Jewish Homeland or Homeland for the Jews?

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It seems to me that if you ask Jewish Israelis how, on one leg, they understand the basic message of Torah, the overwhelming majority would answer: That God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people. (This would surely not be the Haredi response, of course, though I think it would be the Hiloni view, even if they think the Torah is irrelevant.) This is a reading of Torah under the influence of what Chaim Gans calls “propriety Zionism,”* which Gans believes represents the Israeli-in-the-steet.

That Torah might stand for a different proposition — that it could stand for concern for the most vulnerable, or religious tolerance, or freedom of conscience — seems almost completely foreign to Israeli discourse. It’s for this reason, for example, that at the weekly protests one barely sees any signs quoting any Jewish text. “We are faithful to the Declaration of Independence” is a common slogan — since in the popular understanding it is that document, and not Torah, that guarantees liberal civil rights. Torah doesn’t have an ethical character of any relevance to the protests.

This may be obvious, but in the American Jewish setting — even among most traditional Jews — I think the assumptions are quite different. Even as conservatives rail against “tikkun olam Judaism” and complain that liberal Jews read Torah as no more or less than the platform of the Democratic Party, they generally assume that Torah is a source of ethical values and has a liberal character that is relevant to a just political order. So it’s really striking to me how illiberal the prevailing understanding of Torah is in Israel, and how little liberals look to it as a source of authority.

The way I'm seeing it now is that the way we read Scripture is largely shaped by the larger ideological context in which we find ourselves. Americans are broadly liberal in their ideological commitments; and so Torah becomes in that context a liberal document. Israelis are largely "proprietary Zionists." And so Torah becomes read in that light here.

I don't want to be fatalistic about that. I would hope that Torah itself could exert some pressure on the larger ideological commitments of the society. But I don't know how that counter-ideological reading of Torah emerges in the first place, and what factors will account for its gaining ground.

I think it is undeniable that Torah's "core message" is that the Jews are entrusted with upholding a high ethical standard; for as long as we do, we are permitted to live in the land; when we do not, we are expelled from the land. The land is therefore not ours, not even conditionally. It is God's, to dispose of how He sees fit. And yet, it is exceedingly rare for me to meet *anyone* in Israel who shares that basic understanding of Torah. Religious Zionists seem to simply ignore the conditionality of our tenancy.

Joe Schwartz - Facebook post - July 7th 2023

Shoshana Cohen

As I’ve probably shared I’ve ask this question point blank (what is the most important verse or concept in the Torah) to groups of young Israelis and groups of young Americans. The Israelis almost always answer ‘am segulah’ or the like and the Americans almost always answer ‘tikkun olam’ or the like.

Tomer Fink

Even more so. To most secular israelis "Judaism" is only the orthodox way of life. I have many friends who thinks that, for example, reforms aren't jews. They could be eating shrimps while saying that. If you ask them to draw "a Jew" they will draw an East European Orthodox Jew.

If I didn't have such a profound connection to the American Jewish world, I would probably think the same. Only in my 20s I was exposed to just how versatile the Jewish world actually is.

For Israelis, everything about our Jewish culture is as narrow as a beam of laser. God gave us the Torah which gave us the land of Israel (have you noticed how Pesach is the main holiday of the year here?). And Jews wear long black robes and funny black hats. Even in the summer.

*see: WINTER / 2016, Justifying Israel: An interview with Chaim Gans, by Chaim Gans

