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ZIONISM-----kochi v'otzem yodi

Posted - 06 January 2004 8:09

Hi Rabbi Moderator,I have been trying to answer, I guess it hasn't been going through or something.

My friends are asking questions such as Why is HaShem doing this to us? And How can you believe in G-D? The situation is very hard in Israel right now especially the attack that happened in a cafe about two weeks ago. We really need your tefillot and idud.I hope this went through. Thanks!

- 13 January 2004 11:59

Well, any time Hashem does anything it is a direct cause-and-effect reaction to our actions. Especially when suffering comes our way Chazal tell us Im yesurim baim alav yepashpesh b'maasav - when we suffer we have to audit our actions to see what we are doing wrong and need to correct.

It's not always easy to figure out what the root cause of suffering is in our actions, but it is clearly doable, and even expected of us, because if we don’t know what to fix then what's the point of Hashem sending us a message to fix it?

It's like a father who slaps a kid and the kid says "I have no idea why my father slapped me, but I trust that he has a reason." Makes no sense, and it just forces the father to teach the kid whatever lesson he had in mind for him another way.

So if we know what's good for us, we had better learn our lesson.

There are formulas that we employ to decipher Hashem's messages. Midah k'neged midah is one of them. The meforshim say that the reason Hashem punishes in a manner-for-manner fashion is to enable us to figure out what He is punishing for.

There are other formulas as well.

In this particular case, of Arab terrorism, I can only tell you what Rav Shach ZTL said long ago regarding the Yom Kippur war, and his words were echoed recently by Rav Moshe Shapiro regarding today's situation in EY.

The issue is "kochi v'otzem yadi," the attitude that the Israeli army will protect us form our enemies, that we are strong now that we have the IDF, and that we are a match for the Goyim.
This attitude is poison, completely against the Torah, and the way Hashem teaches us that it is not so, is by showing that no, you are not as strong as you think, and not as safe as you think.

Chazal teach us that the Jews in golus are like a lone sheep among 70 wolves. We need to always be cognizant of this and never, ever think that we Jews have a snowball's chance in Miami Beach of defeating our gentile enemies while we are in Golus. This is not merely an issue of realizing that Hashem is the One Who fights for us as opposed to our own strength - it's an issue of accepting what Hashem has told us, that in Golus the way to survive is NOT by fighting the nations of the world, for militarily we have no chance.

Esav received the Brachah of b'chrbechah sichyeh; as opposed to us - we live mital hashamayim. This is not an issue of relying on a miracle. On the contrary - it would be a miracle for us to face the our opponents militarily and emerge victorious.

But Hashem has told us that we should not expect such miracles. Instead, He taught us in His Torah that the way to survive when confronted by non-Jewish animosity is to appease and mollify the opponent, the way Yaakov did to Esav (and the Ramban says that when Yaakov also prepared for "war", it meant to fend off Esav long enough for Yaakov to run away if necessary!).

How many people - you can see the sentiment on this site even - think that "now, finally that we have a Medinah, and army, and a nation, we finally are able to be strong and not go k'tzon ltevach!? That attitude is the problem. And how does Hashem respond? By teaching us to stop being idiots and think that a sheep in wolf's clothing is no longer a sheep.

We have survived for 2,000 years, better than all the other nations, because we have followed the military strategy of our General in Heaven. Over and over the Jews were faced with danger, and an opportunity to rise up and try to beat the oppressing nations, but the Gedolim of the generations have told us that that will lead to disaster - and so we survived. Wounded, hurt, but we survived, which is more than you can say for all the other nations who opposed us.

The goyim talk about the "secret of survival" of the Jews. Well, the secret is that the Jewish nation gets its military strategy from the Master of the World, Who told us that in Golus, we do not win wars.

It's like the advice you would give your children when confronted by an armed mugger on a Harlem street corner.

"Give him whatever he wants," you would say.

