In honor of Gimmel Tammuz, a committee of Chabad women known as Crown Heights Women for the Safety and Integrity of Israel brought the Jewish community together on June 26th to pay tribute to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s unparalleled leadership and staunch advocacy for The Land of Israel’s security, territorial integrity and unconditional Jewish settlement throughout the country.
Opening remarks began with Rabbi Sholom Ber Kalmanson of Cincinnati. Regularly invited to speak on matters of importance to the Chabad and Jewish community-at-large, Rabbi Kalmanson recalled the Rebbe’s close sphere of influence on Israeli and Jewish leaders.
The next speaker was Mrs. Frida Schapiro, an outstanding lecturer, who read from excerpts of letters the Rebbe answered concerning the security situation in Eretz Yisroel.
Her selection comes from the vast archive of English letters that were compiled by her father Rabbi Nissan Mindel, a”h, who was personal secretary to the Rebbe.
Mrs. Schapiro noted that on principle the Rebbe did not answer Halachic questions, instead referring the querier to an Orthodox rav. One of the few exceptions to this rule was in the case of protecting Jewish lives in connection with the question of relinquishing liberated lands to non-Jews; in this instance, the Rebbe did not hesitate to express his opinion.
In letters, private meetings and in public, the Rebbe reiterated his Halachic position that Pikuach Nefesh, protecting lives, is apolitical, overrides the extant debates about the State of Israel and, needless to say, supersedes diplomatic efforts to attain international recognition through territorial and other kinds of concessions.
Regarding those rabbinical rulings that concessions might actually spare lives, the Rebbe respectfully suggested they were based on misinformation, maintaining that only expert military testimony be considered in rendering a Halachic decision on the topic.
Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht, Senior Rabbi of Beth Israel-Chabad of Westport/Norwalk, CT, and Member of the Presidium of Igud HaRabonim, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, spoke about the role Jewish Americans and especially Chabad Chassidim must play in advocating for the safety of fellow Jews in Israel.
Rabbi Hecht first shared a number of instances in which the Rebbe called upon his father, HaRav HaGaon vChossid Avraham Dov Hecht, a”h, to use his many connections to help ward off any concessions that were being contemplated by the State of Israel to their Arab neighbors or others on their behalf.
Following in the footsteps of his unforgettable father who was one of the few true champions for all matters pertaining to Eretz Yisroel’s security, Rabbi Hecht related his own mission to Israel shortly after the Expulsion from Gaza in 2005.
Joining an OU trip, he successfully lobbied with a few others for the OU to modify its long-standing position that automatically supported all Israeli government policies.
As a result, the OU now readily speaks out against any schemes that might compromise the best interests of the Jewish People, even when that places it at odds with the “official” position of the Israeli Government.
Likewise, Rabbi Hecht insisted, must Chabad Chassidim take up the sacred mission entrusted to them by the Rebbe and oppose any compromise or agreement with Israel’s enemies.
Rabbi Hecht reiterated the Rebbe’s clearly stated Halachaic P’sak based on Shulchan Orech (OH Chapter #329) that territorial concessions, Land for Peace, only serve to endanger Jewish lives. Furthermore, Jewish Law prohibits even talking about negotiating let alone signing peace agreements for political expediency because it imperils Jewish lives.
Rabbi Hecht concluded his remarks with the assurance that adhering to the Rebbe’s clear directives will bring about blessings not only to his Chassidim and admirers but, even more importantly, to all of humanity.
Video presentations came from Shifra Hoffman who worked alongside Rabbi Meir Kahane, ztz’l for decades and founded Victims of Arab Terror, the first group to advocate on behalf Jewish victims and the outstanding One Family organization that provides Israel’s terror and war victims with an array of professional services to recover, rehabilitate and reintegrate post trauma.
The evening’s final speaker was Rob Muchnick – US representative for Israel’s new Zehut party, led by former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Moshe Feiglin.
Rob Muchnick, has written hundreds of articles, given dozens of interviews, and has traveled across America over the last 12 years on behalf of MK Feiglin, in order to help turn Israel from The State of the Jews into The Jewish State.
A lively discussion took place between Muchnick and the audience over Feiglin’s strategy for resuming sovereignty on the Temple Mount.
Moshe’s and others’ ascendance there contradicts the accepted Halachic view that all Jews today are in a state of ritual impurity and, therefore, forbidden from going up to the Temple Mount.
As Rabbi Kalmanson related earlier in the evening, immediately after the Six Day War ended, the Rebbe cried out during a farbrengen, that the Israelis were in Washington eagerly offering to relinquish the territory they had just miraculously liberated much to the astonishment of the American officials before them.
At the same time Moshe Dayan was handing back the keys to the Temple Mount to the Islamic Wakf because, as he wrote later in his autobiography, the dream of Jews returning to pray there was not his dream!
Despite years of repeated provocations and incitement by the Wakf, Arab leaders and their collaborators, the Israeli government inexplicably persists in refusing to assert control over the Temple Mount.
In keeping with the Rebbe’s line of Halachic reasoning that matters of Pikuach Nefesh must be determined by military experts and not politicians, a swift and no-nonsense maneuver by Israel’s defense forces would then bypass the imperative felt by Moshe Feiglin and others “that ascending the Temple Mount demonstrates publicly that sovereignty on the site of G-d’s House belongs to the Jewish People.”
Needless to say, Moshe Feiglin agrees with the Rebbe’s concrete outlook; of course, Israel will face a barrage of criticism but, as the Rebbe says, a resolute stance that places the welfare of its citizens first will eventually silence any grumbling and ultimately bring true peace upon the Land.
The need for doing so is all the more apparent after watching Israel Resource News Agency editor-in-chief David Bedein’s documentary The UNRWA Road to Terror that showed the violent anti-Semitic indoctrination Arab children are getting in Israel in UN run schools funded from donor nations led by the United States and culled from our American tax dollars!
Proceeds from a raffle drawing for jewelry will go to Odel Banita. Odel’s husband Aharon and rescuer Nechemia Lavie, HY”D, were the second group of victims to be murdered in the Knife Intifada that began on Sukkos earlier this year. Odel and her young son were also seriously wounded and continue to recover. May our small gesture bring some ease to the challenges they face.