Dear readers, as most of you know, “Vienna Mike” does not really exist. Vienna Mike is a character invented by the author of this blog for the purposes of advocating a specific set of positions. Speaking through the mask of Vienna Mike frees the reader from getting caught up in the true identity of the author, the author’s true location, life history and other irrelevant factors. It permits the reader to instead focus on what is important, namely the ideas and ideology being advocated by Vienna Mike. The mask of Vienna Mike also frees the author to undertake future actions which would be impossible were he to express the views of Vienna Mike as his own. In addition, it frees the author in other ways. Vienna Mike is not the author’s true face. Rather, Vienna Mike is, in many ways, the Mask of Command that the author once donned every morning with his officer’s uniform, to take off in relief only before select members of his family and a single closest friend.
As many of you also know, Vienna Mike actually appeared not on this blog but as a frequent and vitriolic talkbacker on Tzvi Fishman’s blog on Arutz Sheva. While most of the exchanges on that blog are not worth repeating or even preserving, there is the occasional time when an exchange occurs that has serious educational value. This particular exchange I believe to have sufficient value to actually preserve on this blog. It addresses much that is wrong with today’s Kahanist movement and, as such, its arguments may be of value to others. Therefore, I will do something that I almost never do and post a talkback exchange from elsewhere on my own blog.
Without further ado:
Something missing here, which might be especially relevant for Mike:
Tzvi, you say that the wise son ‘seeks to learn’ by ‘reading the writings of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook, by studying books like “The Kuzari,” “Am HaBanim Semicha,” the writings of Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, and by listening to Torah lectures on websites like Yeshivat Beit El and Machon Meir’.
Glaringly missing from your list is Orr ha-Ra’ayon (“The Jewish Idea”) by Rabbi Meir Kahane (Hy”d), and the Haggadah of the Jewish Idea with commentary by his son Rabbi Binyamin Ze’ev (Hy”d). Both of these have been translated into English, and are thus accessible to Jews who live in the USA.
(I would also recommend Rabbi Meir Kahane’s commentary on the Tanach, “Peirush ha-Maccabee”, but as this has not been translated it is maybe less relevant to the Jews of Galut.)
Rabbi Meir Kahane (Hy”d), throughout his life and teachings, was vehemently opposed to EVER raising a hand against a fellow-Jew. He would NEVER have countenanced, much less advocated, civil war or armed insurrection in Israel.
He was fully aware of the sins of the State of Israel – indeed, he wrote about them and experienced them more directly than perhaps any other Jew. And still, he was unequivocal in forbidding any of his followers, under any circumstances, from using violence against Jewish agents of the State of Israel.
This is one of the central messages of “Kahanism”, which is one of the aspects that set Rabbi Meir Kahane (Hy”d) apart from evil people such as Rabin (y”sh) and Peres who glorify/glorified in murdering Jews, or misguided Jews who sincerely seek Israel’s benefit such as Avigdor Lieberman who has countenanced violence against fellow-Jews under certain circumstances.
Daniel Pinner, Kfar Tapuach (01/04/09)
For once, I will break character and speak not as “Vienna Mike” but as myself. I have great respect for you, Daniel, but I am afraid you have lost the forest for the trees.
First of all, the Martyr Rebbe did not write “Or HaRayon”. That book was ghostwritten after his martyrdom from notes he left behind. When you read the book and compare it to the Martyr Rebbe’s writings, it is obvious immediately that it represents a collection of thoughts written decades apart and later fitted together and polished by well-intentioned persons who should have known better. That book does not reflect the evolution of the Martyr Rebbe’s ideology nor his final thoughts on the matter of Medinat Israel. The book that DOES reflect these things is the last book the Martyr Rebbe actually wrote — “Revolution or Referendum”. In that book, the Martyr Rebbe explicitly warns that if the Israeli elite continues to oppress and humiliate the Jews, if it continues to close the doors to peaceful solutions, violence will be the inevitable and ultimate answer to oppression. That book became the Martyr Rebbe’s death warrant. The act of publishing it was the most heroic deed of his life. He knew that he would be killed for publishing it, yet he did so anyway. I suggest you read it carefully.
The reason the Martyr Rebbe did not use violence against the Israelis is that, be they erev rav or not, violence against halachically Jewish persons is the LAST resort. While the Martyr Rebbe was still alive, there were yet possibilities for a peaceful solution within the framework of Medinat Israel. With the murder of R. Meir Kahane (z”l), the Israelis closed the door on the possibility of such a solution.
