Forgive me for Disengaging

I have a confession to make. I supported the Disengagement. Not only did I support it, I supported it fully. I even called those advocating refusal of orders dangerous traitors, Zecharyah ben Avkilas types who would send away Emperor Nero’s sacrifice because of a flaw rather than sacrifice it and save Jerusalem.

It is critical that you understand exactly why I felt this way.

There are two distinct goals for the Jewish People at this point in history. One goal is to build a giant defensive wall and use it to protect the Jewish People as much as possible against the next wave of destruction, and in the meantime just wait for the Jewish People to be redeemed somehow. This is a negative goal, and as such, essentially has no direction. It’s just a beautifully paved road to nowhere. The other goal, which is mutually exclusive, is to actually redeem the Jewish People. This is the only possible positive goal, the only one that leads somewhere real.

The theory of Disengagement is that you hunker down, gather the Jews, make sure they’re all on our side of the fence, build a giant fortress wall, and hide behind it for as long as possible. This is the quintessential defensive tactic that looks appealing to those who have no positive goals other than defending the Jewish People.

This is why I supported the disengagement. Because in an environment where there simply was no leader who had any positive goals, it seemed like the best option for defense. I didn’t see any leader who was even trying to move along the process of redemption. So I wanted to separate populations, Jews and Arabs, put them on one side, put us on the other, build a giant wall – literally – and wait behind it for Moshiach. The Disengagement was one step towards that for me.

Oh how I cried when I realized what I had done. I cried not when the Disengagement happened. That was very painful – I remember watching it as it happened, but the tears of the people being torn from their homes could not inspire my own to flow. I cried, rather, when I saw that I had completely missed something essential. One night in late 2008 I read an article in the Jerusalem Post that some guy named Feiglin may get a Knesset seat on the Likud list and that Netanyahu was actually scared of this. I wondered what he could actually be scared of.

I got curious, and I went to Feiglin’s website. He had joined Likud because he actually wanted to lead the entire nation and declare victory on top of the Temple Mount. When I heard that, my soul, hardened by years of building defensive walls and buying time, began to melt. Feiglin wasn’t speaking to any Jewish sector at all, but to the entire Jewish nation. Something inside me cracked and I shed a tear. I understood. He wants to finish the process of Geulah. He has an actual positive goal.

Then the tears really came. I realized that what led me to support the bitter evil of the Disengagement was simply my desire to go on defense and just wait it out instead of move it forward. I cried because I understood I didn’t have to think that way anymore, ever again. I could move forward. That’s the Jewish concept of avoiding from evil and doing good. In order to avoid evil, you must do good, otherwise you get caught up in evil unwittingly, like I did. And those getting caught in the evil right now are all those stuck in the sectoral mentality.

Trying to unite the Religious Zionists is nothing but an insidious form of Disengagement. Less brutal, for sure, but insidious and wrong. Instead of disengaging from LAND and separating ARABS and Jews, those who even RECOGNIZE sectors are disengaging from the Jewish PEOPLE and separating JEWS and Jews.

You want to know why Religious Zionist parties keep shrinking? Because they’re boring. Because they lack any sort of positive goal. Because voters are tired of playing defense.

This is NOT a question of how we unite the Religious Zionists to build the next wall of defense. This is a question of what you think God really wants from the Jewish people. Does God want sector A to outvote sector B and then Moshiach comes? God wants us to simply buy enough time until His Divine egg timer goes off in the sky and it’s time for Moshiach to just show up by default? Is this just a silly game of chicken? Or does God want the Jews, all of us, to realize, together, as a nation, what the heck we’re doing here in Israel and why?

I believe God wants the second option. In order for us to realize what we’re doing here, we need a leader who speaks to every single Jew. If you’re in a sector, then talk and talk as much as you want about Jewish identity and any Jew out of your sector will simply ignore you, because you’ve disengaged yourself from them.

Manhigut Yehudit is not about defense, and it is not even about saving the settlements. Every Likud primary is about speaking to this stiff-necked people of ours, the Jewish People, who are confused and directionless, and telling them that we need to finish the process of Redemption and lead this world. No matter what the results are; whether Moshe Feiglin wins a victory or comes close or loses, one thing is absolutely certain. Every time he runs, Feiglin speaks, and Am Yisrael listens. Left and right, Dati Hiloni Haredi. EVERYONE hears him.

Would anyone care if Naftali Bennett came out supporting medical marijuana? No, because Bennett is disengaged from Am Yisrael. Nobody cares what he says. Just a fact. But when Moshe Feiglin supports medical marijuana, all of a sudden every station has to interview him immediately. That’s the nation listening.

Those in the “Jewish Home” – for the love of God, and I don’t use that phrase lightly, stop your disengagement from the Jewish People. Talk to them. All of them. You can help us talk to them. Join Likud and TALK to them. You may not win a seat, but for God’s sake they’ll hear you.

Moshe Feiglin will win because he’s the only one with a goal. Everything else is meaningless chatter about how best to do nothing. The path is not glorious. It is not easy. It is full of ridicule and naysayers. It is full of dirty political tricks that will drive you mad. But if you want to bring Jewish history to its climax, we need everyone in on it. You can all help.

Moshe Feiglin will keep speaking. You can either make his voice that much louder and be a part of Jewish history, or you can, yet again, go in Galut defensive mode, disengage from the rest of the Jews, and fight the next prime minister from your defensive wall of Knesset seats. And then watch it be torn down to dust.

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