Libertarian Ambivalence on Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day

Last year I wrote this post on Times of Israel entitled “Why I do not celebrate the birth of the State of Israel”, though I do celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence day. I went through all the reasons I hate the institution of the State, and ended with this:

I do not celebrate the birth of the State of Israel because I despise it. There is nothing it does or provides that free independent Jews couldn’t provide better and more efficiently. I wish the State would go away and let private Jews protect themselves and organize their lives based on voluntary agreements. All the politics about whose money goes which way would vanish and we could stop all the infighting. Life would finally be peaceful.

So what, then, am I celebrating? I am celebrating Yom HaAtzmaut. Independence Day. Today is not Yom Medinat Yisrael. Today is Yom HaAtzmaut. I am celebrating the fact that I am free from the British State which harassed Jews much more. This is indeed something to celebrate. I am not yet free, however, from the Jewish State. But God willing, soon, I will be.

This year it’s still harder to celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut. I suspect it will get harder and harder as the State gets bigger and bigger. It’s hard because while I know that I celebrate Jewish independence from Britain, I also know that everyone else is indeed celebrating the institution of the State itself. So it feels really awkward to be celebrating together with people who are celebrating something I hate.

Not that I’m the only one who’s ambivalent. Everyone else is, too, because when it comes down to it, they all hate the State as well. They just don’t want to come out and say it as honestly as I do, because they don’t want to sound like “anarchists” or some other scary word.

Last night it was especially evident. I’m in Zichron Ya’akov now visiting my brother and his family, who just moved back to Israel after 15 years. We ended up going to a house of a bunch of hippieish modernistic Jews, like the kind I used to hang out with in America. The Dvar Torah at the end of the service was, essentially, in so many words, something along the lines of “Even though we all hate the State and the people in charge are disgusting, we still have to celebrate it because Rav Nachman says everything will be good eventually.”

No, he did not say it that way exactly, but that was the message. It was more diplomatic of course, like “Even though there is a lot to fix in the State, it will all be better at some point.” The point is it started off conceding that there are a lot of problems. Generally, Jewish holidays don’t start off on that kind of negative.

Like, take Chanukah. The geulah, redemption, was not complete, but we only say that at the end. And Purim. Same thing, but we only say that the redemption was not complete at the end. Even Pesach, very happy, but we remind ourselves at the end that 80% of the Israelites did not make it out of Egypt alive. Footnote. But Yom HaAtzmaut, everyone knows there’s something seriously wrong here, right out in the open, and it feels disgusting for everyone to celebrate a political institution, and that awkward feeling everyone has needs to be addressed immediately. It has to be said at the beginning, because nobody feels completely right about this.

With other Jewish holidays, the celebration is obvious, we just have to remind ourselves that it’s not completely happy yet. With Yom HaAtzmaut, we have to remind ourselves that things aren’t completely horrible, and there is still something to celebrate about this.

Which is essentially what I say, but without dressing it up in qualifiers and watered-down language.

I was sitting next to my brother in the back who, it is publicly known so it’s not loshon harah, does not believe in the narrative of the Exodus as historical. So the ultimate irony hit me. Here’s what I told him.

“So, you don’t believe in the Biblical God and I don’t believe in the State, and here we are thanking God for the State.”

And we both cracked up.

On Yom HaAtzmaut, I say Hallel, with a bracha, but I can no longer do it in a minyan, because they say Hallel for the State, and I say it in spite of the State. So from now on, I daven alone on Yom HaAtzmaut.

If there are any Jewish libertarians out there anywhere in the world, male or female, who celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut but not the State of Israel, then let’s make a minyan (egalitarian even, if we can’t scrape up the male numbers) and do Hallel, through Skype, through whatever.

Somebody’s Mad I Didn’t Say the Prayer for the State of Israel

I have a hard time praying for something I don’t want. I have an even harder time praying for something I think is objectively a bad thing. I think that to ask God to protect and watch over something I don’t want and that I think is bad, makes a mockery of what prayer is.

In my shul they  say the prayer for the welfare of the State of Israel and its leaders and advisers. I know that to try to change that minhag and convert everyone in the shul to libertarianism is futile, so I just ignore it. My personal policy is that I don’t stand during the prayer, but I do stand during the prayer for Tzahal. I will pray for the safety of the slaves, but never the masters.

There’s very little that I dislike about the prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel, except for the first line. If ברך את מדינת ישראל were replaced with ברך את עם ישראל היושב בציון then I would gladly stand for the whole thing and even say it. But I know that the intent of the prayer is for the government, that group of people that takes money and labor by force, just like any other form of slavery. That is something I cannot and will not pray for, especially given the Torah reading, smack in the middle of the exodus from Egypt.

The fact that most people in my shul also hate the government of Israel and its prime minister, more or less, makes the prayer for the state and the prime minister’s welfare even more dissonant. Not that I don’t understand it. I do. The State is “holy” to them, so no matter how much evil it does, how many people it kills, how many homes it tears down, and how many people it expels and how much money it steals, it’s still “holy” so you pray for it. And its leader, even though you’re sick of him.

Well, last week I was called to daven from the amud, (lead the prayers), I did not volunteer but was asked, and I was supposed to say the prayer for the welfare of the State of Israel. I refused, and said to the gabbai that if he wanted it said, someone else would have to do it. So someone else came up and said it, and I stood on the side. I wasn’t going to outright skip it and go on because I knew that would cause a riot or something close to it.

This has happened before, but in a smaller minyan. This time it was in the main minyan.

One week passed, and yesterday after shul, I stopped at a kiddush with my two daughters at someone’s house who was celebrating the birth of a grandchild. On my way out, someone stops me and asks “Why didn’t you say the תפילה לשלום המדינה last week?”

“Because I don’t believe in the מדינה,” I answered.

“You are a disgrace, a disgrace to the shul,” he says.

“I didn’t ask to daven,” I say, “I was asked to.”

“Well I’m going to do everything I can so that you can never daven from the amud again, you’re an embarrassment,” he says.

“So do it,” I say, and I leave with my 4 and 2 year old.

It is especially…I won’t say “strange” because I understand the State Worship Avoda Zara thing…but I will say ironic, that it was davka this person to call me a disgrace for not saying the prayer for a gang of thieves writ large, because I remember this person. On the night that Ariel Sharon finally died, I was walking past this same person. I don’t recall exactly if he said it or someone else said it first, but somebody said “Sharon died!”

And he said, this same person that thinks I’m a disgrace for not saying the stupid prayer for the State and Prime Minister, and I quote exactly, “Good fucking riddance! It’s about fucking time!”

And I said to him, “Well I wouldn’t go that far.”

I, the anarcho-capitalist, who hates government and everything it stands for, wouldn’t go that far. I don’t celebrate death. But he, the guy who thinks I’m a disgrace for not praying for the State, says good fucking riddance to one of its leaders.

It’s interesting. I was at a meeting of Shomron activists last night with Feiglin, and he spoke about people calling him the “Israeli libertarian.” He said, not so surprisingly but it still hurt a bit, “But I’m not at all coming from that direction. I believe the State is holy, but it’s not holy above everything, and I know it’s very dangerous. The first commandment is ‘I am God,’ not ‘I am the State.'”