When the Martyr Rebbe’s illustrious son was alive, there was yet a slim chance of peaceful partition between Medinat Israel and Medinat Yehudah. In the last days of his life, R. Binyamin Kahane (z”l) was attempting to lay the groundwork for a peaceful eviction of the IDF from Yosh, leading to Jewish autonomy in Yosh and eventual peaceful secession by the mitnakhalim. With the murder of R. Binyamin Kahane (z”l) the Israelis closed the door on this last peaceful solution.
Today, there are no peaceful solutions. There are only bloody solutions, bloodier solutions and bloodiest solutions. Armed struggle for partition is, in the final analysis, the least bloody of available options.
Do you know why Kahanism never amounted to anything following the murder of R. Binyamin Kahane (z”l)? It is because the leaders of the movement squabbled among themselves over the Rav’s legacy instead of continuing the evolution of his thought to its logical conclusions. For 20 years, Daniel, you have shouted the same slogans. But the world has changed in 20 years. Your slogans no longer correspond to reality, yet you refuse to evolve new ones. This is why Avigdor Lieberman is no longer a Kahanist, and neither is the man who writes these words.
Consider this carefully, Daniel. If one side murders in ever-increasing numbers, directly and by proxy, while the other side waves orange ribbons, the side that murders will eventually exterminate the ribbon-wavers. If the Maccabees had your attitude, there would be no Jews today, because the Hellenists would have won. Isn’t it time you stopped blindly shouting obsolete slogans and tuned on your brain? Yamit was not Amona and Begin was not Olmert and Sadat was not Ismail Haniyyeh. Do you truly believe that the Martyr Rebbe’s position today would be the same as it was 30 years ago?
The man behind the mask, undisclosed location (02/04/09)
Judaism is not, and never has been, about surrendering all morality and intellectual thought to the rabbis (or to a specific rabbi). But having said that, the Talmud admonishes: “Make yourself a rabbi” (Pirkei Avot, 1:6, 1:16). This is not to say that the Jew does not think for himself; it implies relying on the guidance of people who are wiser, more learned, more experienced in life, etc.
Rabbi Meir Kahane (Hy”d) commented on the verse, “You will not stray from what they [the Torah authorities of any given generation] will tell you, left or right” (Deuteronomy 17:11): “…Even if a judge [in a Torah court] erred and gave a mistaken decision, we are obligated to listen to him, NOT BECAUSE THE VERDICT HE GAVE IS CORRECT – because after all the Torah states here explicitly that it is possible that he makes a mistake, but we are nevertheless commanded to obey – not for the sake of the truth of this specific judgement, but in order that there will not be an abundance of arguments among Jews… And without doubt, anyone who knows that the Possek [Halachic decision-maker] has erred, is obligated both to listen to him and also to challenge him ceaselessly afterwards with proofs to the contrary. And similarly, the Possek is obligated to listen to his words and to consider them carefully, and to learn from previous mistakes” (Peirush ha-Maccabee, Deuteronomy p. 68-69, emphasis in the original).
Now, of course anyone can disagree with Rabbi Meir Kahane (Hy”d). He himself was not a Chassidic type, for whom “the Rebbe” (whichever Rebbe nay be) was infallible. But anyone who disregards the most fundamental teachings of Rav Kahane should not claim to speak in his name.
I am intrigued by you claim, “Mike”, that ‘the Martyr Rebbe did not write “Or HaRayon”. That book was ghostwritten after his martyrdom from notes he left behind’. A lot of Or HaRayon is in the Rav’s own handwriting, and a lot of it was already in his computer when he was murdered. There was some minor editing done, and the precise order of the chapters was unclear, but it is most definitely the Rav’s own work.
And his book “Revolution or Referendum” was a desperate attempt at PREVENTING a revolution. The Rav certainly did not advocate a revolution – he was warning against it, almost pleading with his beloved people not to take up arms against one another.
There’s much more to say, but it’s 1:25 in the morning here, I’m after a hard day’s work, and I have to get up in less than 7 hours, so I’m going to leave the rest for a later talk-back.
Once again I will break character and not speak as “Vienna Mike”.
