html – entitled “Solomon and the Disengagement”)

    And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the Lord and the king’s house–now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar-trees and cypress-trees, and with gold, according to all his desire–that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him: and they pleased him not. And he said: ‘What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother?’ And they were called the land of Cabul, unto this day.
    (1 Kings 9:10-13)

    And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the Lord, and his own house, that the cities which Huram had given to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there.
    (2 Chronicles 8:1-2)

    According to 1 Kings, Solomon gave the cities to Hiram/Huram, while according to 2 Chronicles it was the other way around. The standard commentators, chief among them Radak (R. David Kimhi), explain that there was a mutual trade of cities as a show of trust and partnership. Hiram gave Solomon cities and Solomon then transferred other cities back. It was a zero-sum trade in which neither kingdom diminished from its size, and perhaps important is that Hiram gave his cities first.

    R. Yitzhak Abrabanel, in his commentary to 1 Kings, disagrees with this interpretation for the following reasons:
    – The text should have mentioned both actions together, not in different books.
    – Hiram’s complaint about the cities he received would have been a slap in Solomon’s face, and not a show of friendship.
    – Solomon would have had violated a Torah commandment by giving the cities.

    Instead, Abrabanel suggests that Solomon annually gave Hiram wheat and oil (cf. 1 Kings 5:25) as payment for his work and material. After the Temple was finished, Solomon designated specific cities in the bountiful Galilees whose output was given directly to Hiram. It is not that their sovereignty was handed over to Hiram, just their annual bounty. Perhaps, Abrabanel suggests, Hiram’s servants even worked the fields in those cities. (This is actually a very wise form of risk transfer, but that is another long discussion.)

    End quote.

    Additionally, there is a clear distinction between Hiram, who was a friend of Shlomo and helped build the beit Hamikdash, and those to whom we are considering ceding land to today, who are without a doubt enemies of the Jewish People, whereby, we would not only be going against the prohibition of the Ramban in not allowing the Land of Israel to be in the hands of our enemies ever… but of also creating a desecration of the name of Hashem.

  7. Netanel Livni says:

    Ori Wrote:
    There is precedent for a Jewish king to give up territory: I Kings 9:10-13

    We do not learn halacha from stories in the tanach. See Abarbanel on the above parsha. He says that is the pshat in the story is that Shlomo gave Jewish territory to a gentile king then this would have been an aveira on the part of Shlomo. The abarbanel then goes on to say that Shlomo actually gave Hiram the produce from this land and that Hiram rejected this produce.

    There is an explicit issur regarding giving up land called “Lo Techonem.” this is not to mention the tremendous “Hilul Hashem” that occurs when we show the world that we do not truly believe that this is our land and that Hashem gave it to us (See Rashi on Yechezkiel 36:20). There is also the nullification of a positive command to settle the land which is a milchemet mitzva (see Ramban addendum to positive commandments 4 in Rambam’s sefer hamitzvot). And we pasken according to the Ramban according to the vast majority of Rishonim and Achronim (Maharit, Ran, Gra, Chatam Sofer, and many, many more. Email me if you want a more complete list). Also the shulchan aruch (AH 329) paskens according to the Rambam that we must be mechalel shabbat to go out and fight against any gentiles that threaten our cities, even if they only come to steal grain or straw. All the more so when the gentiles come and want to take our land that we must fight and not capitulate to their demands.

    None of this has anything to do with whether or not the Jewish people have a king. These are halachot that are eternal and need to be discussed using sources, not stories.


  8. MP says:

    Ori wrote:
    > There is precedent for a Jewish king to give up territory: I Kings 9:10-13 ….

    Not so simple. See http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2005/06/solomon-and-disengagement.html.

  9. MP says:

    The paragraph quoted from Rabbi Lerner’s draft letter is axiomatic in its “Kal Yisrael araivim zeh bazeh” thoughts — one might as well note that we must be m’fashpaish b’ma’asainu and try to do better in the future. We don’t know what the Ribono shel Olam intends to do, but we do (or should) know, each of us, what we need to do, and if we do anything related to PM Sharon’s (actually, PM candidate Mitzna’s) withdrawal plan, be it pro or con, let us ensure that we do it k’das uk’din and with ahavas Yisrael.

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