He also described how hard it was, even for him, to vote against the budget to prevent the release of terrorists. It’s like voting to tear down the government, he explained, and only he was able to do it, with difficulty, not even Orit Struck of Bayit Yehudi was able to. Because voting against the budget as part of the ruling coalition is voting against the State. Voting to tear it down. Even for Feiglin, who believes in the legitimacy, even the holiness, of the State, that’s hard to do.

But he was able to do it because despite believing the State is “holy”, he understands that it is not holy in and of itself. It is only holy as a tool, if it does the right thing. Nevermind the fact that it can never do the right thing, in his mind it theoretically can. So OK, it’s theoretically conceivable even if practically impossible. Even so, he can still vote against the State because it is not inherently holy for him.

For Orit Struck though, who is the perfect example of the State’s beaten wife who keeps returning to her abusive husband, the State is holy in and of itself. No matter what it does, she is incapable of voting against it. She is a survivor of the Yamit expulsion and lives in Hevron, the most hard core of hard core settlements.

I clearly remember hearing her speak that night that Jewish sovereignty on Har Habayit was being discussed in the Knesset for the first time in history. I was in the audience, and she comes up to speak. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I remember the introduction. She said something like this, “Every day I get up and I’m in awe of this State, its institutions, its symbols, the Knesset. I love it so much and it thrills me that I’m a part of it and that God gave us this gift…” etc. Sycophantic praise of the Ruling Class from A to Z. State worship. As a thing in itself. She then went on to blather about how much it hurts her that the Holy State she loves so much is preventing Jews from praying on Har Habayit. Like the perfectly obedient beaten wife.

Again, not that I don’t understand that. You go through 2000 years of exile being enslaved to goyim who systematically kill you and it can be a thrill to finally at least be only systematically enslaved, expelled, and robbed by your own people who at least won’t try to systematically kill you. So I get it. But it doesn’t make it any less State Idol Worship.

That’s why Orit Struck could not, I mean could not, vote against that budget, even if it meant saving lives and stopping a terrorist release. Because to her, the State is holy in and of itself. She loves it like a god. She worships it. It is her intermediary to God. Nothing less than that.

It’s the same with this guy who thinks I’m a disgrace. As much as he hates what the State does, and can wish “good fucking riddance” to Ariel Sharon, the State of Israel is a demigod to him. I can break Shabbos, stop keeping kosher, steal lie cheat and spread gossip and I wouldn’t be a disgrace to the shul as long as I say the prayer. But if I dare not pray for the State in public, I have disgraced God himself, ah…then I am a disgrace, because I have voted against the budget. I am an insult to the Father and His Son, The State of Israel.

The Jewish People do not need a State. The State is not holy. It is nothing more than a gang of thieves that conspire to rob you and hire intellectuals to convince you that your slavery is necessary. To see why no State is needed, read my Zero State Solution.

Hold On to Your Hats People – Feiglin’s New Party is Going GLOBAL!

I just got a call from a friend of mine on the inside, one of the Manhigut Yehudit inner circle. And one of the very very few who really understands the movement and understands Feiglin.

He pitched an idea to me that I personally believe is so awesome that it will totally revolutionize Israeli politics and likely bring back all the soured Manhigut people who have no idea what the next step is and are angry and feel betrayed, some of whom have been commenting here.

This idea has not been officially adopted yet, but I have word that Moshe knows about it and he loves the idea.

Remember how Moshe always said that Jews all over the world should have the right to vote in Israeli elections? Because the State of Israel is the state of the Jews, and not the State of the Israelis? Well, it’s about time he did something to that effect.

In all likelihood, once the idea is officially approved and adopted, Moshe Feiglin’s new party will be open to every single Jew on the planet. Any Jew will be able to sign up and vote in its primaries. Candidates will have to convince all Jews who are members to vote for them. Any Jew anywhere in the world can have a say in its Knesset list.

No longer will ANYONE be able to say the Moshe is a sectoral right winger that leads no one but extremist settlers. Everyone else – Likud, Labor, Bayit Yehudi, Meretz – they are the sectoral parties that only care about their own narrow membership. We are global, the Jewish Party.

מפלגה היהודית. That should be the name. That is my suggestion.

Of course, due to current Israeli law, only Israeli citizens will have a right to vote in the general elections. But as for primaries, the party will be a private voluntary organization, and whatever its own laws say goes.

Obviously, technical and legal questions abound. Who is a Jew is the biggest one. How to solve legal disputes is another. But these will all be resolved one way or another. This post is not about going into the technical details and logistics. Those will come soon enough.

This is the party that will run in the next elections after these. A global, Jewish party, open to every Jew on Earth.

Wow. I am totally psyched. Let’s do it!

FREE MARKET AT WORK Private Police Force Forms in Jerusalem

Ynet is out with an article this morning about how 300 people have volunteered to be a part of a neighborhood watch group in order to spot lone wolf would-be murderers trying to plow into groups of people or hack at them with pickaxes or shoot them.

The most common objection to anarcho-capitalism is that the free market cannot produce a single, unified police force, and competing police forces would be at war with one another. But 300 people mobilizing to protect private property of their own free will is the same exact thing as a police force. The only difference is they’re not being paid. Are they going to spontaneously start shooting each other because they are not all the same police company?

Sure, sounds totally plausible, in an insane asylum.

But why shouldn’t they be paid? Why can’t a group of private businesses in Jerusalem pool their resources together to hire a few hundred people – maybe even poor homeless people who could use some money, train them in the basics of shooting a gun, and have them patrol the streets?

Why is this such a crazy idea? It’s perfectly sound and doable, much cheaper than supporting a police force, and puts money in the pockets of the poor.

Jerusalem does not need one single cop. All it needs is a cooperative populace to organize around the price system and hire some people to walk around, armed, and secure the whole city. The best guards will get raises. The worst ones will get fired. Eventually, you’d have a pretty damn good citizen’s police force protecting everyone and earning some income.

No taxes required.

Adventures on the Temple Mount, Elul Edition

We’re circling. Even HaShtiya, the Foundation Stone, the Holy of Holies, the Kodesh HaKodashim is just a few feet in front of us. Huge heavy double doors are the only things standing in our way to the very center of the Jewish People’s soul. The doors must be extremely heavy, but a child could push them open on their hinges.

As we circumambulate the Dome of the Rock, we keep our faces towards it. It’s a building that only once you get close enough, you notice that it is completely covered not in Muslim crescents, but in Stars of David. All over the walls in blueish patterns, hexagons surrounded by triangles on every side, so many of them you don’t even know what to think.

Notice the Stars of David on the Sides
Notice the Stars of David on the Sides

 

But we’re not going in today. Something is keeping us out.

When I first started going to Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) with Moshe Feiglin about two years ago, nobody thought of approaching the Dome of the Rock itself. We would do a lap around the Herodian extensions of the Temple Mount, stare in silent prayer at the building in the center, and then we’d leave.

Two years ago, few people knew about Feiglin or what he stood for. He was just some “right wing guy” from Likud that fought with Netanyahu in a comic perennial quest to unseat him as Likud Chair and in some wacky world, become Prime Minister. It was a fun political game that people could enjoy watching on TV every election cycle, but the Jewish People were not yet acquainted with him otherwise. And nobody went up to the Dome of the Rock back then. We all stayed back.