(א) כׇּל־הַמִּצְוָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָנֹכִ֧י מְצַוְּךָ֛ הַיּ֖וֹם תִּשְׁמְר֣וּן לַעֲשׂ֑וֹת לְמַ֨עַן תִּֽחְי֜וּן וּרְבִיתֶ֗ם וּבָאתֶם֙ וִֽירִשְׁתֶּ֣ם אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּ֥ע ה' לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶֽם׃
(1) You shall faithfully observe all the Instruction that I enjoin upon you today, that you may thrive and increase and be able to possess the land that ה' promised on oath to your fathers.
(ו) וְשָׁ֣מַרְתָּ֔ אֶת־מִצְוֺ֖ת ה' אֱלֹקֶ֑יךָ לָלֶ֥כֶת בִּדְרָכָ֖יו וּלְיִרְאָ֥ה אֹתֽוֹ׃ (ז) כִּ֚י ה' אֱלֹקֶ֔יךָ מְבִֽיאֲךָ֖ אֶל־אֶ֣רֶץ טוֹבָ֑ה אֶ֚רֶץ נַ֣חֲלֵי מָ֔יִם עֲיָנֹת֙ וּתְהֹמֹ֔ת יֹצְאִ֥ים בַּבִּקְעָ֖ה וּבָהָֽר׃ (ח) אֶ֤רֶץ חִטָּה֙ וּשְׂעֹרָ֔ה וְגֶ֥פֶן וּתְאֵנָ֖ה וְרִמּ֑וֹן אֶֽרֶץ־זֵ֥ית שֶׁ֖מֶן וּדְבָֽשׁ׃ (ט) אֶ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֨ר לֹ֤א בְמִסְכֵּנֻת֙ תֹּֽאכַל־בָּ֣הּ לֶ֔חֶם לֹֽא־תֶחְסַ֥ר כֹּ֖ל בָּ֑הּ אֶ֚רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֲבָנֶ֣יהָ בַרְזֶ֔ל וּמֵהֲרָרֶ֖יהָ תַּחְצֹ֥ב נְחֹֽשֶׁת׃ (י) וְאָכַלְתָּ֖ וְשָׂבָ֑עְתָּ וּבֵֽרַכְתָּ֙ אֶת־ה' אֱלֹקֶ֔יךָ עַל־הָאָ֥רֶץ הַטֹּבָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָֽתַן־לָֽךְ׃ (יא) הִשָּׁ֣מֶר לְךָ֔ פֶּן־תִּשְׁכַּ֖ח אֶת־ה' אֱלֹקֶ֑יךָ לְבִלְתִּ֨י שְׁמֹ֤ר מִצְוֺתָיו֙ וּמִשְׁפָּטָ֣יו וְחֻקֹּתָ֔יו אֲשֶׁ֛ר אָנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּֽוֹם׃
(6) Therefore keep the commandments of your God ה': walk in God’s ways and show reverence. (7) For your God ה' is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams and springs and fountains issuing from plain and hill; (8) a land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey; (9) a land where you may eat food without stint, where you will lack nothing; a land whose rocks are iron and from whose hills you can mine copper. (10) When you have eaten your fill, give thanks to your God ה' for the good land given to you. (11) Take care lest you forget your God ה' and fail to keep the divine commandments, rules, and laws which I enjoin upon you today.
(יד) וְרָ֖ם לְבָבֶ֑ךָ וְשָֽׁכַחְתָּ֙ אֶת־ה' אֱלֹקֶ֔יךָ הַמּוֹצִיאֲךָ֛ מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם מִבֵּ֥ית עֲבָדִֽים׃
(14) beware lest*lest Heb. pen; moved down from v. 12 for clarity. your heart grow haughty and you forget your God ה' —who freed you from the land of Egypt, the house of bondage;
