Thursday, May 27, 2010

Setting a Precedent for Future Destruction

There has been a lot of debate on my community email list about the possible destruction of the synagogue/yeshiva in Yitzhar.
Of course, some people agree and some disagree with the message that the Rav of the yeshiva proclaims, but as one writer (perhaps David Bedein) explained, "The punishment should fit the crime," if there is indeed a crime. (You don't destroy a school building, because you don't like the speeches of one of the teachers there.) Every yeshiva has different kinds of rabbis in it, with varied messages. There are, after all, 70 faces of the Torah.
Punishing a yeshiva for its rabbi's point of view is a terrible precedent. Today a left wing Defense Minister wants to punish a yeshiva for X. And tomorrow, a different official will want to punish another yeshiva for Y. Is that the way we want Am Yisrael to live??
Will Rabbis and Roshei Yeshiva no longer feel free to teach their students, for fear of punishment?
Are we in Communist Russia?
And if Israel punishes rabbanim for their opinions and teachings, we are opening the door for any country of the world to punish the rabbis of their countries for their teachings as well.
Destroying a synagogue is a horrific thing. It is not just a building. It is a symbol of Judaism itself. And don't say, "Well, it can be explained away. This particular synagogue/yeshiva was used to speak against the …"
If this shul in Yitzhar is destroyed, NO SHUL IN THE WORLD will be safe. And I'm not talking only about destroying synagogues/yeshivot because they supposedly "teach treason against the government of" whatever country they're in. I'm talking about destroying a shul, because a road has to be built there, because a mall has to be built there.
Once a synagogue has been destroyed, the precedent INTERNATIONALLY is set, "IT IS OKAY TO DESTROY SYNAGOGUES."
Have we already forgotten the trauma that our entire people experienced when we saw the yeshivot and synagogues of Gush Katif burning after the "Disengagement"? We were upset, but our government didn't do anything about it. (Another precedent! Not only can any country destroy a synagogue, but they can do it without fear, because the government of Israel will stand idly by.)
If the State of Israel destroys this synagogue/yeshiva, it is opening a Pandora's Box that will have ramifications for Jews worldwide. Please don't say I'm exaggerating. You cannot read the future.
When the cemetery of Gush Katif was uprooted, many people screamed, "You cannot uproot Jewish bodies for this 'Disengagement.'" The government disagreed, "We are doing this for peace," and unburied the dead of Gush Katif, reburying them elsewhere. (In a peaceful situation, couldn't the bodies have remained there, and the the families would get special permission to visit their loved ones on their yahrzeits and holidays, etc.?) Uprooting the graves set a precedent that has already been applied in Europe.
I read a few weeks ago in "HaModia" that a Jewish cemetery in Europe is being uprooted to build a mall on that spot. (Sorry, I can't remember the city. I'll try to find it.) Progress must take precedence over the past. The Jews in that town were infuriated. But there was no way to really fight. They were told that Jewish graves could be unburied and reburied as long as it was in a respectful manner. It had been done not long ago in Israel itself, in Gush Katif.
Precedents go in every direction and there are tons more. Here's just one:
When Joseph reigned in Egypt, he made all the people pay him for his grain, and he had everyone working, except the Priests of Egypt. He had set a precedent that the priestly class is not treated like others and is not subjected to the same harsh demands. So, when the slavery began, thanks to Joseph, the Levites were not enslaved.
We all have our different political ideas. Don't try to punish someone else for his ideas, because one day, it might bounce back at you. Don't be so eager to destroy shuls and schools and whatever to "teach those people a lesson", because one day, chas v'shalom, someone will try to teach YOU the same lesson.
Am Yisrael has many different faces, but we are ONE PEOPLE. We have ONE LAND. We've got to stick up for one another, because we're all we've got.

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