Let your Ears Hear the Words of your Mouth
June 28, 2005
The latest crisis facing Israel’s foreign office is with the Russians. A Russian prosecutor began an investigation to determine if the “Shulchan Aruch,” the 16th century codification of Jewish Law, is racist. A complaint, issued by “Russian nationalists,” claims that the holy book promotes hatred and bigotry. The chairman of the Congress of Jewish Religious Organizations, Rabbi Zinovy Kogan, was called in for questioning to determine why he had translations of the Hebrew compendium printed in Russian.
The Shulchan Aruch was authored by one of Israel’s greatest sages, Rabbi Yosef Karo, who lived in Safed following his Aliyah from Turkey in the middle 1500s. Actually an abbreviated version of his master work, the “Beit Yosef,” a commentary of an earlier legal text, the “Tur,” this work is still considered by orthodox Jews to be the cornerstone of legal Judaism which determines virtually all aspects of a person’s life, from morning to night, from birth until death. Of course, the Shulchan Aruch deals not only with individuals, but also with the public domain.
Reactions to the Russian investigation were razor-sharp. Knesset speaker Rueven Rivlin said: “We are aware of official condemnations in Russia (including by both houses of parliament) against this sharply anti-Semitic invective, but condemnations – thus it seems once again – are not enough.
I am convinced that all MKs join me in my hope that these reports are fundamentally mistaken and that no official source in the democratic Russia of 2005 is involved in a new blood libel against the Jewish People.”
Another senior Israeli politician, Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, also had what to say. Presently in Russia, Olmert, speaking on Israel radio this morning said, “We’re not tolerating and we’re not going to tolerate this,” he told Israel Radio. “Our relations with Russia are very important to us, the economic relations, the political relations. But there are things which are beyond any such considerations and calculations. On these things we won’t compromise, and we’ll say them in the clearest and most direct way.”
Olmert’s remarks deserve special attention, in light of his position concerning the planned “expulsion/abandonment” of Gush Katif. Olmert is one of the leading figures supporting Sharon, and there are those who have suggested that Olmert was one of the initiators of the plan.
One must ask: has Olmert ever studied, or even seen or read any parts of the Shulchan Aruch, a book for which he is willing to sacrifice political and economic relations with a foreign nation, such as Russia? For instance, is he aware of Rabbi Yosef Karo’s legal rulings concerning Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel?
1. Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 329:6) states:
When there is a [Jewish] city close to the border, then, even if [enemies mount an attack, although they] come only for the purpose of [taking] straw and stubble, we should [take up arms] and desecrate the Sabbath because of them. For [if we do not prevent their coming] they may conquer the city, and from there the [rest of the] land will be easy for them to conquer.
In other words, it is permitted to desecrate the holiest of Jewish days, the Sabbath, in order to prevent foreigners from stealing straw and stubble from a border city. This, due to the fact that such a theft will ease their attempts to conquer that city and other parts of Eretz Yisrael.
2. Shulchan Aruch Orech Chaim 75:4) states:
If there is a disagreement between a husband and wife concerning living in Eretz Yisrael: if the husband refuses to live in Israel, he must grant his wife a divorce and pay his wife her ketubah (obligatory marriage contract specifying a husband’s financial obligations to his wife, including divorce settlement). If the wife refuses to settle in the Land of Israel, she must accept a divorce and forfeits her ketubah settlement.
In other words, Eretz Yisrael is so important, that is takes precedence over ‘shalom bayit,’ i.e., peaceful relationships between husband and wife, and justifies divorce and financial repercussions.
3. Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 151:8,10):
Prohibits selling a non-Jew land, or anything attached to the land, in Eretz Yisrael, and restricts even the rental of real estate and certain property in that land to non-Jews; The Beit Yosef, commenting on the aforementioned Tur (Ibid. s.v. Asur), specifically includes Arabs (Yishmaelim).
1. It is permissible to desecrate Shabbat in order to prevent foreigners from stealing straw in Eretz Yisrael.
2. A husband or wife who refuses their spouse’s demand to move to and live in Eretz Yisrael, bring upon themselves divorce and financial consequences.
3. It is prohibited from selling or renting property in Eretz Yisrael to non-Jews and specifically Arabs.
This being the case, it can easily be concluded that the Shulchan Aruch would forbid eviction of Jews from their homes in Eretz Yisrael and abandonment of any part of Eretz Yisrael to our enemies (Arabs – Yishmaelim).
In other words, Deputy Prime Minister Olmert is going out of his way to defend a legal work which lambastes his own political policy – the abandonment of Gush Katif and communities in the northern Shomron, and eviction of 10,000 Jews from their homes.
Now, let’s again study Olmert’s reaction to the Russian investigation:
“But there are things which are beyond any such considerations and calculations. On these things we won’t compromise, and we’ll say them in the clearest and most direct way.”
Again: On these things we won’t compromise!!!!
Ehud – listen to what you’re saying – let your ears hear the words of your mouth!
Our feelings exactly – WE WILL NOT COMPROMISE ERETZ YISRAEL!