Dvaar Torah: Covenant, Unity and Jonathan Pollard

Parshiyot Nitzavim/VaYeilech

Moshe Burt - Katif.net - September 10, 2004

Parsha Nitzavim begins; "Atem Nitzavim HaYom...Today you are standing before Hashem, your Lord... You are thus being brought into the covenant of Hashem, your Lord, and [accepting] the dread oath that He is making with you today. He has established you as his nation, so that He will be a G-d to you..." (Devarim, Perek 29, posukim 9-12)

In the renewal of Hashem's covenant with B'nai Yisrael, the concept of responsibility for one another is introduced where every Jew is obligated to help others to cleave to Hashem, to observe the Torah and to restrain them from violating Halacha. The Artscroll Chumash refers to the Or HaChaim who noted "...that Hashem would not hold them responsible for the sins that had been done secretly, but that they would be liable for transgressions committed openly." Artscroll then states that "This is essential to the world view of the Jew, for it explains why one may not be apathetic to the shortcomings of others and why public desecrations of the Torah are the concern of every Jew of good conscience." (Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash, Parsha Nitzavim, page 1086)

It would seem that this concept of collective responsibility for each other is not restricted to the Asseret HaDiv'rot, (the Ten Commandments) refraining from loshen hora (gossip and slander) or pointing out to our fellow Yid the position of his Shel Rosh (phylacteries) when need be. It would seem that this concept of collective responsibility extends to such Halachot as Pidyan Sh'vu'im -- redeeming our Jewish brethren held captive; be it by their home nation, by a foreign nation or by an enemy nation.

But Jewish non-action, political cheshbonot (considerations) and equivocation have resulted in Jonathan Pollard's continued incarceration in prison in the US for the "crime" of having a Yiddishe Neshama and for having acted to save tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands or millions of Jewish Lives.

This collective non-action and equivocation constitutes a transgression committed so openly as to be an obvious Chillul Hashem (desanctification of G-d's name) in the eyes of the gentile nations. It is at least the equal of Jewish collective self-doubt about their divine inheritance of The Land of Israel and the resultant gezeirah rah (evil decree) which would expel thousands of Jews from their homes in Gush Katif, the Shomron and elsewhere. It makes a mockery of Jewish values and casts doubt, in eyes of the nations, upon the divine validity of Jewish connection with Eretz Yisrael.

In fact these two open and obvious transgressions; plans to expell Jews from their homes and roots on Jewish land and failure to perform the mitzvah of Pidyan Sh'vu'im seem intertwined, each Chillul Hashem seems to feed on and reinforce the other in a strange, myopic, perhaps supernatural way. A vulnerable, already brain-washed segment of Israel's population, as well as American Jews, have been long victimized by both Israel's hard-hearted political leadership and via the big-lie perpetrated by these politicians and the primarily leftist Israeli media as well as the false American canard of "dual loyalties."

Pollard's continued incarceration is due to the same myopic, "whatever gets you through the night..." mindset of many who similarly view or perceive separation from Gush Katif as part of the "only" solution to a so-called "demographics problem" which, from generation to generation doesn't seem to materialize, as well as an offering to Avodah Zora Washington in order to maintain the expensive Israeli addiction to American Foreign Aid.

However, there are substantial increasing numbers of our Jewish brethren cleaving to Torah, to the ways of Hashem, doing chassadim (deeds of kindness) for those of our brethren in need and who have Jonathan Pollard constantly in their prayers and thoughts. For that reason, the "Old General", despite his lengthy, confident-sounding pre-Yom Tov media interview, is locked way over his head in a struggle which he can't possibly win or politically survive. And when the expulsion plans collapse in a heap, so too will the dominos of lies and tall, dark, evil political intrigue and coverup keeping Jonathan Pollard behind bars, be revealed.

As the Yom HaDin (Judgement Day) approaches, our brethren in Gush Katif as well as our dear brother, Jonathan Pollard are central in our thoughts, prayers and actions. May the Gezeirot Rah (evil decrees) end and may we be zocha (merit) the moment when Jonathan Pollard is finally home among his brethren who care deeply about him. May we be zocha (merit) to fulfill Hashem's blueprint of B'nai Yisrael as a Unique people -- an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with "the nations." May we be zocha (merit) the Moshiach, the Ge'ula Shlaima, "Yom Hashem V'Kol HaGoyim", the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v'yameinu -- speedily, in our time", -- Immediately; Achshav, Chik Chuk, Meiyad, Etmol!!! Amain!

Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of the Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.