Then Moshe made it to Knesset, that dirty, disgusting place filled with all the scuzzy politicians that eat our money and run our lives, tell us how much and how little we are allowed to work for, in what industries, for how many hours, and how much we have to pay them for the privilege of barely earning a living that they so gracefully bestow on us.

But the Knesset, as gross as it may be, is the only place you can talk to the Nation as a whole and reach its soul.

Soon after he was elected, we went up to Har HaBayit again, but this time Feiglin, alone, approached the Dome itself. We did not follow him. He approached it under the Halachic purview of Din Kibbush, that one may enter even the Kodesh HaKodashim itself for the purpose of conquering it from a hostile enemy.

But conquering from whom?

He tried to enter the building itself that day, but he was stopped. Not by Arabs, but by the Jewish State, represented by the Jewish police force. The ones with the real weapons.

After trying to get past the police once, Feiglin was not allowed on Har Habayit for six months, until by some miracle he was able to cut a deal with the police, and we all started going up again with him. This time, however, the routine was changed. We would all go up and approach the Holy of Holies, the outside of Dome of the Rock, and so we did, m’Din Kibbush, conquering it…from something.

Month by month it began feeling like a real war, complete with an advance and retreat. Yes, the Arabs would scream every time, but the screams reached a peak and then died out as the months went by. They know they have no power to stop us. Only the Jewish police do. The ones with the guns, stopping us from going in.

We would advance up to the Dome, conquer the area we tread on, and then retreat when we could go no further according to the Officers of the Jewish State, the police.

Conquer it from whom? The Arabs? Not a chance. They are not stopping us. The proof is that during the discussion on Har Habayit in the Knessetthe ones threatening World War III if the Jews declared sovereignty were not the Arab Knesset members. They didn’t even show up to debate. Only the Jews threatened war. The Arabs MK’s said nothing.

We’re conquering Har HaBayit from ourselves, in a war with ourselves. It’s the Jews that are preventing us from going in, and it is the Jews threatening war if we do. In order to go in, we have to conquer the Jews, not the Arabs. The Arabs are just noise.

I began to notice a pattern. The Kodesh HaKodashim is the soul of the Jewish Nation. It always has been. And the closer Feiglin gets to the minds of the people, the more they understand what he stands for, the closer he gets to the Holy of Holies, physically.

Yesterday there were some Arabs screaming, but it was sheepish and pathetic. It was led by a shrieking woman covered in black. Shrill and angry, more pestering than threatening. The Arab men were mostly silent, just glaring. Yes, we are conquering Har HaBayit mi’Din Kibbush, but not from a few shrieking women. They’re not stopping us. We are conquering it away from Jewish self-denial. It’s the Jews that are stopping us from entering the building, not a few shrill Muslim women, hiding behind their burqas in shame, too scared to even show us their faces.

In order to conquer Har HaBayit physically, Feiglin has to conquer the minds of the Jewish people first. The closer he gets to that objective, the closer he gets to the Kodesh HaKodashim physically. And that is happening, and it’s happening fast now.

Here is a Facebook post being passed around, written by a secular leftist named Omry on September 15, 2014. I have kept the curse words intact for the sake of authenticity. They are not mine:

OK, I give up.

We now have a situation where the only human being saying anything logical in the Knesset is Feiglin. Fucking Moshe Feiglin. Do you understand what depths of insanity, immorality and stupidity Israeli politics has fallen?

Understand that this is no longer merely the level of “Oof, I can’t believe I’m giving him a like,” but that I’m actually considering voting for him. Me. A leftist. A Meretz Member. A former Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) activist.

I am considering voting for Feiglin.

What have we come to?

But the doors to the Foundation Stone are still closed. A few more advances are still required. Feiglin will only be allowed in M’Din Kibush, halachically and in reality, after he conquers the soul of the Jewish People and they are ready to elect him. Only then will he be allowed to enter. The screaming Arabs are just noise. A distraction. Shrieking women. Nothing more than that.

The ones stopping him from going in are the police. The Jews. They still own the soul of the people and they are keeping us out. But not much longer. We’re getting closer, both to the minds and to the place itself, circling it, advancing and retreating, like an ideological battering ram, powered with a full tank that does not get consumed.

Once we reach critical mass, once those Facebook posts like the one above start coming out of the woodwork, the police will not stop Feiglin. Once he steps through those huge doors, the Muslim women can scream as much as they want, it won’t matter. The war over the soul of the Jewish nation will be won.

But for now, we’re circling the Holy of Holies, Mi’Din Kibush, conquering it. Slowly at first. Faster now.

 

 

Adventures with Yishmael on Har Habayit – Riot on the Temple Mount

Well that was interesting. I’m the guy in the blue jeans and brown shirt who kind of looks like me.

I woke up this morning at 4:45 to go to the Mikveh and then to Har Habayit with Moshe Feiglin. He stayed in Jerusalem apparently so I drove there myself for the first time though I’ve gone with Moshe several times before, and parked on Derech Hevron because looking for a parking spot in or around the Old City scares me. When I got there at 7:30 it took about half an hour for the police to let us in. Then we had the “No praying no bowing no kneeling no singing, no religious activity” thing and the customary full body search for any religious articles including a complete emptying of the contents of my wallet just like my two year old Daffy does when I leave it within her reach. In case there is religious contraband tucked away in one of the pockets or folds of my wallet.

We get up there, me in my Vibram 5-fingers, others in flip-flops, Feiglin in socks because he intends to go right up to Kipat HaSelah, Dome of the Rock so he can’t have any shoes on at all. I was intending to go one step closer than I usually go, but I’m not ready to go up to the Dome yet, and Moshe asked us politely not to anyway, and to leave the דין כיבוש stuff to him, no problem with that.

We get to the gate and immediately we hear in the background some Alla-hu Akbars. They are faint and I don’t mind them. I know they mean to insult me and intimidate me, but I can’t but wholeheartedly agree with them. God is great. Thank you Arabs for noticing, and for timing your chants with the entrance of God’s representatives here, us. So I can’t but feel flattered.

As we continue on, the chants get louder and more Arabs begin to congregate around us, fine, no problem. Nobody has violated the non aggression principle yet. Everyone has a right to chant God is Great at me as much as they want. I keep smiling and walking slowly. Heavily armed police surround us.

Non Jewish tourists, mostly Jesus-worshipers, stare at us and wonder why we are the focus of all the Akbars. Two old ladies from the Jesus group join us, apparently from Australia. They want to be part of the excitement, apparently.

And then the trigger. The Waqf guy sent each time to oversee that we don’t do anything religious is standing in front of us. Then Moshe goes up to one of the police guys and tells him that it was agreed with the higherups in the police department that at least for part of the time, the Waqf guy would not be our escort. So, to the police guy’s credit, he starts to escort the Waqf guy away from us. A scuffle ensues, and the Waqf guy is removed.

And then the chants get really loud and the number of screaming Arabs multiplies to hundreds, possibly over a 1000, but I’d have to see an aerial picture.

The news says that “a couple of young Arabs began screaming” but that is quite far from what was happening. Arabs of all ages began converging on us, men, women, a few kids, young and old alike, כל העם מקצה as they say in Sodom. מנער ועד זקן טף ונשים.