My home is full of my work, Daniel. There are notebooks filled with my handwriting, files on my computer, sheets of printout and random pieces of paper covered with hastily-penciled notes. There are short stories, parables, character sketches, political writings, sketches of military doctrine, technical notes, even a half-finished novel. After I am killed, it is possible for some well-intentioned person, perhaps my dear wife or my child, to take the political items from among these many disparate writings, collect them into a single volume and publish them as my “magnum opus”. Such persons would be able to say that the writings were in my desk, written in my handwriting. They would be able to say that they opened files on my computer and found my writings. They would be able to say that, with a few minor edits, these writings were fitted together into a coherent whole.
But the resultant volume would not be my work. It would be their ghost-written idea of what my work should have been. For the writings they would collect represent not my current thoughts and ideology, but a series of snapshots frozen in time, each a spiritual photograph of the man who wrote them, a man who ceased to exist days or weeks or months or even years later, when new information caused a change in my thinking.
Some of my writings would say that Yigal Amir is a madman who should be executed and that the day Yitzhak Rabin(y”sh) was assassinated should forever be observed as a day of mourning, the day when one Jew turned upon another and brought disaster upon the entire nation. Yet now I believe that Yigal Amir is our greatest living hero. Now I believe that, one day, on the anniversary of his heroic deed, young people will gather in Kirkar Amir and, standing before the memorial plaque decorating the very spot where the blood of the monstrous rodef Rabin(y”sh) was spilled by the selfless hero, will read from Pinchas and Ki Tisa, recount Yigal Amir’s heroic deed and swear with resounding voices to go through the camp of Bnei Israel with eternal vigilance and slay without mercy any who advocate peace with Islam, even if they be their brother or father or sister or mother. I believe that one day, half-Hallel will be said on the 12th of Chesvan to commemorate Yigal Amir’s deed and that the Jewish State will institute an Itur Yigal Amir, the civilian equivalent of the military Itur Giborei Yehudah, to decorate civilians who selflessly risk their lives and freedom on behalf of the Jewish People.
Some of my writings would say that Medinat Israel is the first flower of redemption, the holy Jewish State to which every Jew in the world owes unconditional and unquestioning loyalty. Now I believe that Medinat Israel is to the flower of redemption what manure is to the seed of a tree – a filthy, smelly, unclean fertilizer that must be buried and composted so that the seed planted in it may consume it for nourishment until it is all gone. I believe that, one day, the armed forces of the word’s foremost superpower, Medinat Yehudah, whose borders stretch from the Nile to the Euphrates and from the Gulf of Aden to the Black Sea, will march unopposed into the tiny city-state, Medinat Israel, whose boundary was once set by treaty at the outer limit of 58-th century Tel Aviv, and, to the cheers of the assembled populace, proclaim that the era of Medinat Israel is at an end.
Some of my writings would say that Jews have no right to take up arms against other Jews. Now I believe that a refusal to take up arms against Medinat Israel in a struggle to liberate Medinat Yehudah is tantamount to acquiescence in a Second Holocaust.
The point, Daniel, is that no one has the right to take another man’s unpublished work after his death, compile it into a volume and present this volume as the sum total of that man’s ideology. “Or HaRayon” is not a book written by Rav Meir Kahane(z”l), it is a book ghost-written by others who have usurped his name with the best of intentions, yet are thereby achieving the worst of results.
This brings me to your willful ignorance regarding the current circumstances and your consequent misreading of “Revolution or Referendum”.
It is true that we are required to show great respect for a Beit Din, a Rav, a ruler and a posek. But there are, even as the Martyr Rebbe himself pointed out on many an occasion, distinct limits to such respect. It is true that, for the sake of peace among brothers, we follow even erroneous or questionable decisions of poskim and batei din. But we do so only as long as the issue in question is of relatively small importance and only as long as long as nothing we do thereby goes expressly against the Holy Torah.
We refrain from kitniyot on Pesach and wave chickens over our heads before Yom Kippur. But we do not follow a posek who tells us to sacrifice our children to Molech, or a Beit Din that tells us to commemorate a chag by eating chazor, or a secular ruler who commands us to worship idols. If necessary, we refuse them. If others follow their decisions, we call upon them to turn away from their error. And if they seek to impose their will upon us by force, we take up arms against them and their supporters. The Sages commanded us to light candles for eight days in Kislev so that we never forget that, on extremely rare occasion, there comes a terrible day and a dark time when Jew must take up arms against Jew in defense of Jewish life, the honor of Hashem and the Holy Torah.
