Refusing Orders, etc

[Be-Ahava U-Be-Emuna – Teruma 5771 – translated by R. Blumberg]

Question: Following our brief conversation, I see myself obligated to make clearer my position about my being in favor of refusing orders. It’s not to solve my personal problem. My own problem can be solved by making a polite request of my commander, and he will help me out. Rather, for me this is a matter of principle, a political tool to fight against this corrupt army and the corrupt state that stands behind it. Yes, I say this with great certainty, but with great pain as well. Everything is rotten, unfortunately, and it can no longer be rectified. Therefore, the faster it is destroyed, the faster it will be rebuilt upright and pure. Refusing orders is just the tip of the iceberg. I have no faith in this country or in the people that dwells in Zion. True, I am talking only on my own behalf, and I don’t represent anyone, but I am certain that I am serving as a mouthpiece for others like me. Please don’t respond with quotations from Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook or Chief Rabbi Kook – they should rest in peace – regarding the Jewish People. I feel no attachment to Chief Rabbi Kook, I’m no disciple of Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehuda, and as far as the Jewish People, I don’t know what that is. I agree, unwillingly, that our lives are a partnership here, but I shall continue pulling as much as I can in the direction of the Torah, and against the degeneration that is going on from day to day. And altogether, I didn’t write to get an answer, but so that you would listen to what I have to say.
Answer: Thanks a lot. I, too, am going to tell you what I think, not to convince you, but to prevent misunderstanding. I don’t see myself in any sort of partnership. A partner has a part that is his, alone, and he’s allowed to insist on having his way with it. And anyway, in a partnership each partner is entitled to stop changes in the arrangement, even if he is in the
minority.
Rather, I see myself as part of the people, and our master Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook wrote in Mishpat Kohen that one should not confuse an aggregate with a partnership. An aggregate is like a body with organs, all of which are vital. All together constitute a single vital whole, whereas a partnership is a collection of individuals like a joint venture, like a large insurance company. Thus, all Israel is responsible for one another. They suffer from one another, enjoy one another, in the same way that all the body’s organs constitute a single organism, as Malbim explained, and they are not like a worm, made of individual, independent vertebrae.
The ones who decide what happens in this country are the people, because it is the people who built it. It is the people that returned to Zion, who established the State and who liberated Judea and Samaria. These areas do not belong to you personally, but to the people. This Land belongs to the people, even the people down through the generations, and it is the people that decide things. I am one of the people, and everything I do in this Land, I do together with them, my being one of them, as I said, and “I live among my people” (Melachim 2 4:13), as is explained many times in the Zohar on this verse.
I am not always pleased with what my people do – generally yes, but not always. Certainly there are different spiritual levels within the people, in line with Rabbi Luria’s comment that “Tzibur” [community] is an acronym for TZaddikim [righteous], Benonim [middle level] and Resha’im [wicked]. Yet all of them are levels within the people – my people.
In the exile, we were a collection of individuals, and in the best instance, communities. Yet our lives as a people disappeared, and now they are slowly coming back. This is what died in Yechezkel’s prophetic vision of the dried bones, this is what died in the rot described by the Vilna Gaon in his Likutim at the end of his “Sifra DeTzeni’uta”. And this is what is now
coming to life. We have resumed being a people, and the greatest expression of that peoplehood is our country and our army.
I therefore try to fulfill, “I live among my people”, and not to fulfill, “‘They have gone from here’ – they removed themselves from brotherhood” (Bereshit 37:17 and Rashi).
I love my people greatly, even in the most problematic of times, as is explained at the end of Chapter 19 of Mesillat Yesharim. I am always together with my people, both when they rise up, and when they fall.
It’s true that we’ve got a lot of shortcomings to our public life, yet we are still rising to rebirth as a Nation. This is a Divine decision, and no human calculation can change it.
Everything will heal. Patience. It will come thanks to me a bit, and thanks to you a bit.
All of us together.