(טז) הַמַּֽאֲכִ֨לְךָ֥ מָן֙ בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹא־יָדְע֖וּן אֲבֹתֶ֑יךָ לְמַ֣עַן עַנֹּֽתְךָ֗ וּלְמַ֙עַן֙ נַסֹּתֶ֔ךָ לְהֵיטִֽבְךָ֖ בְּאַחֲרִיתֶֽךָ׃ (יז) וְאָמַרְתָּ֖ בִּלְבָבֶ֑ךָ כֹּחִי֙ וְעֹ֣צֶם יָדִ֔י עָ֥שָׂה לִ֖י אֶת־הַחַ֥יִל הַזֶּֽה׃ (יח) וְזָֽכַרְתָּ֙ אֶת־ה' אֱלֹקֶ֔יךָ כִּ֣י ה֗וּא הַנֹּתֵ֥ן לְךָ֛ כֹּ֖חַ לַעֲשׂ֣וֹת חָ֑יִל לְמַ֨עַן הָקִ֧ים אֶת־בְּרִית֛וֹ אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּ֥ע לַאֲבֹתֶ֖יךָ כַּיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃ {פ}
(יט) וְהָיָ֗ה אִם־שָׁכֹ֤חַ תִּשְׁכַּח֙ אֶת־ה' אֱלֹקֶ֔יךָ וְהָֽלַכְתָּ֗ אַחֲרֵי֙ אֱלֹקִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֔ים וַעֲבַדְתָּ֖ם וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִ֣יתָ לָהֶ֑ם הַעִדֹ֤תִי בָכֶם֙ הַיּ֔וֹם כִּ֥י אָבֹ֖ד תֹּאבֵדֽוּן׃ (כ) כַּגּוֹיִ֗ם אֲשֶׁ֤ר ה' מַאֲבִ֣יד מִפְּנֵיכֶ֔ם כֵּ֖ן תֹּאבֵד֑וּן עֵ֚קֶב לֹ֣א תִשְׁמְע֔וּן בְּק֖וֹל ה' אֱלֹקֵיכֶֽם׃ {פ}
(16) who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had never known, in order to test you by hardships only to benefit you in the end— (17) and you say to yourselves, “My own power and the might of my own hand have won this wealth for me.” (18) Remember that it is your God ה' who gives you the power to get wealth, in fulfillment of the covenant made on oath with your fathers, as is still the case. (19) If you do forget your God ה' and follow other gods to serve them or bow down to them, I warn you this day that you shall certainly perish; (20) like the nations that ה' will cause to perish before you, so shall you perish—because you did not heed your God ה'.
(א) שְׁמַ֣ע יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אַתָּ֨ה עֹבֵ֤ר הַיּוֹם֙ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֔ן לָבֹא֙ לָרֶ֣שֶׁת גּוֹיִ֔ם גְּדֹלִ֥ים וַעֲצֻמִ֖ים מִמֶּ֑ךָּ עָרִ֛ים גְּדֹלֹ֥ת וּבְצֻרֹ֖ת בַּשָּׁמָֽיִם׃ (ב) עַֽם־גָּד֥וֹל וָרָ֖ם בְּנֵ֣י עֲנָקִ֑ים אֲשֶׁ֨ר אַתָּ֤ה יָדַ֙עְתָּ֙ וְאַתָּ֣ה שָׁמַ֔עְתָּ מִ֣י יִתְיַצֵּ֔ב לִפְנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י עֲנָֽק׃ (ג) וְיָדַעְתָּ֣ הַיּ֗וֹם כִּי֩ ה' אֱלֹקֶ֜יךָ הֽוּא־הָעֹבֵ֤ר לְפָנֶ֙יךָ֙ אֵ֣שׁ אֹֽכְלָ֔ה ה֧וּא יַשְׁמִידֵ֛ם וְה֥וּא יַכְנִיעֵ֖ם לְפָנֶ֑יךָ וְהֽוֹרַשְׁתָּ֤ם וְהַֽאֲבַדְתָּם֙ מַהֵ֔ר כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר דִּבֶּ֥ר ה' לָֽךְ׃ (ד) אַל־תֹּאמַ֣ר בִּלְבָבְךָ֗ בַּהֲדֹ֣ף ה' אֱלֹקֶ֨יךָ אֹתָ֥ם ׀ מִלְּפָנֶ֘יךָ֮ לֵאמֹר֒ בְּצִדְקָתִי֙ הֱבִיאַ֣נִי