• Prophets Say the Darnedest Things
• Killing Babies? Pefectly OK...
• Nice When People 'Get It'
Prophets Say the Darnedest Things
"I [God] shall provoke them [Israel] with a non-people, with a vile nation I shall anger them (Deuteronomy 32:21)
"[They] shall be pins in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you..." (Numbers 33:55)
Just in case of any question, these immortal words speak of the People of Israel, the Land of Israel, and another people - or really a non-people, a wannabe nation, a nation that is no nation - who also claim the Land; who claim, in fact, that their right and title to the Land is superior to Israel's.
Some 30 years before the invention of Palestinianism, in the mid-1930's, the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire wondered exactly who and what the "vile nation" could be. No phenomenon like that had ever occurred in the long span of Jewish history. His commentary is interesting:
[Regarding] the measure-for-measure nature of God's punishment of Israel: Just as the Jews had angered God [this tense is called "prophetic past perfect"] by adopting a no-god, replacing God's true Guidance with contrary but "better" ideas, "so would God anger them by bringing against them a no-people; i.e., a horde of barbarians." They are "a vile nation" because they are a "foolish nation" - "ignorant and, hence, barbarous and inhuman in its habits and methods." (Dr. J.H. Hertz, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, Soncino Press, London, 1936) "And this people," Hertz exclaims in wonder, "will win successes over Israel!" (Commentary to Deuteronomy 32:21)
We could wish that things hadn't worked out this way. But now, for most of the world, every Arab non-Jew who claims to be "a Palestinian" -- who claims with any credibility that ANY ancestor EVER lived for ANY time in any part of the Land of Israel, according to the Palestinian Covenant, Article 5 - "belongs" more to "Palestine" than any Jew, the Jews being seen as foreign interlopers, European colonialists and imperialists. "Claims of historical and/or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history." (Palestinian Covenant, Article 20).
We recall an old friend, John O'Neill, an Irish-American local civil servant, who so opposed Israel for usurping Arab Palestine that he immersed himself in study so that he could argue the Arab cause better. Instead, knowledge turned him into a hard-line Zionist, because, as John put it, he couldn't accept "that any movement so dependent on utter lies as Palestinianism deserved to be."
Of course it doesn't help that the Jews themselves, and people who want to help the Jews, keep making the case for Palestinianism. For instance, we saw Israel's supposedly right-wing ambassador to the United States on TV's Colbert Show last week, arguing that Jews and Arabs will just have to learn to share the Land - even though, as he did not say, the Torah teaches that it can't be shared - and live peacefully together - even though the Torah clearly teaches that the effort to do that will be catastrophic, for peace, for the Land, and for Israel....
Let's face this straight-on, while we're at it. Why should a people so indifferent to God and His Torah that we can't even bring ourselves to demand the entire Land or even ask for it, who still treat the Holy Land as less holy than the Arabs do, as mere stuff to be bargained away for "peace," expect to enjoy God's blessing of peaceful, uncontested dominion of the Land?
In fact, Israel and the United States are both committed to a "plan for peace," involving an accommodation with Palestinianism which, according to the Torah, will destroy Israel. This has been U.S. policy ever since "The Rogers' Plan" of 1969. It requires the Jewish people of this generation, more or less truly represented by the democratically elected members of Israel's Knesset, the parliament, to officially repudiate God's Plan for the Land and the People - to permanently reject it!
Imagine: Israel, rejecting not just the privilege but the God-given task of redeeming the Land from a barbarous and sinful people; and America, going full out to frustrate God's Will in the name of a higher good, to "save Israel," while winning friends among Israel's enemies... Is this any way for either America or Israel to earn God's blessing?
It's pitiful, it's shameful, that a great people like the Arabs couldn't find it in their hearts to resettle some few thousands of their brethren just a few miles to the East, to make just a little room for another great people, Israel: to let the Jews return to their ancient homeland, renew themselves, renew the Land, and save themselves from massacre! But that wasn't to be - even though it's what, sooner or later, needs to be, for peace's sake; and, indeed, for the ultimate redemption of both Israel and the nations. The Arabs, the Muslims, the multitudes who reject that eschatology, decisively said no to it. Through their leaders, they massively sided with the Nazis, to massacre more Jews.