They start getting closer, and I start feeling a bit smushed. My heart rate only now begins to jump up a bit. Just a bit. Police are on all sides of us pushing away Arabs jumping in our direction.

The old Jesus ladies try to calm us down and say, “Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank you Lord!” One Lord for every two Jesuses. The Jesus-thanking is not helping me slow my heart rate, and I really feel caught between Esav and Yishmael now, though Yishmael wants to kill me and Esav just wants me to thank Jesus. I just want to daven, but the Jewish policemen for sure are not going to be happy about that, and they’re busy at the moment pushing away rioters so I’d rather not give them a hard time.

The police turn us around about 1/5th into our circuit. We’re headed back. Michael Puah has the camera, telling everyone to calmly smile, and Moshe is in the middle walking calmly as he always does. As we head back, I see one rock the size of a grapefruit fly above me and land about 10 feet behind me. So I stop looking at Feiglin in favor of keeping my eyes out for any rocks headed toward my skull.

I didn’t see any others.

One of the Jesus ladies asks me what group this is. I say it’s Feiglin’s group. She says who? I say Moshe Feiglin. Sudden recognition and excitement on her face. “Oh, Moshe Feiglin?! Where is he? Can I shake his hand?!”

“Sure,” I say. “He’s over there, in the suit.” She rushes up to him and shakes his hand.

“We’re with you,” she says to Moshe, “the nations are with you. We’re from Australia. Thank you Jesus!” Moshe shakes her hand and smiles back at her.

We get off Har Habayit. Then a Mahane Yehuda-looking Jew sees Feiglin and immediately insists on a picture with him.

“אני לא תומך בך” he says. “I am not one of your supporters,” “אבל אתה בוודאי תהיה ראש הממשלה הבא”. “But you will definitely be the next prime minister.”

He takes a picture, still holding his cigarette, with Moshe. We disperse.

The police now have two choices for next month. Ban Moshe Feiglin from Har Habayit, or ban Arabs from Har Habayit while Moshe is there. Let’s see what they do.

The worst part about the whole experience was not the Arab rioters. Rioting is what they’re good at and it doesn’t disappoint me. It was not the rocks, as I can easily dodge them. And it was not the fact that the rioters were not expelled from Har Habayit instead of us, who were being peaceful. I expect nothing from the police, and the fact that they prevented Arabs from physically attacking us (rocks aside) is more than I expected. Good for them.

No, the worst part was as I was driving away I hear on the news that “Knesset Member and Vice Knesset Chairman Moshe Feiglin was removed from Har Habayit today along with a group of right wing activists after rioters began shouting at them and throwing rocks.”

They had the chutzpa to call ME a “RIGHT WING ACTIVIST?!”

GROSS!

Check in next month for more “Adventures with Yishmael on Har Habayit!”

A Libertarian Reading of Joseph

A friend and I have been back-and-forthing on various biblical themes with a libertarian lens. One of the characters we keep coming back to is Joseph. In a mainstream read, he’s a hero, a character that changes for the good, does teshuva, saves his family, rises to glory. A complete success story. He is referred to by Chazal as Yosef Hatzadik, Joseph the Righteous. But I have since been rereading the Joseph story in a libertarian light and have come to more complicated conclusions. Not that they necessarily contradict the read that Joseph was basically a good guy who succeeded in life, but a perspective that has liberty at the forefront tells me that Joseph was a much more limited and narrow person than people generally think.

In broad strokes, Yosef is the master socialist, statist, economic central planner. These are all bad words in libertarian-speak, but it is not that simple. The first thing we know about Yosef is that he has dreams of power and he seeks to control, without necessarily being in control of himself first. This initially got him into trouble when he was sold by his brothers to Egypt. There he is humbled and gains some self control, working hard to make his way to the top wherever he is, and not being sidetracked by feeling sorry for himself and depressed all day, as I’m sure many of us would feel if we were one day sold by our own family into slavery in a foreign country.

At some point, his own self control is tested, and he passes the test so well that it sets him back. He refuses to sleep with his boss’s wife, who then ironically accuses him of attempting to rape her, and he is then sent to prison.

But even then, he refuses to wallow in self-pity and does his best, rising to the top of the prison and eventually getting out by interpreting a few dreams.

Then he finally has his opportunity. He impresses Pharaoh with his interpretation of the cows swallowing cows and corn swallowing corn. And here’s where we come to a serious libertarian rereading. According to mainstream thought, Yosef saved the entire region from starvation by executing an ingenious plan of storing food. Without Yosef, the thinking goes, the entire middle east and western Africa would have been dead from hunger.

But is that really true? My contention is no. Yosef didn’t save anybody. All he did was some central economic planning through which he was able to give Pharaoh near absolute power in Egypt. The Otto Von Bismarck of his time, so to speak.

Had not Yosef interpreted Pharaoh’s dream correctly, what would have happened? There would have still been plenty of surplus food produced during the seven years of plenty. Instead of it all being monopolized in Pharaoh’s royal granaries through either coerced sales or probably outright theft, the supply would have remained decentralized.

My evidence that it was outright theft of the surplus comes from the word שילש used to describe how Egypt was divided when Pharaoh put Yosef in charge to begin collecting the surplus food. שילש is a very belligerent term, which also describes the head of an Egyptian war chariot, as in ושלישים על כלו. It is a term also used in the קדושה, as in יחד כולם קדושה לך ישלשו, describing how the angels praise God in heaven. The phrase the angels use is the famous triple קדוש, as in קדוש קדוש קדוש ה׳ צבאות, or Holy Holy Holy is the Lord of Hosts, in other words the commander of an army, with the angels being God’s army. So it is probably that Yosef sent soldiers in to simply confiscate the surplus.

There was little resistance because there was so much surplus that nobody wanted to put up a fight about it. But the key is that had Yosef not appointed thugs to confiscate the surplus, it would not have simply been wasted. All major cities had stockpiles of grain in case of a siege, and it’s not like famines were uncommon things those days. The food would have been stored, but instead of monopolized by Pharaoh with Yosef as his agent allowing him to charge an arm and a leg for it later, the price would have been competitive as many sellers would have competed for buyers during the famine years, lowering the price to something more reasonable than everything you own plus a 20% income tax for eternity, which is what Yosef ended up instituting.

So all Yosef did was give Pharaoh the window of opportunity for the greatest power grab in history up to that time. And Pharaoh took it. 3 years into the famine, Pharaoh owned all the silver in the entire economy. 4 years in, he owned all the cattle. 5 years in he literally owned the entire country. ותהי הארץ לפרעה. And it was Yosef that instituted the income tax on the Egyptian people.

That’s the bad part. The good part is that Yosef the Socialist Economic Central Planner did get his family a privileged spot through all the turmoil. There was no income tax on Bnei Yisrael. How do we know this? Because the income tax only applied to people who were forced to sell their land. The Torah clearly says that the Egyptian priests did not pay the 20% tax because they didn’t to sell their land because they got free food from the Egyptian Crown as part of the deal of being priests of Amun, or Aten, or On or whatever Egyptian god they were priests of. You know who else got free food during the famine? We did. From Yosef. So we never got taxed. And that’s why the Egyptians got really pissed off and turned on us later, enslaving us. Because our Statist brother Yosef enslaved them first with taxation.