ה' לָרֶ֖שֶׁת אֶת־הָאָ֣רֶץ הַזֹּ֑את וּבְרִשְׁעַת֙ הַגּוֹיִ֣ם הָאֵ֔לֶּה ה' מוֹרִישָׁ֥ם מִפָּנֶֽיךָ׃ (ה) לֹ֣א בְצִדְקָתְךָ֗ וּבְיֹ֙שֶׁר֙ לְבָ֣בְךָ֔ אַתָּ֥ה בָ֖א לָרֶ֣שֶׁת אֶת־אַרְצָ֑ם כִּ֞י בְּרִשְׁעַ֣ת ׀ הַגּוֹיִ֣ם הָאֵ֗לֶּה ה' אֱלֹקֶ֙יךָ֙ מוֹרִישָׁ֣ם מִפָּנֶ֔יךָ וּלְמַ֜עַן הָקִ֣ים אֶת־הַדָּבָ֗ר אֲשֶׁ֨ר נִשְׁבַּ֤ע ה' לַאֲבֹתֶ֔יךָ לְאַבְרָהָ֥ם לְיִצְחָ֖ק וּֽלְיַעֲקֹֽב׃ (ו) וְיָדַעְתָּ֗ כִּ֠י לֹ֤א בְצִדְקָֽתְךָ֙ ה' אֱ֠לֹקֶ֠יךָ נֹתֵ֨ן לְךָ֜ אֶת־הָאָ֧רֶץ הַטּוֹבָ֛ה הַזֹּ֖את לְרִשְׁתָּ֑הּ כִּ֥י עַם־קְשֵׁה־עֹ֖רֶף אָֽתָּה׃ (ז) זְכֹר֙ אַל־תִּשְׁכַּ֔ח אֵ֧ת אֲשֶׁר־הִקְצַ֛פְתָּ אֶת־ה' אֱלֹקֶ֖יךָ בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר לְמִן־הַיּ֞וֹם אֲשֶׁר־יָצָ֣אתָ ׀ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֗יִם עַד־בֹּֽאֲכֶם֙ עַד־הַמָּק֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה מַמְרִ֥ים הֱיִיתֶ֖ם עִם־ה'׃
(1) Hear, O Israel! You are about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and more populous than you: great cities with walls sky-high; (2) a people great and tall, the Anakites, of whom you have knowledge; for you have heard it said, “Who can stand up to the children of Anak?” (3) Know then this day that none other than your God ה' is crossing at your head, a devouring fire; it is [God] who will wipe them out—subduing them before you, that you may quickly dispossess and destroy them, as ה' promised you. (4) And when your God ה' has thrust them from your path, say not to yourselves, “יהוה has enabled us to possess this land because of our virtues”; it is rather because of the wickedness of those nations that ה' is dispossessing them before you. (5) It is not because of your virtues and your rectitude that you will be able to possess their country; but it is because of their wickedness that your God ה' is dispossessing those nations before you, and in order to fulfill the oath that ה' made to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (6) Know, then, that it is not for any virtue of yours that your God ה' is giving you this good land to possess; for you are a stiffnecked people. (7) Remember, never forget, how you provoked your God ה' to anger in the wilderness: from the day that you left the land of Egypt until you reached this place, you have continued defiant toward ה'.
(כד) מַמְרִ֥ים הֱיִיתֶ֖ם עִם־ה' מִיּ֖וֹם דַּעְתִּ֥י אֶתְכֶֽם׃
(24) As long as I have known you, you have been defiant toward ה'.

