The following commentary on the holiday of Succos was written by Rabbi Benyamin Zev Kahane.
Not Everyone is Included in the "Four Species" (1997)
Major functionaries at home joining the side of our enemy require us to take another look at the known midrash about how the "four species" symbolize different levels in Am Yisrael.
It is impossible to ignore anymore the growing and obscene phenomenon, where functionaries from home mobilize time and time again to further the cause of our bitter enemies. Whenever possible, they rise from within us, under the orchestration of the media, to demoralize the nation during its fight for existence, while furthering the interests of the enemy. The question is: How should we relate to these people? Are they one of us, or are they "beyond the pale"? One of the famous midrashim in connection to Succot, compares the four species to the unity of Israel: "Just as the Etrog has both taste and smell, so too do the Jewish People have within it people who have Torah and good
deeds: Lulav...has taste and no smell, and so too there are those who have Torah and no good deeds...Just as the Hadas has smell and no taste...(there are those) with good deeds and no Torah...Just as the "Arava" has no smell and no taste, so (there are those) who have no Torah and no good deeds. And what does the Almighty do to them? To destroy them would be impossible! But rather the Almighty said that he will tie them all up in one unit and they will atone for one another". (Vayikra Raba, 30:12)
Considering our opening statements, there is a need for some clarification in light of this amazing midrash which mentions how the Aravot are held tightly together with the rest of Am Yisrael.
The worst kind of Jew spoken of here is the Arava, who is not destroyed, because the righteous atone for him. They are Jews "who have no Torah and no good deeds". True, we are not talking about the cream of the crop - but we are talking about Jews who are ready to be part of the union of Am Yisrael, connected to them so that the righteous can atone for them. We are not talking about Jews, who G-d forbid, sever themselves from the collective and detest their own Jewishness. We are not discussing Jews who the sages spoke of when they said that in the days of Messiah, there will be Jews who will identify with and join forces with the enemy. About such Jews, the above midrash does not speak. On the contrary. The idea of the midrash is two-fold. On one hand, G-d does not desire to see the wicked of Israel destroyed. On the other hand, we are talking about only those who are willing to join part of Klal Yisrael. Only he merits this special atonement, reserved for one who feels belonging to the collective of the Jewish Nation.
It must be known: Relatively speaking, there really are only a few. But through all the generations, and especially in this final era before the complete redemption, there were always Jews who took themselves out of the
collective, and deep inside of them, identified more with the goyim than with the Jews.
And so, it is a great mistake to identify such people as the "Arava" described in the midrash. For while the Arava is still an only an Arava, it still has a belonging to the Jewish collective. While it has no taste or
smell, at least it does not give off a putrid or damaging smell. The Arava sees himself as part of the four species and does not nullify his Jewishness, nor does he want to be like a gentile. By this very fact, he is able to absorb within him the smell and taste of the others. We must also remember that there are certain things that disqualify the four species from being Kosher. And so, though we are never happy about disqualifying a Jew, there are those who are rejected, and not tied together with the rest of the four species.
The nation is willing to absorb the individual sinners, and to cover and atone for them so that they will not perish with their sins (even though this causes us great suffering as a people). It is ready to hold on tightly to them with all its might in order to unite them, for we Jews are all guarantors for one another. But the nation is not ready to carry under its wing he who in his very essence is an aberrant traitor. Such people remove themselves from the Succah of Israel, and as much as it hurts to say, they are beyond the pale for us.
Below is a list of current anti Jewish/Israel programs that are being promoted and will take place in Toronto. The agenda is clear, to bring anti Jewish/Israel hate into the High Schools and Universities.
Hate Program #1)
Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Teach
A conference on elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education - rights and repression
Friday, October 16, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 17, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Speakers include: Javier Davila, Yafa Jarrar, Sherene Razack, Denis Rancourt, Golta Shahidi
Registration: $5-$30 sliding scale (includes lunch with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options)
For further information and to pre-register, contact us at freedomtoteach.registration@
Hate Program #2)
Meeting on Gaza with Sandra Ruch
Wednesday, October 14th 2009 7:30
Sandra is the Toronto CODEPINK Co-ordinator for Gaza related efforts. She has been to Gaza with CODEPINK 2 times and worked with Jewish Voices for Peace in an effort to stop the seige on Gaza. With Jewish Voices for Peace Sandra also occupied the Israeli Embassy in Canada at the beginning of the occupation in Gaza. Come for a night of snacks and to learn how to support these efforts. Please note, this is not a meeting where the seige on Gaza will be debated. Join, Sandra and all of us at Toronto CODEPINK!