"What if he wants all my money? Shouldn’t I fight back?" he asks.

"No," you would answer. "If he wants your money, give him your money; if he wants your shirt, give him your shirt; if he wants your pants, give him your pants. Do not confront an armed assailant. The main thing is that you escape with your life."

That is what you would say.

And when your son objects, and tells you that he feels like an idiot getting stepped on by the mugger, and why shouldn’t he defend himself like a man, you will tell him not to be a fool.
And when your son enrolls in Karate school to defend himself, the first thing he will learn is not to fight back if he can escape. He will earn to avoid confrontation if possible, and if accosted by an armed assailant, give him whatever he wants.

Even if there is a 90% chance of you winning, it’s not worth the fight. Pacify the assailant if you can, and run if need be.

In golus, we live in Harlem. And our assailants are stronger than us.

So Rav Shach ZTL says that the reason the Yom Kippur war came is in order to show that Israel is weak. The idea that the IDF is an undefeated army was shattered. (Even though through chasdei hashem the Arabs retreated, that was not because of the strength of Israel’s forces. Israel was positioned for a humiliating defeat - the Arabs were just stupid and made terrible errors and ran. It’s like if someone beats you up and you’re on the floor waiting to be shot, then your assailant slips on a banana peel and knocks himself out. So Hashem saved the Jews and at the same time showed Israel that they are weak.)

He said that "there is no question" to him that the Yom Kippur war came because of the attitude of Kochi v'otzem yadi - the attitude that Israel is strong. Hashem was showing us that we are weak.

Rav Moshe Shapiro shlita said the same thing regarding the current terrorism in Israel. He said it was due to the attitude of Kochi v'otzem yadi. The idea that we are safe in Israel, because they have security, an army, a police force, whatever. The idea that finally we can, al pi derech hatevah, stand up to the nations because we have tanks or planes or whatever.

Whenever you hear someone say that finally we can live proudly, or safely, or we can finally "stand up to" the goyim, they are putting Jewish lives in danger, because what they are expressing is kochi votzem yadi asa li es hachayil hazeh. They are kivyachol causing Hashem to show us that no, we can NOT stand up to the goyim, and even though you may be dressed in wolf's clothing with your own wolf's tanks and planes, you’re still a sheep, and the umos HaOlam are wolves. We dare not forget that.

And if we do, Hashem will remind us.

There is another thing too.

All of the above is from a spiritual perspective. From a tevah perspective, there is the obvious. The Arabs do not want us there. They have been saying so for the past hundred years. They said that if we go there, they will kill us, r"l. The Zionists said no, they will take care of the Arabs. Some Zionists said, and still say, that we will kick all the Arabs out of the land by force, and kill those who start up with us. This war over the land is 100 years old.

The Brisker Rav ZTL said that if they make a State of Israel, it will be the most dangerous place in the world for Jews to live, because "what do they think? That the Arabs will just let them do this?"

Al pi derech hatevah, Israel is a dangerous place for Jews to live, so long as the war with the Arabs continues. Arab terrorists have been around for a century and continue their murderous ways. Unfortunately, people are perpetrating the myth that Israel is "the safest place for Jews to live", when the simple fact is that more Jews were killed in Israel since its inception than in the rest of the world put together - about 25,000 to be precise. And that is despite the fact that the majority of Jews live and lived outside of EY. This means that the minority of Jews in Israel have the majority of Jewish deaths.

When we realize that we ARE vulnerable, that we ARE weak, that we ARE NOT safe just because Israel has an army, the message that Hashem is trying to send us will be received, and perhaps there will no longer be any need for us to learn the hard way.

Of course, all of the above is only an exposition on the statements of Rav Shach ZTL and ybd"l Rav Moshe Shapiro. There could be other authorities with other messages for us in this respect, though (a) I am not aware of any and (b) these are quite authoritative, and easy to understand and accept, since they follow seamlessly the rules we have for understanding such tragedies r"l.

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