Parshat Pinchas


Quickly: this is another parshah that warns us against democracy. We are shown, here again, how Jewish leadership is supposed to be installed. Hashem said to Moses "Take to yourself Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom there is spirit, and lean your hand upon him." (Num. 27:18) Nowhere Hashem tells us "Elect yourselves a knesset that will sit in the morning and will sit in the evening and will give you the laws of the land". Instead, we are told: "You shall return and listen to the voice of Hashem, and perform all his commandments that I command you today" (Deut. 30:8). "All his commandments", that is including the mitzvot that relate to how to conduct our national affairs in Eretz Israel. The Rambam says in Hilchot Melachim 1:1 "Three mitzvot were commanded to Israel on their entering the Land: to appoint a king, as it says "You must appoint a king" (Deut. 17:15), to annihilate Amalek's descendants.. and to build the Temple.

Are we doing any of these things?

Shabat shalom indeed!


Geula Girl said...


Anonymous said...

Are we doing any of these things?

Thank God, no.

We've had Jewish kings before. It never works out. For every good one, there have been ten bad ones. For every honest one we've had 2- who were dishonest. For every thatwas a montheist, we've had 50 idol worshippers. Monoarchy a sa concept does not work, and it fares no better when the king is a jew. Recall the words of the prophet Samuel: This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.

12And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.

13And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.

14And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.

15And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.

16And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.

17He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.

18And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

This is what in fact hapopened.

Ariel Ben Yohanan (Andras Bereny) said...


With other words what you are saying "Anonymous", is that we shall pick and chose from the mitzvot and apply the ones we like and ignore the ones we don't like. I'm afraid this opinion is outside of Judaism, in as much as we are told to observe the entire Torah, written and oral, and not only parts of it.

I maintain that our major challenge as Jews, especially those living in Eretz Israel today, is to re-establish our Torah institutions and to run them according to Jewish Law and to do away with the foreign, Hellenistic, evil influence that democracy is. I'm not saying that democracy is not good for the nations; it is good for them.

Jews are meant to obey the divine Law given to Moshe on Mount Sinai.

In direct opposition to this we have committed the major sin of the Golden Calf, that is the people decided what to do and how to finance it. They reversed the flow of power exactly the same way as democracy reverses it today.

So, even if in the Knesset there were no Arab MKs and the prime minister ware a kippah on a permanent basis, these institutions and these offices and these democratic mechanisms were still alien to the Jewish people, an aping of the goyim, unjustified, indeed forbidden under our Law.

Sure, the problem you are raising is a serious one, that is the quality of the leadership, and you are right in pointing out the historical short fallings.

That's however a.) not a sufficient reason to ignore mitzvot, as there are none, and b.) the whole idea of having a human power-structure is to enable the individual Jew to observe the mitzvot. We became a nation under the Devine Law, not under elections: "And now, if you hearken well to Me and observe My covenant, you shall be to Me the most beloved treasure of all peoples, for Mine is the entire world. You shall be to Me a kingdom of ministers and a holy nation.. The entire people responded together and said "Everything that Hashem has spoken, we shall do!" (Ex. 19:5-6,8)

Devash said...

Great comeback, Ariel. Yasher koach!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ariel, its Aharon(tall guy, used to hang out at the internet cafe) I agree we must restore the Malchut immediatly.

At the same time pirke avot does seemingly endorse a democratic system on a local level with local political leadership chosen by the populace. But it goes without saying these are men of emunah and Goyim have no say in the politcal situation.

Even Rebbe Akiva endorsed the decision by Bar Kochba to take parts of the Roman system of elected political leadership combining it with the Malchut, with the King being the head of the government.

Ariel Ben Yohanan (Andras Bereny) said...

Shalom Aharon, good to hear from you. I think the point we have to deal with here is "context". Our context today as a nation is that we are coming back to the Promised Land after 2000 years of galut and perhaps inevitably bringing back with us not only the erev rav, a mixed and hostile multitude, but lots of the alien, foreign influences we picked up too. Like democracy. In this particular situation we should pay particular attention to the particular problem of continuing ignoring our national mitzvot on the Land, as if we were still in hutz laretz. Rabbi Kahane comes clear on this in Or Hara'Ayon on p.668 of the English edition, under "The Torah's Opposition to Democracy": a brilliant and illuminating insight. I also happened to believe that democracy, over and above of being alien to Judaism, is the very system of the rule of the Golden Calf and thus a means of evil against us. With Jews of American origin it is of course a hard sale as democracy is good for America. But Eretz Israel is not America and Am Israel is not any nation. Here the law of the land IS our G-d given Torah Law. In the present situation this requires us to bring in an institutional discontinuity, a.k.a. "revolution". Why? Because the State of Israel (that is largely an islamic-secular legal system) occupies parts of the Land of Israel: here we have no choice, we have to decide who to be loyal to. To knesset members and their laws or to Hashem and His Law?

Anonymous said...

Of course Hashem, but traditionally the political class was not composed of the rabbinate, instead the Rabbinate influenced and advised without taking direct rule. But it goes without saying we must be rid of Western Democracy and create a Jewish government run according to Torah. Though I dont think this totally rejects the Jewish population selecting portions of the political leadership.

Ariel Ben Yohanan (Andras Bereny) said...

I don't recall descriptions of any selection/election process in the Chumas, if not for the rule of the Golden Calf. Jewish leaders, it seems, "emerge" either upon direct divine intervention, like Joseph or King David or their de facto leadership gets "acknowledged" as it were by Hashem as in the case of Joshua (Num. 27:18). So, I would argue the "selection" you are talking about is a duty of the Sanhedrin and of the people - but in posterior, rather than earlier for leaders that don't behave according to Torah. Rav. Kahane says that "The kingdom which disobeys G-d's word forfeits its authority" and he brings in the Talmud as source (Bava Batra 4a and Bava Kamma 94b)[p.666 of the English Or Hara'Ayon). In conclusion, this anxiety over "how to select a leader" is largely overplayed today I think. What is clear that the "legislative power" belongs to Hashem, as we already "voted" for our eternal divine Law for all generations under Mount Sinai: "We will do and we will understand". So, now we are called upon to establish courts and the Sanhedrin and a leader will "emerge" and we shall appoint him King. Our duty as Jews is to accept him if he acts according to Torah and to reject him if he acts against the Torah.

The other main and visible difference between what we have today and our future Torah society is the economy and taxes. In fact the Torah Kingdom will be what we today would call a tax haven. (The Principality of Monaco comes to mind as a modern-day example, before its 1911 constitution).