When I start talking about “critisizing myself,” something I’m proud of being able to do, I’m talking about critisizing the religious Zionist movement because I see myself as an extension of this movement. My actions, the values I hold dear, and my “inner voice” are all extensions of this movement: a movement I swear; no live by.
Since coming to Israel about half a year ago, I’ve come across but a small segment of the spectrum that exists within the religious Zionist movement today. I’ve met Rabbis steeped in Torah knowledge, kind, and devoted to spreading the wisdon of our forefathers as much as any Charedi Rabbi I’ve met thus far. I’ve met kollel students living in Judea who want to make a significant difference in the lives of future generations of religious as well as secular Jews, who risk their lives on a daily basis in order to guarantee the continuation of Jewish settlement in Yesha. I’ve met sincere, modest girls versed in Yiddishkeit who dream of raising a Jewish family in the Land of Israel. And I’ve also met degenerates who practice denegrading the Name of G-d on a daily basis who consider themselves “religious Zionists.”
This is not to say that examples of such people don’t exist within the Charedi community; only they’re not as visible. You won’t, for example, find a guy wearing a black hat, with a beard and the rest of the get-up making out with a woman wearing a long, black dress, and a sheitel at the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem, but you will see a multitude of guys and girls wearing knitted kippot doing all kinds of interesting things just about anywhere you go in Israel. Why this apparent inconsistency? “Inconsistency” because someone dressed as a “religious Jew” belonging to any brand of Judaism should not act in a manner not befitting his/her appearance. There are plenty of reasons for this, and one need not look in the Shulchan Aruch or the Ways of the Righteous to find them.
The religious Zionist movement is a product of the teachings of one of the greatest Chassidic sages of recent memory, Ha’Rav Tzvi Yehuda Hakohen Kook (Z”TL) whose books read like prophecy straight out of NaCH. Based on his teachings, it’s apparent that Rav Kook invisioned a State of Israel in which the religious Zionist movement stood at the forefront of every aspect of State, whether it was sports, medicine, science, music, art, or the army. Rav Kook understood the value Judaism held for future generations of Israelis. He knew that without it, we would be just like any other country in the world, but that with it, we held the keys to the Redemption of mankind.
I personally have a problem that people dressed in the traditional religious Zionist garb do things strictly outlawed by the Torah. This is something I’ve been contemplating for a while. I believe it’s just as important for the religious Zionist establishment to critisize a lack of modesty in our midst as it is for these Rabbis to rale agaisnt Arab terrorism or problems within the Charedi community. Whereas their (the Charedim) problems stem from their desire to curb ludeness, our problems come from a lacking in this department.
Last week’s parsha, Be’halotcha, depicts the Children of Israel’s lusting for meat. They complain to Moshe that they were able to satiate their pallets with all kinds of delicacies while being slaves in Egypt, and that now that Moshe has brought them out of slavery, they have nothing besides ma’an which tastes the same every time. Moshe lashes out agaisnt the Jewish People. Why is it so difficult for Moshe to put up with this and why did he not react in the same fashion when the Children of Israel errected the golden calf?
I think that the answer to this question and the qeustion I’m asking: Why is it so hard for the religious Zionist movement to face the hard facts at bay while we are ready and willing to take the offensive on questions of security are one and the same. We must be more willing to at least open up a dialogue amongst ourselves on the question of modesty. I’m not advocating for involving anyone outside the religious Zionist spectrum in our problems, but we must be able to look at our shortcomings objectively.
It’s my sincere hope and desire that it’s religious Zionism that comes to represent the innermost values of the Torah, religious Judaism and that the State of Israel as a whole buys into these values and continues to set the standards the world lives by and is governed upon.