We recall, for instance, that the late Yasser Arafat's relative and mentor, Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, was the real father of Arab Palestinianism - and a founder of modern radical Islam too. "Hitler's Mufti" positively goaded Hitler to exterminate the People of Israel and did everything he could, which was considerable (his followers honored him as if he were God incarnate), to massacre the Jews wherever they were. Like Hitler, by the way, and most radical Muslims, he was a big believer in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion [See Mumbai, Hamas, and the Protocols of Zion, www.1stcovenant.org/pages/news/archives/February2009.html].
But even Palestinianism has its silver lining. Despite its vile origins and essential foulness, we appreciate it, because:
- It's clear realized prophecy, demonstrating the truth of Torah. We could cite many other passages, but just look at Psalms, for instance, prophesying a great conspiracy by the Arabs ("Ishmaelites") and others, not only to "cut them [the Jews] off from being a nation," but to erase the very name and even the memory of Israel! (Psalms 83:5);
- It gives everybody a clear free-will choice: it challenges people and societies to prove who they are, whether they choose the side of truth and God, Israel and Torah, and what they're willing to do for it;
- It guarantees that Israel and its friends won't settle for just half a loaf, to create an exemplary society on just part of the Land, but must try - or face unending attacks, not just in Israel or solely against Israelis but against Jews worldwide and, indeed, against everyone opposed to the larger aims of Palestinianism - to fully perform their Torah mission vis-a-vis the Land.
What about the vile nation, the Palestinians? Even now, after generations of the most incredible population increase in human history, the answer is still obvious: "For peace's sake, remove the sources of conflict. Transfer the populations, and cut the ulcer clear." See "Fridtjof Nansen, Nobel Peace Prize winner," 1stcovenant.com/pages/articlesJewish War.htm.
Killing Babies? Perfectly OK...
People often need to kill babies, Aristotle said, to stave off over-population (Aristotle, Politics VII:16). The Greeks believed that damaged and imperfect babies, particularly, should be drowned, exposed, or starved. Similarly, the Romans, who traditionally valued boys over girls, routinely killed infant girls by "discarding" them, even into the "Christian Era," or Common Era. Rome's enemies, the Carthaginians, routinely burnt up babies, sometimes hundreds at a time, as sacrifices to their god Ba'al-Haman. And the Roman emperors Augustus, Nero and Domitian, especially, often bragged about the thousands of children, blind people and dwarfs that they'd sent to kill each other in the Roman games, to entertain the citizenry. But all along, the Torah steadily condemned this insane savagery - while conventional opinion fiercely denounced the Torah for its "bigotry," for inconveniently opposing things that every "fair-minded," "enlightened," or "progressive" person knew were perfectly OK.
As we know, the Torah-view, as per God's will, eventually prevailed. The war has moved on. Today's moral battlefields are more likely to involve gender, sexuality, "the right to die," and "the right to choose" [abortion]. And now even the cruelest anti-Torah positions come dressed-up in Torah concepts like "the sanctity of woman," "the sacredness of the human personality," "personal autonomy," "free will," "human rights" and "human dignity." But we are confident that here, too, the Torah-view - we refer to the plain, general drift of Torah, the shared understanding of the Torah held by mainstream Torah scholars - will finally prevail.
Pollsters say that most Americans believe that we're headed in the wrong direction, as a civilization and a nation. (This pre-dates the election of Barack Obama by several years, incidentally.) People are working harder and longer for less pay. A family used to be able to manage with just the husband-father working, but now both spouses need to bring home wages. Children can't simply go outside to play - and it's become almost unthinkable for an unescorted child to travel anywhere alone - for fear of sexual or homicidal predators. So America's kids are growing up in such sheltered and confined circumstances that they may never develop anything approaching healthy self-reliance. A lot of them are fat, or even obese - along with a majority of American adults! Our older cities, particularly, are in rough shape - larceny and arson have turned block after block into wilderness - and we aren't paying the taxes needed to keep our police and fire protection, schools, courts, libraries, roads or airports even at current levels.
We should resist the temptation to blame our decadence on the rejection of God and His Teachings. After all, which god have we rejected, and whose teachings are we ignoring, and are we so much worse than other countries, where the people are less God-fearing than we are? But maybe God holds America to a higher standard, as He does Israel. Maybe it's just worse, somehow, when Americans are OK with what God and the Bible call "abomination" and "perversion"?