(י) וְהָיָ֞ה כִּ֥י יְבִיאֲךָ֣ ׀ ה' אֱלֹקֶ֗יךָ אֶל־הָאָ֜רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֨ר נִשְׁבַּ֧ע לַאֲבֹתֶ֛יךָ לְאַבְרָהָ֛ם לְיִצְחָ֥ק וּֽלְיַעֲקֹ֖ב לָ֣תֶת לָ֑ךְ עָרִ֛ים גְּדֹלֹ֥ת וְטֹבֹ֖ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹא־בָנִֽיתָ׃ (יא) וּבָ֨תִּ֜ים מְלֵאִ֣ים כׇּל־טוּב֮ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹא־מִלֵּ֒אתָ֒ וּבֹרֹ֤ת חֲצוּבִים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹא־חָצַ֔בְתָּ כְּרָמִ֥ים וְזֵיתִ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹא־נָטָ֑עְתָּ וְאָכַלְתָּ֖ וְשָׂבָֽעְתָּ׃

(10) When your God ה' brings you into the land that was sworn to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to be assigned to you—great and flourishing cities that you did not build, (11) houses full of all good things that you did not fill, hewn cisterns that you did not hew, vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant—and you eat your fill,

(יב) וְעַתָּה֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל מָ֚ה ה' אֱלֹקֶ֔יךָ שֹׁאֵ֖ל מֵעִמָּ֑ךְ כִּ֣י אִם־לְ֠יִרְאָ֠ה אֶת־ה' אֱלֹקֶ֜יךָ לָלֶ֤כֶת בְּכׇל־דְּרָכָיו֙ וּלְאַהֲבָ֣ה אֹת֔וֹ וְלַֽעֲבֹד֙ אֶת־ה' אֱלֹקֶ֔יךָ בְּכׇל־לְבָבְךָ֖ וּבְכׇל־נַפְשֶֽׁךָ׃ (יג) לִשְׁמֹ֞ר אֶת־מִצְוֺ֤ת ה' וְאֶת־חֻקֹּתָ֔יו אֲשֶׁ֛ר אָנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּ֑וֹם לְט֖וֹב לָֽךְ׃ (יד) הֵ֚ן לַה' אֱלֹקֶ֔יךָ הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וּשְׁמֵ֣י הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם הָאָ֖רֶץ וְכׇל־אֲשֶׁר־בָּֽהּ׃ (טו) רַ֧ק בַּאֲבֹתֶ֛יךָ חָשַׁ֥ק ה' לְאַהֲבָ֣ה אוֹתָ֑ם וַיִּבְחַ֞ר בְּזַרְעָ֣ם אַחֲרֵיהֶ֗ם בָּכֶ֛ם מִכׇּל־הָעַמִּ֖ים כַּיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃ (טז) וּמַלְתֶּ֕ם אֵ֖ת עׇרְלַ֣ת לְבַבְכֶ֑ם וְעׇ֨רְפְּכֶ֔ם לֹ֥א תַקְשׁ֖וּ עֽוֹד׃ (יז) כִּ֚י ה' אֱלֹֽקֵיכֶ֔ם ה֚וּא אֱלֹקֵ֣י הָֽאֱלֹקִ֔ים וַאדושם הָאֲדֹנִ֑ים הָאֵ֨ל הַגָּדֹ֤ל הַגִּבֹּר֙ וְהַנּוֹרָ֔א אֲשֶׁר֙ לֹא־יִשָּׂ֣א פָנִ֔ים וְלֹ֥א יִקַּ֖ח שֹֽׁחַד׃ (יח) עֹשֶׂ֛ה מִשְׁפַּ֥ט יָת֖וֹם וְאַלְמָנָ֑ה וְאֹהֵ֣ב גֵּ֔ר לָ֥תֶת ל֖וֹ לֶ֥חֶם וְשִׂמְלָֽה׃ (יט) וַאֲהַבְתֶּ֖ם אֶת־הַגֵּ֑ר כִּֽי־גֵרִ֥ים הֱיִיתֶ֖ם בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃ (כ) אֶת־ה' אֱלֹקֶ֛יךָ תִּירָ֖א אֹת֣וֹ תַעֲבֹ֑ד וּב֣וֹ תִדְבָּ֔ק וּבִשְׁמ֖וֹ תִּשָּׁבֵֽעַ׃

(12) And now, O Israel, what does your God ה' demand of you? Only this: to revere your God ה', to walk only in divine paths, to love and to serve your God ה' with all your heart and soul, (13) keeping יהוה’s commandments and laws, which I enjoin upon you today, for your good. (14) Mark, the heavens to their uttermost reaches*to their uttermost reaches Lit. “and the heaven of heavens.” belong to your God ה', the earth and all that is on it! (15) Yet it was to your ancestors that ה' was drawn out of love for them, so that you, their lineal descendants, were chosen from among all peoples—as is now the case. (16) Cut away, therefore, the thickening about your hearts and stiffen your necks no more. (17) For your God ה' is God supreme and Lord supreme,*God supreme and Lord supreme Lit. “the god of gods and the lord of lords.” Heb. ’adon (“lord”) normally denotes a man in a position of authority. Here it is used to claim that Israel’s God is beyond the men who sit atop the social hierarchies of rank and gender. the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who shows no favor and takes no bribe, (18) but upholds the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and befriends the stranger, providing food and clothing.— (19) You too must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. (20) You must revere ה': only your God shall you worship, to [God] shall you hold fast, and by God’s name shall you swear.

