Tuesday, March 13, 2018

An Adversary and Enemy

Seated in center - the Satmar Rebbe, Aharon Teitelbaum (Behadrey)
I can only think of one appellation that applies to the Admor (Chasidic Rebbe) of Satmar, Aharon Teitelbaum. He is an Ish Tzar V’Oyev - a man that is an adversary and an enemy of the Jewish people.

How dare I say that about a rabbinic leader of such high stature? How can I describe him in terms used for the Hitler of ancient Persian history - the wicked Haman? I have a precedent. Rabbi Teitelbaum’s great uncle and founder of Satmar, R’ Yoel Teitelbaum used that same appellation about Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook, ZTL. A Gadol much older and greater than he was in my view. 

How apt it is to turn that phrase around right back at R’ Yoel’s great nephew and a current leader of Satmar. (Actually he is one of two current leaders. There is some controversy about who was the real heir to the Satmar throne: R’ Aharon or his brother R’ Zalman. But it doesn’t really matter. They are both rabidly anti Israel.)

I bring this up now in light of a story in Behadrey Haredim (Hebrew). Mostly in reaction to the US declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Rabbi Teitelbaum has called for a massive anti Israel protest right after Pesach. Which is shortly before Israel celebrates Yom Ha'atzmaut - its independence day. He wants to make sure the world knows that the State of Israel is an evil entity that does not deserve to exist. Much the same view as the Supreme Leader of Iran (the current Persia): Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei!

That there is any credibility given to Statmar by any faction in Orthodoxy is disgusting. Opposition to Satmar because of this ought to be universal - just as it is toward the extreme Left. There may be different reasons for that opposition. But that does not make Satmar any less deserving. The resultant Chilul HaShem of a massive anti Israel demonstration by the most religious looking Jews among us - will be immediate and devastating. They will no doubt proclaim (as they always do) that being anti Israel is the authentic Torah view. 

I can just see all the rabid anti Israel Mullahs in the Muslim world salivating at this. I wouldn’t be surprised if that demonstration were attended by official representation from Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. Satmar would no doubt welcome it! 

There ought to be a huge outcry by all of mainstream Orthodoxy condemning this as a distorted view of the Torah and Jewish values. The problem is that this will never happen. What may instead happen is that some mainstream Charedi leaders might actually attend this demonstration and sit conspicuously on a stage together with the Satmar. Just as they have done on other occasions. There is no way that any mainstream organization would condemn a demonstration attended by members of their own group. Which is why Satmar will get away with it with hardly a word of protest. And that legitimizes them.

As I have said many many times. This isn't about Satmar’s anti Israel views. They have every right to believe as they wish. They may even have some solid sources for those beliefs as interpreted by their founder. I have no issue with that even though my own views are diametrically opposite theirs. What they do not have a right to do is cause a major Chilul HaShem using those views as an excuse.

If this demonstration takes place and is as large as they hope it will be… and is attended by any mainstream Charedi leader, they will have succeeded in not only making a Chilul HaSehm, but in possibly causing great harm to our people. If the nations of the world see a mass of religious looking Jews opposing the State of Israel, why shouldn’t they? Why should they favor tiny Israel over the multitude of Muslim countries that want to see Israel dismantled -  just like Satmar does?

If this does not rate Rabbi Teitelbaum the appellation Ish Tzar V’Oyev, I don’t know what does.

If this event is not going to be condemned by the rest of the mainstream Orthodox leadership, it ought to be done at a grass roots level. There ought to be a counter rally of support for Israel in close proximity that is even bigger than the one Satmar hopes for. Orthodox Jews from all streams of Orthodoxy ought to show up and shout out loudly and proudly a message of love and support for the Jewish State. Speaker after speaker should talk about all Israel has achieved in its short 70 year history. Both in Torah  and in Mada. And addressed by as many rabbinic leaders from as many factions of Orthodoxy that can be convinced to attend.

That, in my view, will overturn the damage of a Satmar anti Israel demonstration that would surely result if they are allowed to proceed unchallenged.