Mournful Thoughts of Confession הרהורי וידוי נוגים
1 א

Let us pose a simple question: Did we not sin with respect to the first covenant, the Covenant ‎of ‎Shared Fate (as in the Covenant of Encampment-Nation), with regard to our obligation ‎to ‎participate in the pain of the nation and to see and feel its suffering: as it is said, “And ‎He ‎witnessed their burdens” (Exodus 2:11)? Let us be honest. During the terrible Holocaust, ‎when ‎European Jewry was systematically destroyed in gas chambers and crematoria, the ‎American ‎Jewish community did not rise to the occasion, and did not acquit itself as a community ‎with the ‎collective consciousness of shared fate, shared suffering and shared action with which it ‎should ‎have been expected to act. We did not properly sense the suffering of the nation, and we ‎did ‎precious little to save our unfortunate brethren. It is hard to know what we could ‎have ‎accomplished had we been more active. I personally think we could have saved many. No ‎doubt, ‎however, if we had properly felt the pain of our brothers; had we raised our voices and ‎shaken ‎worlds, that Roosevelt issue a sharp warning of protest accompanied by action, we would ‎have ‎been able to significantly slow the process of mass destruction. We witnessed the most ‎horrible ‎tragedy in our history, and we were silent. I shall not now dwell on the particulars. It is ‎an ‎extremely painful chapter. We all sinned by our silence in the face of the murder of millions. Do ‎we ‎not all stand before God’s seat of judgment charged with the grievous sin of “You shall not ‎stand ‎idly by the blood of your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16), especially when the sin applies not only ‎to one ‎individual but to millions? When I say “we” I mean all of us: including myself, the members ‎of ‎rabbinic and lay organizations both Orthodox and secular, and Jewish political organizations of ‎all ‎persuasions. “Your leaders, tribal heads, elders, and policemen, every person in Israel … from ‎the ‎hewers of your wood to the drawers of your water” (Deuteronomy 29:9–10). Do you know ‎why ‎we were so indifferent? I think it is because our sense of nationhood was damaged. We did ‎not ‎grasp the notion of the experience of Shared Fate and the essence of peoplehood. We ‎were ‎missing the attribute of loving-kindness that Job, at first, also lacked. Job, who suffered, ‎was ‎devoid of a sense of shared experience and therefore did not know how to pray for his ‎brothers. ‎His concern was only for his own and his family’s wellbeing. We were also devoid of the ‎sense of ‎‎[the Covenant of] Encampment-Nation and therefore did not offer heart-felt prayers, nor ‎did we ‎take any bold measures to save our brothers.‎

2 ב

In the crisis that the Land of Israel is [at present] passing through, Providence is again testing us. ‎It ‎is fitting that we openly state that this matter does not just involve Israel’s political future. The ‎evil ‎intentions of the Arabs are not only directed against our national independence but against ‎the ‎continued existence of the Jewish presence in Israel. They aspire to exterminate (God forbid) ‎the ‎‎Yishuv — men, women, children, infants, sheep, and cattle (cf: I Samuel 15:3). At a ‎meeting ‎of Mizrachi (the Religious Zionists of America), I repeated, in the name of my father (of ‎blessed ‎memory), that the notion of “the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation ‎to ‎generation” (Exodus 17:16) is not confined to a certain race, but includes a necessary attack ‎against ‎any nation or group infused with mad hatred that directs its enmity against the community ‎of ‎Israel. When a nation emblazon son its standard, “Come, let us cut them off from being a nation ‎so ‎that the name of Israel shall no longer be remembered” (Psalms 83:5), it becomes Amalek.23 In ‎the ‎‎1930’s and 1940’s the Nazis, with Hitler at their helm, filled this role. In this most recent period ‎they ‎were the Amalekites, the representatives of insane hate. Today, the throngs of Nasser and ‎the ‎Mufti have taken their place. If we are again silent, I do not know how we will be judged ‎before ‎God. Do not rely on the justice of the “liberal world.” Those pious liberals were alive fifteen ‎years ‎ago and witnessed the destruction of millions of people with equanimity and did not lift a ‎finger. ‎They are liable to observe, God forbid, the repetition of the bloodbath and not lose a ‎night’s ‎sleep.‎

3 ג

Come, let us pray “for our friends” (Job 42:10). Let us feel for the suffering of the Yishuv. We ‎must ‎understand that the fate of the Jews in the Land of Israel is our fate too. The Arabs have ‎declared ‎war not only on the State of Israel, but on the entire Jewish people. They are now the ‎leaders and ‎financial supporters of international antisemitism. Let us overcome the foolish fears of ‎dual-loyalty ‎that our enemies have instilled in us. To begin with, it is always impossible to satisfy ‎antisemites, ‎and they will find fault in whatever we do. Second, the matter relates not only to the ‎continued ‎existence of a state, but to the physical salvation of masses of Jews. Is it not our sacred ‎obligation ‎to come to their aid? Is it forbidden for us to seek the security of the Yishuv? We ‎are being ‎put to the test of Job. We have been given the opportunity to pray, by virtue of deeds ‎and self-‎sacrifice, for “our friends” (Job 42:10) — and our friend is the Jewish community in the ‎Land of ‎Israel. We must do but one thing: open the door to the beckoning Beloved, and ‎immediately all ‎dangers will disappear.‎