אמר ר' יצחק לא היה צריך לכתוב את התורה אלא מהחדש הזה לכם, ולמה כתב מבראשית, להודיע כח גבורתו, שנאמר כח מעשיו הגיד לעמו לתת להם נחלת גוים (תהלים קיא ו).
R. Isaac said: It was only necessary to write the Torah from < the words > (in Exod. 12:2): THIS MONTH SHALL BE FOR YOU. Why did he write from < the words > (in Gen. 1:1): IN THE BEGINNING? To make known his mighty power. Thus it is stated (in Ps. 111:6): HE HAS DECLARED TO HIS PEOPLE THE POWER OF HIS WORKS IN GIVING THEM THE HERITAGE OF THE GENTILES.

בראשית. אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק לֹֹֹֹֹא הָיָה צָרִיךְ לְהַתְחִיל אֶת הַתּוֹרָה אֶלָּא מֵהַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם, שֶׁהִיא מִצְוָה רִאשׁוֹנָה שֶׁנִּצְטַוּוּ בָּהּ יִשׂרָאֵל, וּמַה טַּעַם פָּתַח בִּבְרֵאשִׁית? מִשׁוּם כֹּחַ מַעֲשָׂיו הִגִּיד לְעַמּוֹ לָתֵת לָהֶם נַחֲלַת גּוֹיִם (תהילים קי"א), שֶׁאִם יֹאמְרוּ אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם לְיִשְׁרָאֵל לִסְטִים אַתֶּם, שֶׁכְּבַשְׁתֶּם אַרְצוֹת שִׁבְעָה גוֹיִם, הֵם אוֹמְרִים לָהֶם כָּל הָאָרֶץ שֶׁל הַקָּבָּ"ה הִיא, הוּא בְרָאָהּ וּנְתָנָהּ לַאֲשֶׁר יָשַׁר בְּעֵינָיו, בִּרְצוֹנוֹ נְתָנָהּ לָהֶם, וּבִרְצוֹנוֹ נְטָלָהּ מֵהֶם וּנְתָנָהּ לָנוּ:

בראשית IN THE BEGINNING — Rabbi Isaac said: The Torah which is the Law book of Israel should have commenced with the verse (Exodus 12:2) “This month shall be unto you the first of the months” which is the first commandment given to Israel. What is the reason, then, that it commences with the account of the Creation? Because of the thought expressed in the text (Psalms 111:6) “He declared to His people the strength of His works (i.e. He gave an account of the work of Creation), in order that He might give them the heritage of the nations.” For should the peoples of the world say to Israel, “You are robbers, because you took by force the lands of the seven nations of Canaan”, Israel may reply to them, “All the earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it and gave it to whom He pleased. When He willed He gave it to them, and when He willed He took it from them and gave it to us” (Yalkut Shimoni on Torah 187).

