Hendel does Israel

While I may no longer technically be in Israel, I have no intention of stopping who I am or what I am about. We all know the timeless Chabad teaching of "Mach Doh Eretz Yisael" - its very empowering. I'll let you know about my journey, my struggles and my dreams. JaHbless.

Friday, February 03, 2006

to love a fellow jew...

The question everyone has, is why. Why did 6000 policemen come to destroy nine houses built in the land of Israel? Why were there 3000 protesters, on the roofs, in the houses and lying on the streets attempting to stop them? Why were they charged by horses and beaten with clubs by Israeli policeman? And why, why was I there, defending a rooftop, and hurling stones and the heads of helmeted Yassam riot police?

First, let me tell you a little bit about Amona. Amona is a small village with about 40 residents and is located 30 minutes north of Jerusalem, in the Binyamin area. It is beautiful, surrounded by rolling hills that our forefathers once walked on. Amona has a Shul, a Mikveh, a goat farm, two water towers, a kindergarten and a children’s playground. The people of Amona live in small caravans and were getting ready to move into their newly built houses, which now lie in ruins.

I arrived to Amona on Monday night. I had hitched a road from a ‘trempiada’ (hitching spot) on French hill. When I got there, I was greeted by hundreds of teenagers, there were girls handing out maps of Amona, others organizing places to sleep. A family had placed an urn with hot water and tea outside their caravan, another a table of food, and yet another had their doors and windows open as they played Jewish folk music from a stereo. The air was abuzz, the mood festive. It was ironic, it seemed more like a festival then a protest. Dozens of people arrived every minute, the crowd was growing from hundreds to thousands, kids began erecting tents on the grass fields.

At nine pm, an announcement was made over loudspeakers that a shiur was being given by the Rabbi. His words hit a raw nerve in the people who crowded in the shul to hear his words. The shul was packed beyond capacity, outside, people listened through open windows. The rabbi spoke about the campaign in Gush Katif to hug and cry with soldiers. Then he pointed to the door and said: “whoever came here to hug soldiers or policemen, here is the door, go home!.” He spoke about when you are required to love your fellow Jew, and when you must hate your fellow Jew. Now he said, is a time to hate. He asked the crowd if there is a difference between a policeman taking Teffilin off another Jew’s head and trampling them, and pulling a Jew out of his home and destroying it. He didn’t wait for an answer. He said, the people coming to destroy Jewish homes, were waging a war against HaShem. It was clear that the battle for Amona was not going to be with hugs and kisses. We were not going to walk out, heads bowed in shame, embarrassed to be Jews. We were going to fight ‘Ad HaSof’ – until the very end.

As the night progressed and more people came, we were fed tuna sandwiches and sweet tea. A well-known musician, Aron Razel, came to play and inspire the youth. The mechitzah from the shul was brought to the grass field so that both girls and boys could dance modestly side by side. It was beautiful to witness, so much passion in the youth. As I was watching, I looked back at my life when I was 15 years old. What was I doing? Where were my passions? What was I fighting for? For G-d? For truth? No, I was just an angry kid, chasing alcohol and girls. I realized how special these kids are. Kids raised in the land of Israel. The are alive, they are enthusiastic, they are fearless and they are willing to fight for a cause.
After a sleepless night on a cold stone floor, I stood around a bonfire in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The air was frosty, and I was eager to warm up. Breakfast, was pita and chocolate spread, the staple diet for the next day or so. There were minyanim everywhere, on the hills, in the shul, on the grass field. I chose an outdoor minyan, and then headed toward the second house, to begin fortifying the roof, where we were to have our last stand. We prepared the roof, with cinder blocks, barbed wire, tyres, water balloons, and metal and wooden rods. Each rooftop of the nine houses, has another team working to build the defenses. The numbers in Amona swelled to about three thousand as the night decended on the village.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

you quoted the rabbi as saying there is a time when you are "Required to love a fellow jew, and when you must hate your fellow jew" i am just wandering what CHABBADS stance on this is.. its been bothering me, because i know its an argument against fighting physically, which makes no sense to me whatsoever. another approach i have heard is that whilst we never actually hate another jew we hate WHAT THEY DO. This is inline with the Rebbes approach to zionism, he was opposed to zionism but not THE zionists.... i wander if you have looked into this subject from a chassidic point of view???

9:09 PM  
Blogger subjewd said...

it is interesting that you point that out. As the Rabbi was speaking, I was thinking about chapter 32 in tanya where the Alter Rebbe explains, that the key to Ahavas Yisrael, is going beyond the phisical, and realising the person has a G-dly soul, and that we are trully ONE, and thus loving Him, is like loving myself.
I wanted to ask the Rabbi the exact question: "do you hate the person's actions, or the person themself",
unfortuantly the Rabbi was bombardered with questions from about 200 other eager individuals so I never got an answer.

In the light of chassidus, you could never hate a jewish person, it would be like hating yourself, it doesn't make sense.

It seems that the Rebbe had a broader vision. "Bring Jews close to Torah, and then automatcily there won't be pogroms being commited by Jews against their own brothers and sisters"

So i say, yes, I dedicate my life to spreading Torah and Light and G-d to all. But that doesn't mean that in the small struggels, I won't be there, defending, and sometimes yes, throwing rocks against fellow jews (the Torah demands me too). At the same time, the very next day I will do mivtziom (i went out on the friday after Amona to the shuk to hand out candels and put on teffilin) - knowing well that the people I am doing mivtziom on, may very well agree with the police, or even be a police man who was hitting kids. Its unnatrual, its hard, but it needs to be done, and the only way i can do it, is because I have a G-dly soul.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wander what the source from the torah regarding "the torah demanding the throwing of rocks at jews" actually is? Should you necessarily be putting yourself in the suituation where throwing rocks will be nessasary either in the form of attack or defense? From a moral objective it seems to be legitamate, and even more than that it seems to be obligatory and essential, but what about from torah perspective? Which essentially should be one and the same as a moral perspective...????

11:49 PM  
Blogger subjewd said...

Yes, go and open a Shulchan Aruch.
If you look in the Shulchan Aruch Harav, its in chelek vav, hilchos nizkei guf.
The first three halachos over there tell you exactly what you are required to do as a jew. It actually deals with the exact case of protecting a house.

11:57 PM  
Blogger the sabra said...

interesting. i was going to ask you the very same question-if you agree with what the rav said. (which rav was it?)

4:55 PM  

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