Thursday, December 14, 2006

Rav Shimshon Pincus on Insularity

An excerpt from "Nefesh Shimshon - Iggerot U'Maamarim", pg. 50:

"The Rambam writes (Hilchos Avodah Zarah 10:6): ' All these matters are applicable only when the Jews are in exile amongst the Nations, or the hand of the non-Jews is in control over the Jews, but at a time that the hand of the Jews is in power over them, we may not leave idolators amongnst us. And even if he dwells temporarily, or is passing from one place to another for commerce, he shall not pass through our Land, until he accepts the Seven Noahide Laws, as it states 'They shall not dwell in your Land', even temporarily'.

This is as understood at face value, that when the Jews were in control there was a "Passport check" at the border crossing, like today, and without a "visa" one could not enter, and any non-Jew who was not a Ger Toshav would not enter for even a short while. See there, that the Raavad disagrees, whereas according to the Rambam it is one of the Taryag Mitzvos.

And based on the simple understanding of the Mitzvah - not L'Halachah, rather the (deeper) understanding of the matter - this dictates that one should not have a radio in his house, even if only to hear the news, or a newspaper which tells us about the actions of the Nations of the world, even if not the decadent among them, just to hear generally about news happening in the world, like to hear the words of world leaders and the like, or their activities in the development of science and technology - for the command of the Torah is that the Jewish People should dwell a nation alone, concentrating on their own affairs, and they should not have any contact with the (non observant of the Seven Noahide Laws) non-Jew, even as a temporary dweller; and it is a fact that within the walls of one's home, the Jew is in control. And pay close attention to this, for this is not just an area of extra piety, but the simple understanding of one of the 613 commandments."

I'm not sure I'm quite ready (yet?) to go that far, personally, in insulating myself, but I cannot help but wonder:

1) Could the reprehensible behavior of the hooligans on that #2 bus have happened if we were truly insular?

a) There would be less to contend with in terms of the influences of the non-Jewish (and Jewish irreligious) media and advertisement objectifying of women,and so the attitudes would be more in line with that of Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz or Rav Shach, who rode a bus which was not Mehadrin. There would be no need for this kind of thing as a way of pushing back against the torrent of decadent external influence.

b) Spitting and acting in a way which we might call "Like a bunch of drunk Goyim" would be unthinkable in an insular Jewish society, where the Rav's authority was (truly) law.

2) What would happen if we presented this (not just physical security) as a reason to expel the non-Jews from the Land of Israel - we want to be more insular, more 'Chareidi'! - to the rank and file Religious Zionist?

Seems to be simple P'shat in the Rambam...

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