(ו) כֹּ֣חַ מַ֭עֲשָׂיו הִגִּ֣יד לְעַמּ֑וֹ לָתֵ֥ת לָ֝הֶ֗ם נַחֲלַ֥ת גּוֹיִֽם׃ (ז) מַעֲשֵׂ֣י יָ֭דָיו אֱמֶ֣ת וּמִשְׁפָּ֑ט נֶ֝אֱמָנִ֗ים כׇּל־פִּקּוּדָֽיו׃ (ח) סְמוּכִ֣ים לָעַ֣ד לְעוֹלָ֑ם עֲ֝שׂוּיִ֗ם בֶּאֱמֶ֥ת וְיָשָֽׁר׃ (ט) פְּד֤וּת ׀ שָׁ֘לַ֤ח לְעַמּ֗וֹ צִוָּֽה־לְעוֹלָ֥ם בְּרִית֑וֹ קָד֖וֹשׁ וְנוֹרָ֣א שְׁמֽוֹ׃ (י) רֵ֘אשִׁ֤ית חׇכְמָ֨ה ׀ יִרְאַ֬ת ה' שֵׂ֣כֶל ט֭וֹב לְכׇל־עֹֽשֵׂיהֶ֑ם תְּ֝הִלָּת֗וֹ עֹמֶ֥דֶת לָעַֽד׃ {פ}
(6) He revealed to His people His powerful works,
in giving them the heritage of nations.
(7) His handiwork is truth and justice;
all His precepts are enduring,
(8) well-founded for all eternity,
wrought of truth and equity.
(9) He sent redemption to His people;
He ordained His covenant for all time;
His name is holy and awesome.
(10) The beginningbOr “chief part.” of wisdom is the fear of the LORD;
all who practice it gain sound understanding.
Praise of Him is everlasting.
(א) לְדָוִ֗ד מִ֫זְמ֥וֹר לַֽ֭ה' הָאָ֣רֶץ וּמְלוֹאָ֑הּ תֵּ֝בֵ֗ל וְיֹ֣שְׁבֵי בָֽהּ׃ (ב) כִּי־ה֭וּא עַל־יַמִּ֣ים יְסָדָ֑הּ וְעַל־נְ֝הָר֗וֹת יְכוֹנְנֶֽהָ׃
(1) Of David. A psalm.

The earth is the LORD’s and all that it holds,
the world and its inhabitants.
(2) For He founded it upon the ocean,
set it on the nether-streams.
(כד) בֶּן־אָדָ֗ם יֹ֠שְׁבֵ֠י הֶחֳרָב֨וֹת הָאֵ֜לֶּה עַל־אַדְמַ֤ת יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ אֹמְרִ֣ים לֵאמֹ֔ר אֶחָד֙ הָיָ֣ה אַבְרָהָ֔ם וַיִּירַ֖שׁ אֶת־הָאָ֑רֶץ וַאֲנַ֣חְנוּ רַבִּ֔ים לָ֛נוּ נִתְּנָ֥ה הָאָ֖רֶץ לְמוֹרָשָֽׁה׃ {ס} (כה) לָכֵן֩ אֱמֹ֨ר אֲלֵהֶ֜ם כֹּה־אָמַ֣ר ׀ אדושם ה' עַל־הַדָּ֧ם ׀ תֹּאכֵ֛לוּ וְעֵינֵכֶ֛ם תִּשְׂא֥וּ אֶל־גִּלּוּלֵיכֶ֖ם וְדָ֣ם תִּשְׁפֹּ֑כוּ וְהָאָ֖רֶץ תִּירָֽשׁוּ׃ (כו) עֲמַדְתֶּ֤ם עַֽל־חַרְבְּכֶם֙ עֲשִׂיתֶ֣ן תּוֹעֵבָ֔ה וְאִ֛ישׁ אֶת־אֵ֥שֶׁת רֵעֵ֖הוּ טִמֵּאתֶ֑ם וְהָאָ֖רֶץ תִּירָֽשׁוּ׃ {ס}
(24) O mortal, those who live in these ruins in the land of Israel argue, “Abraham was but one man, yet he was granted possession of the land. We are many; surely, the land has been given as a possession to us.” (25) Therefore say to them: Thus said the Sovereign GOD: You eat with the blood, you raise your eyes to your fetishes, and you shed blood—yet you expect to possess the land! (26) You men have relied on your sword, you have committed abominations, you have defiled one another’s wives—yet you expect to possess the land!

For: “An Israeli is someone who doesn’t believe in God, but believes God gave him this land."


Reviewed Work: Judaism, Human Values and the Jewish State by Yeshayahu Leibowitz

Review by: Daniel Rohrlich

Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought, Vol. 29, No. 2 (Winter 1995), pp. 88-92 (5 pages)

Contribution from Rabbinical Council of America (RCA)