Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Things that Will Spare Us From the Wrath of Yishmael

Rav Gamliel Rabinowitz
An email list to which I subscribe was sent an excerpt (by a fellow subscriber) from an email bulletin of Hakhel. Hakhel defines itself as follows: 
Hakhel, a not-for-profit volunteer organization, was formed in Flatbush in 5755 for the express purpose of uniting our communities through the study of Torah, acts of Chesed and the proper performance of Mitzvos. 
I have no issue with an organization that strives to enhance Torah study, Chesed, and the performance of Mitzvos. Nothing wrong with that. In fact everything is right with it. We should all be striving for improvement in our daily lives. But I do have an issue with what they sent out here:
REMINDER--DAM KADOSH: As we have noted in the past, HaRav Gamliel Rabanovitch, Shlita, explains that in this last Galus of Galus Yishmael,the Arabs seek nothing else but Jewish blood. He teaches that the way to prevent the Arabs from any future success in this area is by making our blood holy (Dam Kadosh), so that they can have no shelita, no power, over it. How can we make our blood Kadosh? HaRav Rabanovitch explains that there are two primary ways to do so: 
1. One should be as careful as possible with the Kashrus level of the food and drink he consumes--looking for Mehadrin products, and not settling for bedievid Kashrus situations. The Kedusha of what one eats will be carried through his blood stream. 
2. One should be careful to recite brachos over food and drink with Kavannah--thereby further instilling Kedusha invested in the food and drink into the blood stream of our bodies.  
These comments are disturbing to me. First the idea that we paint all Arabs as seeking Jewish blood is false. Not all Arabs seek our blood. And the idea that they seek only Jewish blood is so absurd on the face of it, that it would be comical if it weren’t so tragically false in light of what happened in France last week. Not to mention all the other atrocities Islamist Arabs have committed against even their own people!

What’s worse is the contention that the 'blood purifying' elixir of improved Kashrus and Kavanah (proper intent) in Brachos over food will save us from Arab harm.  

What troubles me aren’t his suggestions to improve in those areas. If one wants to eat from only certain Hashgachos (Kosher certifying agencies) which they feel are more trustworthy, that's fine. God bless them. And certainly we should all have proper intent when we make a Bracha over food (or any other Bracha). The problem lies in his clear statement that if we were only to abide by these 2 things, our purified blood will spare us the fate of being slaughtered at the hands of Yishmael (Arabs).

Do the more Mehadrin food products really save us from such a fate? Or does improving one’s Kavanah when making a Bracha over the food we eat do that? Did the 4 holy Jews slaughtered in Har Nof die because they ate from ‘lesser’ Hashgachos? Or because they did not say Brachos with the proper Kavanah? My guess is that they were in fact very careful to eat from the only the most trustworthy Hashgachos and that their Brachos were all said with the proper Kavanos.

It always troubles me when any rabbi make these kinds of statements. As if only when we fix these particular things - we will all be spared any future harm. 

There are many serious problems facing the Jewish world today which could use a good deal of fixing. Among them: 

Problems of abuse. 

Problems with chidren going OTD.

Problems about the plight of Agunos.

Problems about the poverty plaguing the Charedi world. 

Problems of an increasing rate of divorce among Orthodox Jewry. 

Problems in Shidduchim.

Problems of the increasing costs of Jewish education.

Problems about the lack of Haklaras HaTov for what the Israel Defense Forces do to protect a the people of Israel.

Problems with the plethora of Chilul HaShems made by the most religious looking Jews among us. 

Problems with extremists in places like Meah Shearim or Bet Shemesh bullying people that do not live up to their standards of Tznius. Or that beat up women who dare to sit in the men’s section of an empty bus. 

I could go on but I think I made my point.

I respectfully ask Rav Rabinowitz, isn’t it possible that God is a little bit more upset about these things than he might be about not using Mehadrin food products?