We may acquiesce in an Israeli State that chooses to make legal decisions based upon British and Ottoman laws instead of Halacha. We may grit our teeth and tolerate an Israeli State that permits the selling of chametz on Pesach. We may even, for the sake of peace and for the sake of peace alone, stop short of taking up arms against an Israeli State that bars us from Har HaBayit. But when the Israeli State seeks to surrender huge sections of Hashem’s Holy Land to Hamas, when it sends its police and soldiers to beat Jewish children and throw Jewish babies out of windows, when it murders our rabbis and openly plots with the Moslems in order to bring about our extermination, we have no choice but to take up arms in defense of our lives, the honor of Hashem and the Holy Torah.
The Martyr Rebbe does not, in “Revolution or Referendum”, plead with the Jewish People not to take up arms against the Israeli State in a bloody and merciless revolution. Rather, he pleads desperately with the Israeli elite not to repeat the error of Nicholas II, not to drive the Jewish People to the last resort of spilling the blood of other Jews, even heretics, murderers and erev rav. Yet, to paraphrase Trotsky’s remark upon skimming the captured diaries of Nicholas II, those whom Hashem would destroy, He first makes insensible. The entire life and death of the Martyr Rebbe, and especially his last book, fulfill the words of the prophet Yirmiyahu: “You will tell them all these things but they will not listen. You will call to them, but they will not answer you.” Now it is up to us to establish a Jewish State and reset the forty-year clock spoken of by the Martyr Rebbe, lest the rest of Yirmiyahu’s terrible prophecy again come to pass.
We have no choice anymore, Daniel. They murdered Rav Kahane (z”l) and we did nothing. They murdered his son and we did nothing. They destroyed Gush Katif and we did nothing. They beat and sexually assaulted our preteen daughters at Amona and we did nothing. How long will we continue to do nothing? How many children have to die? How many girls have to be raped? What will it take for you to wake up?
You and Tzvi Fishman and David HaIvri and Baruch Marzel and many others make the classic mistake of the tzaddik. You think too highly of our people. Because you yourselves are kind, gentle men full of chesed and yirat Shamayim and ahavat Yisrael, you assume that all Jews, even the worst heretics and sinners, are deep down also kind, gentle men full of chesed and yirat Shamayim and ahavat Yisrael. But it is not true. There is evil in the world, Daniel. There is evil among Bnei Israel as there is evil among all other nations. There are monsters who would murder in cold blood. There are bloody-handed demons who would plot even with the servants of Satan himself to slaughter those whom they perceive as a threat to their usurped power. There are those who would do anything for money and there are those who would do anything for envy and there are those who would do anything out of sheer spite, as little boys who pull wings off flies just to watch the bewildered insects run around in pain and panic, leaping into the air again and again, trying to fly away on wings that are no longer there. There are in this world those, even among Jews, who would make a covenant with Darkness for a fistful of blood-spattered gold, who would murder their own souls to gain a fleeting hold on temporal power.
We live today in a time of prophecy. We stand again at Sinai and at Modiin. The servants of pure Evil are arrayed against us. We are asked again to make a choice. Do we take up the sword against these soulless zombies? Do we confront the erev rav who would send jackbooted thugs to beat and rape Jewish children, desecrate shuls and bulldoze Jewish homes? Do we stop the servants of the Yetzer HaRa’a who would send precursors for rocket fuel and explosives to Hamas, who would feed and clothe and aid Amalek, supplying him even with electricity and free medical care? Do we prevent the destruction of a dream our forefathers lived and died to carry in their hearts through two thousand years of pogroms, ghettos, inquisitions and dhimmitude? Or do we stand idly by and permit a Second Holocaust? Did we mean it when we pumped our fists in the air all those many years ago, shouting “Never Again!”? Or were those just empty words said to make us feel better?
There are those whose eyes have begun to open. There are those who have rejected the Israeli State, hoisted black and orange flags on the Fifth of Iyar and petitioned tearfully for Hashem to save them from the g-dless travesty they once called “the first flower of our redemption”. But it is not enough to turn away from evil. It is not enough to plead for the favor of Hashem. We must also DO GOOD. We must build a Jewish State. We must demand Medinat Yehudah. We must demand it with words and with symbols and, if necessary, with rocks and with bullets and, yea, even with suicide bombings and homemade poison gas. Ein lanu brerah.
Read “Revolution and Referendum” again, Daniel, and think carefully. In this time, every man must choose a side. Soon there will be no neutrals. Whose side are you on?