This helped me answer a burning question I’ve always had about one little thing Yosef did in the aftermath of revealing himself to his brothers. At one point before he reveals himself, he gives Benjamin, his only full brother, 5x more food than everyone else. This is easily explainable as a test to see if it stokes their jealousy. But what always bothered me was that even after Yosef reveals himself to his brothers, he still gives Binyamin 5x more changes of clothes than everyone else for the way back!

Why? Because deep down, despite all the improvements in his persona which are undeniable, Yosef is still the same power-hungry crony capitalist who, just like government and big business, picks his favorite and showers him with gifts. He can’t help himself from using his power. It’s beyond his personality to be able to control it once he has it.

This, I believe, is why Mashiach ben Yosef has to die (non violently!), why Yosef cannot lead in the end, why the 10 tribes led by Efraim ben Yosef had to split off from Yehuda, which only happened when Yehuda, in the form of King Rechavam, took power to his head and became too much like Yosef, attempting to raise taxes too high and become a powerful nationalist state. And finally, why the true Mashiach has to come from Yehuda, the one who finally breaks Yosef down to crying when he offers himself in Binyamin’s place. In the end, Yehuda is the one who really knows how to treat Binyamin – as an equal, not as a favorite. Yosef treats him as a favorite and he cannot change his constant power-playing, the same mistake that led to his sale and enslavement in the first place.

Yosef is the force of Jewish nationalism. It is the force that drives classical Zionism, and it is a good catalyst for getting the nation together. It gave rise to the State of Israel which, as bad as it is, does keep the nation together. Yosef-minded Zionist people got together and put together a benign dictatorship, a Jewish State to run every aspect of Jews’ lives here, to tax them way above and beyond Joseph’s 20% rate, to indoctrinate their children in state schools and kidnap them into their army, expel them from their homes when they feel like it and all the other horrible stuff we all know about.

It is also useful to note that, just as Yosef is not a bad guy, but actually a good guy with a serious limitation, so too the current Israeli leadership, despite being evil at times, is also essentially good, but only within its own failed context and limited scope. It cannot complete the task, but it cannot be blamed either. It simply does not have the ability to even see what the task is.

Mashiach Ben Yosef has already come. He is just a catalyst for the next phase, which is liberty. It is time for Mashiach Ben Yosef to dissolve (through nonviolent means of course), and to make way for Yehuda, who, just like he did when he offered to take Binyamin’s place, will have to bring classical Zionism to its knees in some sort of catharsis.

The next step is for Yosefian Zionist nationalism to dissolve, making way for true liberty, חירות, at the hands of Yehuda. We’re getting closer. Stay tuned. 

Knesset to Debate Jewish Sovereignty on Temple Mount, The Inside Story

Back to blogging. Things are heating up. You may have heard that the Knesset will be debating the issue of Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount this Tuesday. I’ll be going. I don’t really like the term “Jewish Sovereignty” because it’s an Orwellian term. It really means that the agents of the State of Israel will control what goes on at the Temple Mount, instead of what the situation is now, which is that the Jordanian state decides it.

If we are to stick to strict libertarian theory as to what should be done with Mount Moriah, the answer is give it to the nearest Kohen Meyuchas, or ancestor of a Kohen that can actually trace his lineage to someone who served in the temple 1944 years ago before it was destroyed. They are the last ones to have owned the place rightfully, so gather them all together (and there are a few of them around) and give private ownership of Har Habayit to them by shares of stock in it and let them decide what to do with it. The Arabs can take what’s on the surface and get off, or stay on, if that’s what the majority of Kohanim Meyuchasim decide.

But I digress. This won’t happen. So the next best thing is to give it to some State of Israel official who is something of a next of kin, since we’re at least related to the Kohanim. And this just came one step closer to happening 2 weeks ago. It was quite poetic actually.

How it happened

The status of Har Habayit has never come up in the Knesset. Ever. This is the first time since the destruction of the Temple that a Jewish authority will even discuss it. So how did it happen?

The Knesset has its own weird parliamentary rules. Moshe Feiglin brought up the motion to discuss the status of Har Habayit with the goal of having the Knesset pass a resolution to allow Jews to enter the compound from all gates and to pray there. The status quo currently is that Jews can only come through one gate, between 7am and 10pm only on certain days in very small groups, must be surrounded by police at all times, cannot carry any “contraband” including religious articles to the site, move their lips in prayer, bow, look at the Waqf the wrong way, or steal the Dome of the Rock.

The weird parliamentary rules are these: Once Feiglin brought up the motion, the Speaker can either deny a vote, at which point the motion goes to committee, or call a vote. If the vote passes, the discussion will happen. If the vote fails, the discussion will not happen. (A “discussion” is basically when Knesset Members are invited to the podium to bloviate. The only one who ever actually says anything of substance is Moshe.) So basically the speaker can either deny a vote and let the fate of the motion be decided in committee, or he can roll the dice with an immediate vote which will decide the fate of the motion immediately.

The Speaker at the time was the loveable Ahmed Tibi, the loud-mouthed Arab gynecologist and envy of all sewer rats. In the plenum at the time were Tibi, Feiglin, Amir “Unionize this Mustache” Peretz and Yisrael Eichler the Haredi guy. Tibi figured the numbers were on his side. He’d vote against a discussion of Jewish Sovereignty on Holy Al Aqsa, Peretz would too because he’s a lefty, Eichler would too because he’s Haredi and thinks Jews going up to Har Habayit is like Nadav and Avihu offering up Esh Zarah and holy fire will descend from heaven, so he thought it’d be 3 to 1 against and the whole issue would die right there.

But Tibi tracht und God blacht. Tibi called the vote. Tibi votes no. Feiglin votes yes. So far it’s tied.

It goes to Mustache Peretz…and he isn’t even paying attention. No vote.

So it all comes down to Eichler. He looks at Moshe and Tibi, and decides, to hell with holy fire, let the Jews discuss it, and he’d rather be on Moshe’s side on this one than Tibi. He votes yes.

And suddenly, for the first time in one thousand nine hundred and forty-four years, the Jews will discuss their own sovereignty on Har Habayit this Tuesday.

If we take a step back, this is a structurally flawless mircocosm of what’s going on now in Jewish history. The Jewish ideologue proposes a vote to bring geulah one step closer. The Arab, thinking he will win, puts all his cards on the table and forces the other two Jews – the secular socialist and the haredi socialist, to make a decision. The secular socialist is asleep at the wheel. And the haredi tips the scales.

And God takes a small bow, making sure only the astute even notice the divine choreography at play here.

Let’s see what happens on Tuesday.

 

My Libertarian Manifesto of Torah and Faith

This is a response to Rabbi Zev Farber’s Manifesto of Torah and Faith as well as a response to Rabbi Gordimer’s and Rabbi Yitzchak Blau’s responses to it here and here. (Technically Rabbi Gordimer’s article was a response to a proto-manifesto of Zev’s, but…you know…whatever.)

Though Rabbi Zev Farber’s parents and my parents happen to be the same exact people, I still have absolutely no standing in the Modern Orthodox or Open Orthodox halachic commentary world whatsoever. I nevertheless thought perhaps this would get passed around on a sort of pseudo-nepotismic/curiosity basis anyway. I’m like Open Orthodoxy’s father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate, but what the hey, let’s get our Schwartz twisted and see what happens. The beauty of commenting from the outside is that I have no one to answer to, no skin in the game, so I can say whatever I want however I want. And that I will do.