Maybe, because most Americans scoff at the principle that general acceptance of "man lying with man as with a woman" (Leviticus 18:22) will literally pollute the land by filling it with "lewdness," as the Torah teaches, God wants to use America to illustrate His point? After all, the "enlightened" voices that mock that concept do so on the basis that the entire Torah is a sham. They insist, in their casually dismissive "everybody knows that the Bible is pure baloney" manner, that the prophecy can't possibly be true unless the bad effects of the lewd abomination are seen and felt immediately, measure for measure, and not within the ordinary course of nature but absolutely miraculously and right-this-second.
It's a wonder, really, that the American people and the People of Israel are as God-fearing as we are after everything we've been through. Our supposed best minds and natural teachers radically over-reacted to the very Scientific Revolution that the Bible and the Torah Revolution set in motion. The Jews' Conservative and Reform movements were overtaken by atheists, who talked about God but, rejecting Abraham's God, turned people into atheists; and quite a few Orthodox leaders turned against science, demanding strict intellectual conformity and divorcement from the world. In the world's centers of advanced learning, the Biblical "Documentary Hypothesis," based on the flimsiest foundation, reduced the Torah almost to the level of the Iliad or Odyssey or the Epic of Gilgamesh; practically every university and college class in Torah or "Jewish Values" anywhere teaches that the Torah is wholly man-made.
Our goal with First Covenant is to help bring out the great rationality, the attractiveness, and the historical and scientific validity, and necessity, of the Torah and the Universal Law. Not to deny the elements of Torah that are super-rational or more-than-rational - that would be irrational! - which are beyond us, pertaining in ways that we can't fathom to Infinite God Himself. But there's a tremendous amount of Torah that needs rescuing from plain misrepresentation and obscurantism. And here, we think, we can make a difference.
So Nice When People 'Get It'...
We need to apologize for our long hiatus. So much of what we do or try to do depends on extremely sophisticated technology, and we have to struggle to keep up with it. We still aren't where we want to be with it, but we seem to be much better positioned than we were. In the meantime, we did what we could; we still taught, and sold books, and built our membership.
We lost immediate access to our website for a while: thank God, that's over, and now, with the Web programming tool known as Dreamweaver, and another program, which was custom built for us, we can do a lot more than we did before. We've made a few changes to the website, by the way. We particularly recommend the new look and substance of our Community page. Go to http://1stcovenant.com/Community.htm
In other news, two things happened last Tuesday, the 22d, that are worth sharing - which help define our mission:
1) A scientist, industrialist and ben Torah (man of Torah, or Torah-scholar) of our acquaintance was teaching his students about the Torah concept of Idolatry, at the Yeshiva-sponsored weekly Partners in Torah event in Detroit. The book he handed his students, the best book he could find on the subject, he told us, and one of the best books about Torah that was written, as he says, "by a writer still on this side of the sod [that is, by a writer who hasn't been buried quite yet]," was Rainbow Covenant.
Our response: "Isn't that incredible? It just goes to show you how awful our [Israel's] treatment of idolatry usually is, and the lameness of other books on the subject."
2) From Facebook, a letter, from June 22, 2010. (By the way, see First Covenant on Facebook, www.facebook.com/group.php):
Shalom, Mr. Dallen! ... I HAVE read your book! I borrowed it from a friend quite a while back, read it, LOVED it, and returned the book. It has been long enough now that I haven't been able to remember the complete title... hence my excitement in recognizing your name. I want to purchase my own copy, and will. And now that you have reminded me of the title, I will be able to post it as a fave. :)
The Rainbow Covenant was the first book I read after leaving Christianity that really dealt with the fundamentals of the 7 Noahide Laws. One aspect of the Laws that I love is that not only are we to NOT MURDER (for example), but we are also to give life to others.... Since reading your book, I have been studying Torah, Judaism and Hebrew in an attempt to improve myself and the world.
I appreciate your successful efforts to provide Noahides with an accessible, helpful guide to our beautiful Noahide Laws. THANK YOU!!!!
[Signed, Amy M. B.]
To which we respond, with a sigh: Boy, does she have the right idea about these things!
By Michael Dallen Initial draft reviewed by R' Michael Katz and Jack E. Saunders
We call on God for help. As the prayer that Israel says every morning just before reciting the Hebrew statement of faith known as the shema asks (please understand that this is much richer in Hebrew than in English): Our Father, the merciful Father, Who acts mercifully, have mercy on us, instill in our hearts to understand and elucidate, to listen, learn, teach, safeguard, perform and fulfill all the words of Your Torah's teachings with love. Enlighten our eyes in Your Torah, attach our hearts to Your commandments, and unify our hearts to love and fear Your Name. Amen.
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