Text: Jonathan Pollard's Open Letter to Chief Rabbi of The IDF
Justice4JP Release - December 12, 2004
To: Brigadier General Rabbi Israel Weiss, Chief Rabbi of the IDF
From: Jonathan Pollard, 09185-016; FCI Butner, Butner NC, USA
December 12, 2004 B"H
Dear Rabbi Weiss,
As you know, our tradition teaches that a Jew does not sin unless he is afflicted by temporary insanity, a "ruach shtut".
How else are we to understand why a G-d -fearing Jew like yourself, the Chief Rabbi of the IDF, would declare his support for orders to uproot thousands of Jews from their homes in the Land of Israel?
I refer to your recent comments on IDF Radio supporting the evil disengagement plan and identifying secular military commanders and state officials as the ultimate authority which soldiers must obey.
"Refusal to carry out orders is liable to bring about the collapse of the army and the end of the People of Israel's task," you said. "The army, the state is the authority."
"We can't allow a soldier to do whatever he wants. This will bring a danger that the army will end its function and this nation will end its task," you declared.
With all due respect, Rabbi, it is difficult to imagine that you truly believe that it is the state and the army alone which protect us and ensure our viability as a People! The Jewish People lived for 2000 years without a state and without an army, under the grace of G-d Almighty. It is only because of His lovingkindness and His will as expressed through the Laws of Torah, that we live in the Land today and continue to thrive as a People.
When you visited with me 2 months ago, I told you that HaRav Mordecai Eliyahu, shlita, is my father. You replied joyfully, "We are sons of the same father! He is my father too!" You said that you consider HaRav Eliyahu to be your superior in Torah, and that before issuing any important Halachik ruling for the army, you first consult with him.
Surely you are aware that HaRav Eliyahu has unequivocally declared that it is forbidden for
G-d -fearing soldiers to obey orders to uproot Jews from the Land! HaRav Eliyahu has ruled that it is better for soldiers to sit in prison than to take part in the expulsion of Jews from their homes. Rabbi Weiss, in light of your apparent disregard for the psak Halacha of your own rabbinic superior, how can you expect thousands of soldiers to rely on you?
In my dealings with Jewish leaders over the past 20 years, it is clear to me that often Heaven raises a man up to a position of power and authority not as a reward, but as a test.
It is obvious that in this lifetime, G-d has placed you, of all men, in the unique position of being able to single-handedly defeat the immoral disengagement plan. You, amongst all men, can say "No!" to disengagement, and in so doing, support thousands upon thousands of soldiers to do the same! No other rabbi living in the Land today, is in such a powerful position as you are, in regard to this issue.
Just as good government never depends on laws, but upon the moral character of those who govern, so too an army depends not upon specific orders, but upon the personal qualities (midot) of its leaders. The functioning of the army is always subordinate to the will of those who administer it. The most important element of an army is who its leaders are. And Torah is the software that transforms it into a Jewish army. Without our divine software, we are nothing but machines and uniforms.
Rabbi Weiss, it appears that you are now being tested as both soldier and rabbi. You must now choose between your officer's commission and the yoke of Torah; between serving G-d or serving man.
Your choice will set the model for all G-d -fearing soldiers. It will also determine whether your name is revered for all generations as the rabbi who stood up to secular power in defense of the Land; or, G-d forbid, remembered as the rabbi who betrayed Jewish soldiers into defaming Torah and desecrating the Land.
Therefore, I plead with you to retract your statements regarding the disengagement plan! It is imperative that you issue a new ruling in harmony with the psak Halacha of HaRav Mordecai Eliyahu. Retracting now, especially since it is Chanukah, would be a great kiddush HaShem, in the best tradition of Mattityahu HaMaccabee himself.
I implore you to act now in the tradition of Gideon, of Yehoshua Bin Nun, and of Yehuda HaMaccabee! Be a Jewish warrior in defense of the Land! Say "No!"to disengagement!
Kavod HaRav, by retracting your previous position and openly encouraging soldiers not to participate in uprooting Jews from the Land, you will create a powerful model of Tshuva not only for the soldiers but for all of Israel. You will bring relief to the Nation and honor to the Israel Defense Forces.
As it is written in Tehillim: "Some trust in chariots, some trust in horses; but we rely solely upon Hashem, our G-d!" As upholders of Torah we know that G-d and G-d alone is the ultimate authority for a Jew.