By my dress and general behavior that people can see on the outside, most would consider me Modern Orthodox, or Open Orthodox, or at the very least “generally Halachically observant.” That’s the lifestyle I live together with my family. But that’s all window dressing. Halachic practice is important to me in a way, but only cosmetically so. At my core I am a libertarian. That is what is really important to me in a crucial, moral sense. By that I mean, I abide as much as I can by the non-aggression principle (NAP), and preach that others do the same. Indeed I preach that being a libertarian is what God actually, really wants from every human being on Earth, first and foremost Jewish human beings as His chosen exemplary people (I assume we are, reasons below).

Abiding by the NAP means I do not initiate violence. I don’t murder, I don’t rape, I don’t hit people outside the context of self-defense, and I don’t steal. All that is well and good. But here’s the tricky part:

I’m dead serious. By “steal” I mean taking money from other people without their explicit voluntary consent. This includes straight up everyday theft and burglary, but also includes anything that is not a mutually agreed upon exchange. That means government money, all defined by me as “stolen property”, as it is taken from people under threat of imprisonment by the government, which is not voluntary. If taxes were not backed up with the threat of violence, the vast, vast majority of people would not voluntarily pay them. Therefore, as a libertarian, I reject as many government benefits as reasonably possible. For example, I accept no child stipends from Bituach Leumi (National Insurance in Israel, everyone with kids gets them) and never took an unemployment check. Exceptions are that I drive on government monopolized roads, I drink government monopolized water and I use the government monopolized Karnei Shomron sanitation system, none of which I can avoid without hermetizing myself, which I am unwilling to do.

Full disclosure, other libertarians like Dr. Walter Block (a Jew) argue that accepting government money is legitimate, but I differ, and believe one should strive, within reason, to reject as many benefits as possible on the grounds that accepting government money legitimizes the existence of governments in the eyes of the masses, and libertarians should live by example, just like Jews should.

Like other libertarians I have a theory of property rights that says whoever homesteads a piece of land – plants things on it or builds on it first – owns it. Ownership can then be passed voluntarily as a gift or by mutual exchange. Further, “democracy” is illegitimate. In a country of 3 people, A B and C, A and B cannot legitimately “vote” to “tax” C’s property and split the proceeds just as A and B cannot vote to murder C either.

Now, what does this have to do with Judaism and Torah and Rabbi Zev Farber’s Manifesto of Torah and Faith?

Zev had a lot of pop culture quotations in his Manifesto (and most of them were good except the one from Abraham Lincoln) so I’ll do the same. I’m reminded of a scene from South Park. A bunch of people die and are met by the gatekeeper of hell. One of the dead people is disturbed at the fact that he is at the entrance to hell. He, after all, is a protestant. So he asks the gatekeeper which religion was the correct one. “The correct religion was Mormon.”

Assuming everyone understands the absurdity of the above scene, I’m betting most understand the absurdity of the following scene as well:

A Jew dies and meets God at the gates of the World to Come. “Did you believe that the Exodus, Yetzias Mitzrayim, really happened historically and that the Torah was written word for word by Moshe?” asks God.

“Well, not really,” says the Jew. “I mean, there wasn’t any physical evidence of an exodus from Egypt and the Torah really looked to me like it was written by a few authors. At least that’s what I thought when I was alive. But I did abide by the NAP as fully as I could and I preached liberty wherever possible on the grounds that every man is created in Your image and deserves to be able to make his own voluntary choices,” responds the Jew at Heaven’s Gate to God Himself.

“Well, the NAP is great,” replies God, “But the lack of evidence of the Exodus and seeming multiple sources in the Torah were just tests to see how well those who didn’t believe in its historicity and My man Moshe’s authorship can lie to themselves to convince themselves otherwise. Sorry! Hell it is!”

My point is, I don’t care what anyone believes regarding the authorship and historical veracity of the Torah, and in my opinion, neither does God. It doesn’t matter. Those who think it does matter nowadays are narrow-minded dogmatists with almost no awareness of what’s actually important in the world. They are spinning their wheels and wasting their time and ours impressing us about how much they can quote Chazal and Rishonim. Whipping a dead horse, barking up the wrong tree and other annoying metaphors.

Two questions: 1) What about all of Chazal and Rishonim and the rest who said it really DOES matter? Were they narrow-minded dogmatists with no awareness of what’s important either? Short answer, NO. 2) Zev addressed this next question, but I want to readdress it in the light of what I’ll say below: Should we just scrap the whole Jewish Nation as a myth founded on a lie and blend in to the rest of humanity, calling all of Jewish history quits? Short answer, NO.

Before I get into the long answers, I remember several years ago, maybe around my high school graduation in 2002 or thereabouts, my family was having Shabbos dinner and Zev was there at the table. At the time he was a “Drisha Girl” learning with Rabbi Silber. (That’s his joke, not mine. He was learning with Rabbi Silber in some kind of fellowship or other in the Drisha building before he enrolled in YCT.) We were discussing the historicity of Tanach, the Flood and whatnot, as we often do given our father is a Conservative Rabbi and modern biblical scholarship was often a point of discussion. Zev had said something that night that I used as my principle for the next decade or so of my own life. He said (again I don’t have this exact) that when one reads the Torah and has to decide what is historical and what is not, it is important to get into the mind of the author, so to speak.

Meaning, when you read the Genesis creation stories, you have to decide, is the author (or God forbid authors) trying to tell me how many days it took to create the world, or is he trying to teach me a lesson about the relationship of God and man through the stories? Well, given that first the author says it took 6 days, and then he (or a different one) says it took 1 day, he or they are probably not trying to tell me how many days it took to create the world. This is not historical. So I don’t have to freak out when I see dinosaur bones or lose sleep over evolution.

When reading the story of the Flood, is the author trying to tell me that a flood happened and it lasted so many days and this is the sequence of it? Or is he actually just trying to rewrite a popular ancient Middle Eastern myth the desert-wandering Exodus Israelites or their cultural descendants were familiar with but wanted to put in a monotheistic context? It could go either way, perhaps both, but I decided it wouldn’t upset me if the Flood and accompanying Noah’s Ark story never actually happened. I could still take the Torah seriously.

Same thing with the Tower of Babel. The author is not giving me a language history lesson as I doubt that is important to my religious education. The story seems more to do with the importance of human diversity in the Divine plan for the world. It gets a little tougher with the historicity of the Abraham and Isaac, and it gets really hard with Jacob and the 12 tribes, but I decided I still wouldn’t have a crisis if not every detail of those stories actually happened.

But, Zev said, and I remember this, and I guess he changed his mind in the last 12 years unless I’m mistaken, which is fine either way (really), that when you get to the Exodus from Egypt, it is impossible to take the author of the Torah and therefore the Torah itself seriously unless you assume the author is trying to tell you something that actually, historically, happened. In other words, if the historicity of the Exodus goes, then so does the rest of it because then it all just seems silly. If this didn’t happen, then what is the author smoking? Does he think I’m stupid? It all becomes a big joke.

