Monday, July 26, 2004

Tisha B'av and Jewish Nationalism

We are well on into the 9 days preceding Tisha B'av, the fast in remembrance of the 2 destroyed Temples of Israel and numerous other national tragedies.

This is a day for specific national and personal reflection. A time when we must consider the destiny of the Jewish people and the movements we are making towards that destiny, both personally and nationally.

It is a time of proactive Judaism, where we consider our liabilities and turn them into successes. These considerations are integral to the purpose of Tisha B'av, for, through this process, a proactive Jewish national identity can be developed.

Proactive Nationalism

A proactive nationalist recognizes the meaning of self-respect and the depth of Jewish accountability. The nationalist recognizes that the only way to change the state of Judaism is to accept responsibility for it.

For, only by shouldering the responsibility for our people's liabilities can we effect a national change. That every Jew would accept personal responsibility for the shortcomings of world Jewry, past and present, is the goal of the Jewish nationalist.

The proactive nationalist sees any Jewish problem as his/her own and changes it for the better!

The proactive nationalist is an asset to the Jewish people; a worthy example to be duplicated.

On a day of national Jewish remembrance, like Tisha B'av, a nationalist remembers the greatness of the Hebraic Torah Civilization, its tremendous value to the world and its contributions to mankind. The nationalist is inspired by this history and seeks to duplicate its successes. The Nationlist contemplates that civilizations demise, but only in order to prevent such events from occurring again. The nationalist also contemplates the goy in terms of that civilization, of what the goy owes him and of what he never owes the goy--his/her self-respect.

It is a day of righteous indignation, for the dignity of our people. The fast of Tisha B'av is therefore of an intense national value; it is a day that is good for the Jews. The nationalist enjoys Tisha B'av.

Reactive Identity

The owner of a reactive Jewish identity does not recognize the value of self-respect or the depth of Jewish accountability. Such a person has a Religionist view of Judaism and sees Tisha B'av as a day of ritual remembrance for the sins of the Jewish people.

This type does not shoulder responsibility for the liabilities of world Jewry. The reactive Jew either seeks ritual or runs from it, both in place of activating true Hebraic Torah Civilization. The reactive Jew's entire perspective is subject to the whims and weaknesses of various alien influences. This Jew does not believe in the destiny of the Jewish people. The reactive Jew is a burden unto the Jewish people, for whom the proactive Jewish nationalist must take responsibility.

For the reactive, Tisha B'av, is a day of mourning and self- flagellation. It is yet another day where we inactively regret our sins and claim repentance. On this day the reactive does not actually consider that the absence of Hebraic Torah Civilization decreases the quality of Jewish existence. The reactive learns fear from Tisha B'av; fear of the goy and his wrath.

The self-respect of the reactive Jew is dependant upon the preferences and weakness of the goy, not upon true Jewish identity. The reactive Jew actually reaffirms his/her reactive perspective on this day, leading to Jewish complacency. Ultimately, Tisha B'av becomes a meaningless day upon which nothing changes and nothing is learned.

We cannot afford any more wasted Tisha B'av's. Do not be a reactive Jew. Take responsibility for yourself and your people. Use Tisha B'av to develop proactive Jewish nationalism. Internalize Jewish Pride, Accountability and Proactivity.

Have a meaningful fast.

--Frank Yehudi

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