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org for directions to the event.
Hate Program #3)
Are you afraid to be "out" as a student or teacher? Can you talk openly about your experiences with racism? Do you fear that your work won't get funded ? Are you afraid to teach or write about Israel-Palestine? Is your voice being silenced? Are you silencing yourself?
FREEDOM OF SPEECH,
FREEDOM TO TEACH:
A CONFERENCE ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM
Saturday, November 10
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
140 St. George Street, room 205
Claude T. Bissell Building
(Attached to the Robarts Library. Wheelchair accessible)
A Fragrance-Free Event
Featuring Sunera Thobani
Other Speakers Include:
Sedef Arat-Koc Afua Cooper Dan Freeman-Maloy Richard Fung
Grace-Edward Galabuzi Maurice Green Paul Hamel Jason Kunin
Ausma Malik David Noble Margaret Pappano
Ramneek Pooni Jason Price Jim Turk
Exhibit of Ibrahim Shalaby, internationally known Canadian-Palestinian artist . For a detailed programme and to pre-register, contact us at freedomtoteach.
$20 Registration fee at door, $5 -$10 sliding scale for students / unwaged
(Includes vegetarian lunch with vegan options)
Sponsored by: Educators for Peace and Justice and
OISE Centre for Leadership and Diversity
Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Teach
A Conference on Academic Freedom
9:15 Keynote Address - Sunera Thobani
"No Academic Exercise: The Assault on Anti-Racist Feminism in the Age of Terror"
Sunera Thobani is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Research in the Women's Studies and Gender Relations Department at the University of British Columbia. A long-time activist on women's issues and with anti-racist movements, Sunera Thobani is the former head of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women.
10:30 Roundtable Discussion: Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Teach: Mapping the Issues
Sedef Arat-Koc - Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University
Afua Cooper - Professor in the departments of History and Women's Studies at the University of Toronto
Grace-Edward Galabuzi - Assistant Professor at Ryerson University in the Department of Politics and Public Administration
Paul Hamel - Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto; President of Science for Peace
Margaret Pappano - English professor at Queen's University
12:00 Catered Vegetarian Lunch with Vegan Options Provided
1:00 Panel: Confronting "Controversial" Issues in a post-9/11 Context
Dan Freeman-Maloy - York University graduate student
Richard Fung - Associate professor in the Faculty of Art at the Ontario College of Art and Design
Jason Kunin - Social Studies and English teacher, Vaughan Rd. Academy
Ausma Malik - Former Vice-president (Equity) of the University of Toronto Students' Union
David Noble - Professor of History at York University
Jason Price - Assistant Professor of Education, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, University of Victoria
2:30 How to Speak Out and Keep Your Job: The Legal Context
Maurice Green - Legal counsel for Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF), partner in Green & Chercover, a legal firm specializing in labour and employment law
Ramneek Pooni - Membership Services Officer of Queen's University Faculty Association (QUFA)
James Turk - Executive Director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)
4:00 Wrap-Up - Where Do We Go From Here?
Social Event to Follow
For a detailed programme and to pre-register, contact us at freedomtoteach.registration@
Sponsored by: Educators for Peace and Justice and OISE Centre for Leadership and Diversity
** Institutions and organizations listed for personal identification only
The Jewish Defence League of Canada will confront and oppose this hate campaign. It is important to understand that many of the anti Jewish/Israel speakers at these hate fests were born Jewish and they have willingly joined the enemies of the Jewish People. Al of these anti Jewish/Israel events serve the goals of Radical Iran. They want Israel destroyed. Some of these events will take place on our Shabbat and arrangements will be made to spend Shabbat downtown. Anti Jewish/Israel evil must always be exposed and confronted. Call our office at 416-736-7000 or email us at email@example.com and take a stand. For the time being, our Tuesday evening security classes are on hold, however we are providing a Karav Maga class every Monday evening at the Toronto Zionist Center at 7:00 pm.
There is so much work ahead for the JDL and I implore the reader to make a meaningful contribution to the most active Jewish group ready to confront and expose the haters.
With Love of Israel,
Meir Weinstein, National Director, Jewish Defence League of Canada