I mention this not to call Zev out, but to point out that for many, the historicity of the Exodus from Egypt as written is crucial to their Halachic practice and Jewish identity. Going through the Pesach Seder seems especially dumb if it’s all a fairytale. Further, I believe that anyone who says that, on an individual basis, he no longer follows Halacha because he no longer believes in the historicity of the Exodus, is doing something completely understandable and legitimate.

Now the long answers to the two questions. First, the Chazal/Rishonim/et. al issue. Is the Rambam, for example, just a simple minded dogmatist because he wrote that anyone who doesn’t believe in total Mosaic authorship of the Torah is a heretic?

The answer is, there is a big difference between exilic Judaism and national Judaism. In order to survive thousands of years of exile culturally intact, you’ve got to hunker down in order to keep the nation together without its land, especially when your numbers are small and you could come under attack by some crazy murderous government at any moment without warning. If the Rambam or a Tana or Amora or Gaon or any other Rishon (all generational terms for Rabbis) or any other famous “dogmatist” wrote more or less what Zev wrote 800 or 1000 years ago and it came into prominence and was accepted, there probably would not be a Jewish People today, at least not in my opinion. If Rabbi Zev Farber’s Manifesto of Torah and Faith came out in, say, 1242, it probably would have been justifiably burned, not for being wrong (that is not to say that it’s right), but for being dangerous to Jewish national survival. We’ll get to why Jewish national survival is important in a minute.

Most people are Amei Ha’Aretz, laymen, then and now. Tell them the story is not historical in 1242 and most would ask why in the WORLD am I risking my life being Jewish? Yeah, today nobody with any serious governmental coercive power is actively trying to kill us so we have the luxury of going to Shul or lighting candles or having a Seder or whatever whether or not we believe the book is real or a fairytale. But back then, you need the people in line if you’re going to preserve the Nation for eventual restoration in its land.

Am I saying the Rambam didn’t really believe what he wrote about Mosaic authorship and heresy? No, I am not saying that. The truth is I don’t know what he personally believed. If I had Maimonides in a room alone with me and asked him to respond to Rabbi Zev Farber’s Manifesto of Torah and Faith and promised him complete confidentiality, I honestly don’t know what he would tell me. Does anyone else? What I am saying is I don’t care what he or any other Rabbi actually believed. It’s not important. Not anymore.

It was important when we were trying to survive without a land to keep the Jewish People culturally intact, but now it’s not.

So that leads me to the second question, why was it ever important? Who cares if Jews exist or not? Why not just scrap the whole thing and just become pig-eating shaatnez-wearing Shabbos-breaking libertarians, turn the Temple Mount into the Israel branch of the Ludwig von Mises (a jew) Institute, dedicate the Cave of the Patriarchs to Murray Rothbard (a Jew), build a Museum dedicated to F.A. Hayek (a Jew) next to Yad Vashem and call it a day?

My answer is, the Tochacha. That chapter at the end of Leviticus, repeated in Deuteronomy, maybe even (!) by two different authors. Those verses that predict with sickening cruelty what we would go through in agonizing detail. It even understated it, terribly so. The agony, the genocide, the promise that we’d never be wiped out completely, and finally, the redemption.

Whether or not you believe in the historicity of the Exodus or whether Moses wrote the Torah or even existed, the Tochacha is really, really old, written at the latest before the vast vast majority of all the worst stuff on planet Earth happened to us. You can ask Zev. He’ll tell you it’s really old. And it came true. And whoever it was wrote it down and we still have it. And now we’re back in Israel, again, just as written, and the Jews today are historically and culturally continuous and contiguous with the Jews of whenever the academics and the frummies agree you can start the historico-cultural timeline.

There is no way that there could be any cultural survival if a conscious God wasn’t watching us to preserve us for some huge, important, cosmic purpose. There is no historico-cultural parallel to the Jews’ collective national survival. It is impossible without a Divine historical Director, regardless of who wrote the thing. Somebody wrote it and it’s accurate.

From the Tochacha I go back to the Flood story. It begins as a continuation of the creation story and the Garden of Eden. Man starts multiplying like crazy, and all the sudden man starts violating what? The non-aggression principle of course.  The NAP. The Torah complains about “Hamas” which means chaotic violence, destruction, theft all around, people taking whichever girl they find at will which I assume means rape. Total force, aggression, the NAP is in shambles. God says, “I can’t take this anymore.”

Why did God destroy the world according to the story? Because the NAP, libertarianism, completely died. Only one man was decent enough to save. Noah was libertarian all right. He was a non-interventionist. But he wasn’t a preacher. He didn’t really care about other people as long as he was left alone. He kept to himself. He was also a drunk, which doesn’t violate the NAP, but it’s not so flattering. You can’t start a nation with that kind of man as an example. Whoever wrote it down was trying to say that the planet will survive (barely) as long as someone follows the NAP, but it won’t progress if society as a whole doesn’t.

10 generations later, according to the narrative whose historicity does not concern me in the least, God decides on a different strategy in order to get the world moving again. He’d pick one man who was libertarian, someone who believed EVERYONE had the right not be violated or stolen from with no exceptions, but who also preached it and whose life was exemplary. That man was Abraham, Zev’s father. God promised Abraham that his children would remain intact, and He’d even give them a slice of land with which to practice libertarianism as a nation and serve as an example to the rest of mankind, as a light unto the nations. In order to stay intact, they’d need commands to separate them from the rest of humanity. Dietary restrictions, peculiar clothing, Shabbat, a Holy Temple, etc., which would all remind them that man has One Creator and rights come from Him and not from man, not from government, not from the majority, not from whatever money our “representatives” can squeeze out of other people by force.

Now guess what my fellow Yidden. I have news for you all. The exile is over. We can all come out of our dogmatic caves and wake up and smell what’s going on in the real world. We can all stop worrying about who believes what and activating the different strands of the Jewish Thought Police. It’s time to get serious and stop worrying about how many Jewish skeletons you can find in the Sinai Desert from 3,000 years ago.

It’s time to worry about how men in Israel, some of them Rabbis, with the power of force and violence, extract money with the threat of violence out of other Jews for their own purposes whatever they are which causes Jewish groups in Israel to mercilessly hate one another. Learning at Yeshiva with tax money, learning at a University with tax money, forced curriculums, police that can break down your door and tazer you in front of your children without you being charged for a single crime, a raise for Knesset Members, a raise for government monopolized port workers who are legally protected from competition, billions of shekels to kick Jews out of their homes by force in 2005 in Gaza, how one group of Jews has been trying for 20 years to use government force to kick hundreds of thousands more Jews out of their homes through the “Oslo Peace Process”. Because of this mutual force and theft, everyone hates everyone else. We all talk about stopping the Sinas Chinam, the causeless hatred between us but nobody seems willing to stop the massive mutual theft and aggression of everyone against everyone that is causing it.

