In Hatzozra commandment the Rambam broadens the expression ”adversary that oppresseth you,”. He says that everything that bothers the people as drought and locust they cried and blew the trumpet (Halachot Taaniyot 1:1). Rambam portrait. cc: wikipedia
Rabbi Kobbi Weis maintains that a search in the Jewish holy and literary sources proves that every outside confrontation requires a look inside.
Is there a place for protesting while there is shooting in the South of the country? The portion of the week has a surprising message: actually the tension in the South requires to strengthen the protest, and in the next paragraphs we will see that the difficult security situation obliged us to ask “why are we suffering?” and the answer should bring us to a self examination process that will bring to a conclusion of the lack of social solidarity in our society and the solution must be a process of social justice.
The sirens in Beer Sheba and the Biblical trumpets
“And when ye go to war in your land against the adversary that oppresseth you, then ye shall sound an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.” (Numbers 10:9)
We see that in the first part of the verse the trumpet’s roll is to warn of the coming of the enemy, it is similar to the siren’s roll in our days. But at the end of the verse the trumpet is God’s reminder. It is clear that the reminder of God does not replace the battles that are described many times in the Bible, but it is an additional layer of mental refinement, insisting on the cultural principles and spiritual self examination.
In Hatzozra commandment the Rambam broadens the expression ”adversary that oppresseth you,”. He says that everything that bothers the people as drought and locust they cried and blew the trumpet (Halachot Taaniyot 1:1). According to the Rambam natural troubles as a plague or drought also require blowing trumpets. It is clear that the trumpet has no tactical meaning in fighting against a drought, it is a ritual spiritual roll. According to this idea, there is a need to put on the siren when the water in the Kineret goes to low, and on the other hand, also when we hear the “red color” call. Except for the physical action of entering a secured space we are also obligated to a spiritual act of self examination. How can we understand this rational without mystical assumptions?
Rabbi Soloveitchik, one of the outstanding leaders of the American Jewry in the last century, claims that we have here an example for a deep existentialistic concept that sees in crisis and suffering a source for change and development. The Jew does not ask “why”? “Why did it happen to me”? But: “what can I do now”? “How can I translate the suffering to meaningful existence?
The trumpet (as opposed to the shofar, is made by man) is meant to force people to take the responsibility for their destiny and gather mental strength against the coming trouble.
According the Rambam, after the destruction of the Temple the Biblical trumpet was exchanged by fasting days. The reaction to drought in the time of the Sages was a fasting day, not the trumpet. The fasting was a self examination tool. By fasting man creates an inspected suffering, that strengthen his confidence in his inner strength also against outside suffering. In the books of the prophets we see clear detail on the self examination of the fasting days.
“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the fetters of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” (Isaiah 58: 6-7). ”Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassion every man to his brother;” (Zechariah 7:9)We can say that if a consequence of the fear of the adversary that oppresseth you, the people come together, the public self examination should create the feeling of together from the inside not from the outside. If there is a weakening of the social solidarity, when there is an outside trouble, it is an ironically indication that is there is not an inside social solidarity, and if the gaps between the social classes will continue to widen, there will be a need for a security fright in order to unite the people, that is to say that the security situation should strengthen the call for social justice, not to weaken it.
Why is the land of Israel called the Holy Land?
In parashat Ekev recently read, the land is praised: “and drinketh water as the rain of heaven cometh down”, that is to say, not as in Nile valley that is like a “green garden”, in Israel prosperity requires rain.
The holiness of the Land of Israel is not in physical things but in recognizing that social existence depends on “rain from Heaven”, and without keeping lofty values the people are expelled from the land, “Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and they that return of her with righteousness.” (Isaiah 1:27), in other words, the praise of the Land of Israel is in the physical difficulty to live there. Many peoples who live in areas where the physical existence is easy, did not develop a social and geometrical culture as peoples that had to overcome difficulties. The Land of Israel is challenging and requires to develop a high spiritual culture.
The holiness of the Land of Israel requires a straightforward connection with God, a tight connection with a high moral system. Any diversion from this brings draught, the way to deal with draught is fasting, a spiritual self examination.
In other words, the reason for our existence in this area requires a high level of values. There is no reason for our existence without establishing a state model in the sprit of the Bible. When missiles are falling in our streets we have to ask ourselves why are we here? Why are we suffering? The answer is: because it is the only place in the world where we are independent, our faith is in our hands and the special identity called a Jewish Land in the Land of Israel requires a high level of inside and outside moral existence.
So, everyone who claims that the military situation is an excuse for extinguishing the public protest simply stopped to ask the basic question: for what?
We, as a nation, are in the Land of Israel not in order to have an army. The role of the People of Israel is to be a light for the gentiles – so simple and so right. Those who claim that the military situation does not enable an example society existence and does not enable financially social justice, do not understand the meaning of Zionism and the reason for our existence in the Land of Israel. They fall into the trap of existing just in order to exist. But it seems that with process of protest the people who sit in Zion got sober from this illusion.
The sirens in Beer Sheba and the call of the Rothschild Boulevard should merge into one voice with an understanding that the people have to seek social justice.