It’s time to worry about how the government controls by force and violence every single aspect of our lives here in Israel. There’s a government minister for everything. For what food we can import, for what hospitals we can build, for what we can smoke and can’t smoke, for where we can send our kids to daycare and where we can’t, for what school we have to send our kids to and for how long, for how much or how little we are allowed to work for. There’s even a “Culture and Sports Minister” that tells us God knows what. The government owns 93% of all the land here jacking real estate prices up and complains they’re too high but wants to keep the monopoly. I see how the government-appointed taxpayer-funded Chief Rabbinate does nothing but stir up ever more Sinas Chinam and rage between different Jewish groups. How most secular Jews have nothing but contempt for government Rabbis that they have to pay to do their weddings and divorces by force. How they have a special list of Mamzers that they don’t allow to marry. How they manage to just piss everyone off for every reason because they have their dirty Rabbinic desecration of God’s Name hands in every conceivable thing. Most Jews who hate Judaism hate it because of them. It’s time we realized that and shut them down. Who can convert, who can marry, who can get a kosher certificate, who can build a Shul.

How everyone fights over how much force everyone else has to shoulder and the burden of violence, drafting into the army by force for three years where you can die, how it should be “equalized” and slavery burden “shared” instead of eliminated and freedom reign. How we are actually contemplating dragging people into the army who promise to revolt and we think somehow this is going to be good for us. We are insane. How the government monopolized prison system keeps letting murderers go, breaking the heart of every bereaved family and spitting on the graves all those murdered and cheapening the lives of everyone who risked theirs putting them away. And of course, endangering us all. How the government forbids Jews from praying on their most holy spot, Har Habayit, the Temple Mount, and nobody seems to care. Everyone’s obsessed with who can pray at the stupid government-owned Wall. How the government is now going to take my fingerprints and put them in a biometric database as if I were Jude on a German cattle car being tattooed by the SS. That one particularly sickens me to the core, the Israeli government about to take my fingerprints by force just like the Nazis took my grandparents’ arms as if they own my body, too. The violence is increasing and getting unbearable.

You want to know the real importance of the Exodus story? It’s not its exact historicity. It’s the message of liberty. Slavery is illegitimate. So says God.

Nobody has any right to take anyone’s body or property for any reason without his voluntary consent. Period.

How do we make the world libertarian? It can’t be done by individuals. God tried that and had to destroy the world in a flood because it failed. It has to be done by a whole nation. An entire People who can serve as an example to the world. This is why Jews still exist. To be libertarians. We do it by being Jews. By following the halachic system voluntarily, with punishments only for violations of the NAP as per Rabbi Akivaesque Halachic tradition. Why Halacha? Those who grew up with it as I have and have studied it can recognize the moral genius of most of Chazal and the later generations of Rabbis. I am aware that there are libertarian as well as non-libertarian sources in Halacha. I accept the former and reject the latter. It’s easy when you have a clear moral compass.

Anyone who has trouble meshing Halacha with my brand of anarcho-libertarianism in particular, I refer you to Midrash Rabbah Shoftim on שום תשים עליך מלך. It’s the most anarcho-libertarian Chazal source out there to my knowledge.

I for one plan to do my best to tear down as much government in Israel as I possibly can while I’m on the planet.

As for the historicity of Yetzias Mitzrayim, believe what you want to believe. If you believe in every detail, good for you. If you don’t, what are you supposed to do? Lie to yourself to get into Olam Haba? That sounds like the stupidest of all childish games. People believe what they believe. That’s it. I personally believe something like it happened because to think the whole thing was made up would make Judaism seem silly to me even given the truth of the Tochacha, but I don’t care exactly which details are historically true or not. The story was definitely put together very, very carefully by someone who knew what he was doing. I would be happy if archaeological proof were found, but I’m not too worried about it, because I do know that God is behind Jewish history in some way, or else we wouldn’t exist.

Follow Halacha if you believe in it. Don’t follow it if you don’t. It won’t affect your personal Olam Haba status, if that exists. That I’m sure of. I personally have no preference for what anyone does on a personal level as long as they follow the NAP, though it would be nice if people followed both Halacha and the NAP. It is not, however, my priority to get people to be observant Jews. I just don’t care enough for that to motivate me.

My priority is freeing Jews from theft and enslavement by other Jews. We have to stop worrying about individual Halacha and start thinking about the national sphere, like Jubilee and its built in design to limit government power like the 93% monopoly Israel’s government currently has over the land supply. If we had Jubilee and it were operative, would there be a land monopoly? We should think about how Halacha structures the Jewish judicial system and start acting accordingly. In a halachic system, Judges don’t elect themselves as they do here in this judicial dictatorship of a country. I bet we can get even the most ardent atheist to be interested in Halacha in that sphere.

But we’re all still busy putzing around worrying about who believes what happened 3,000 years ago and who doesn’t while everyone’s stealing from each other and kidnapping each other’s children into forced army service and everyone’s even younger children into government indoctrination schools NOW.

And you know the first question God will ask me when I die? It ain’t got nothin’ to do with who wrote the Torah. The question will be:

נשאת ונתת באמונה?

Were you honest in business? That’s Shabbos 31A for you.

Did you steal from anyone? Did you make your money through voluntary exchange, or by force, burglary, violence, theft, taxes? Did you follow the NAP?

Thank God Zev wrote his Manifesto of Torah and Faith. Gordimer should be applauding him for his intellectual honesty. Instead he’s busy like most other “Rabbis” who have totally lost track of what matters yelling about who’s getting into heaven or not, just like Christians go around accusing each other of “losing salvation” because they don’t believe in Jesus in the exact correct way according to Pope Francisco or some other catechismic irrelevant. How Goyish.

As for Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, I had the pleasure of being his student for a short time and very much enjoyed his response to Zev, which was much more relevant than Gordimer’s  angry self-righteous “you’re not getting into heaven” nanny-nanny-boo-boo-*raspberry* screed. It’s Mormons, Rabbi Gordimer, in case you missed that South Park episode.

The only problem with Rav Blau’s article was the end, where he tries to urge people to reject Zev’s views because they are “outside Orthodoxy.” What the heck is Orthodoxy? Is it a club? Who’s the bouncer? Is he a bald guy with a beard and payis? Does he wear sunglasses? Where are the gatekeepers? How many of them are there? Does anybody care who’s in the club besides them? What if somebody says something that the bouncer doesn’t like but it’s true? Does that matter? Does he still get to dance in the club? Do people who only dance outside the club still go to heaven? Do they serve mojitos? What about Long Island Iced Tea?

Zev wrote something he thinks is true. Get over it. Here’s what I think is true:

This used to matter, but only as a means of national survival. It doesn’t matter anymore, not since our exile ended. If we can get past the “historicity” question, maybe we Jews can start dealing with the Sinas Chinam issue we all think is really important around Tisha B’av every year but then we devolve into this heresy nonsense. We can stop the Sinas Chinam when we stop the theft. When everyone starts respecting everyone else’s boundaries and letting them live who they want to live. So let’s stop it and start freeing the Jews from their slavery to the evil Israeli government. And then, just maybe, free from coercion, Jews will start coming back to Halacha like you all want them to.

The Jewish State is pissed that Jews are building without being robbed by the State

The State Comptroller today came out with a report about how there is such “lawlessness” in Judea and Samaria and so much building is going on without the State’s knowledge and resulting property taxes. So Jews are rightfully homesteading land and making it productive, but since the State doesn’t get its loot, it wants to stop this.

It calls these builders “criminals” because it didn’t get an opportunity to rob them of their money. That’s like a guy breaking into your house calling you a criminal for putting your valuables into a safe so he can’t get them.