A NATION IN PROTEST: Breaking The Illusion and The Need For A New Israeli Ethos

More than 15 years ago I was dragged out of the Neve Dekalim Synagogue by four soldiers and then bussed out of Gush Katif. In those moments I wondered why and where the protest movement to stop one of the largest injustices brought upon Israeli citizens by their own government had gone wrong.

The fact is, up until that point and including the Oslo protests headed by Moshe Feiglin, all of the nationalist protests had a sectoral feel to them. They weren’t meant to be sectoral, but Israel with all of its claims of the need for national unity breaks down along tribal lines and that is the failure of all of the protests in the past few years.

True, the disaster of the first Amona protest in 2006, when cops used horses to stampede settler youth, drew condemnation from the left, but the protest itself was not successful – meaning it did not strike a real chord with anyone else except settlers.

A lot has happened since then. Israelis know each other far better than before. Religious Zionists have penetrated the mainstream media and stand poised to take over the army in the next generation. All the while, both Chareidim and Religious Zionists find common ground on many issues.

Still, there appears to be a lack of real unity of purpose other than just survival or standing by while the country’s hi-tech leaders represent their craft as being indicative of the Israeli citizenry as a whole. The more we know each other, the more we realize we are all being pulled along together, without regard to whether or not we want to be heading where we are heading.

Perhaps the uniting factor in this new young generation, growing up in a post Gush Katif reality is the need for a new national ethos. Many settler youth reject their parents’ views that they need to conform to make it in Israel and like many on the left, they see the vacuous drive towards participation in the hi-tech ecosystem as being disconnected from the larger issues plaguing Israeli society.

This is where the intersection has arisen between the protests surrounding Ahuviya Sandak’s death, potentially at the hands of a negligent police and the disconnect many have in Israel from the government and the elite that rules it.

When Hill Top Youth were placed in administrative detention for six months over Duma and then tortured to be made to confess and still be found guilty despite an admittance that the confession came by way of torture – Israelis scratched their head.

True, most questioned it, but then went on with their life. What is going on now is a confirmation that the bias against the idealistic youth of Judea and Samaria is real and the “fringe opinions” over Duma might have had some legs to them after all.

The simple question is now beginning to be asked: Why all this trouble over a handful of teenagers that seem to be only focused on defending Jewish land from Arab squatters?

Why claim these kids are a threat to the entire nation?

The protests are growing, because people see that Ahuvia Sandak’s death is a symptom of a larger problem in Israel. True, we lead the world in innovation, but we are beginning to lose site of what guides us here in the Land in the first place. We have come home, but have buried the vessels of Redemption in the sands of the Negev.

The youth are showing us something else – that rights are not given to us by the police, the judges, or even the Knesset, but rather they are given to us by G-D himself.

In a sense, the hate for these youth by the apparatchiks in the leftwing controlled security forces and judicial system stems from a sense of embarrassment and jealousy. After all, it is supposed their kids doing this – being Zionists, not these rag tag youth of the hills.

Yet, this goes beyond Zionism that guided Jews back to Israel – this is about Redemption itself. For that, one has to leave behind the trappings and false understandings fomented by those who built the early state, which were then foisted on everyone else.

In a sense we have to leave the construct of our assumptions about what we are doing here to see past the illusions that the governing institutions wants us to believe.

No one trusts the police here, yet before this past year there was too much at stake for all of the various groups to unite. Lockdown after ridiculous lockdown has taken its toll on the public and with it, the last remaining barrier that had prevented it from truly making grassroots change.

The youth of the hills are more than just guardians of the Land – they are messengers of a new way, which is really an old way. They are the David to the government’s Saul. We are not meant to come home to our Land and live like other Nations. Our soul’s are whispering that to us – trying to wake us up and these youth are the reminder that we can behave differently.

There is a price for conformity and that is the anonymity the machine wants us to fall into. However, these youth can and will save us from ourselves at the end. Most of us want something else, but we are just too afraid to admit it to anyone else. All of the technology and entertainment has done nothing to quiet the yearning for a shift to a Redemptive paradigm.

These protests are about regaining the process of reawakening what the Jewish return to its Land was supposed to be about. While this might be scary to many here, it is necessary if we are going to complete the transition from a nation like all other nations to one that is truly a Kingdom of Priests.

At The End The Empire Will Fall

In the above class, I touch upon current events and this week’s parsha – Toldot.

All of us sense the world is in chaos. This chaos is the stage before the fall of the evil empire. This is the empire which is both global and internal. It is the empire of emptiness, which fills no particular political entity yet infects all. It is about detachment from the G-Dly root within and distracting humanity from the purpose of its existence.


Many of us are fearful of what lies ahead, but we are assured the empire will fall at the end and a new world will be born. The key is not to lose hope and understand that the best way to handle the empire as it falls apart is to disconnect from its allure, from the tentacles of unfullfilled wants.

This week’s parsha is about two kingdoms born as twins. They are more than political entities, but rather two approaches, two outlooks on the world. One is about disconnection and superficiality. This is Edom. The second is Yaakov, who stands for holiness and G-Dly influence.

The question is who will win?


Replacing Mourning With The Song of Joy

We are constantly mourning our predicament – Our yearning for completion, for living in a world of strife and shifting to a world of redeemed purpose. Yet, we have been mourning our loss of connection and lack of clarity of purpose for so long we know nothing else but mourning.

Redemption lies within. It lies within the song that moves us at our core, the song of creation, jubilation, and joy. This is the song that the Tzaddik plays to call us home, to move back to ourselves.

The challenge though is that in the two thousand years of exile we have lost will to search within and are caught up with the comfortability of mourning that which we can fix by simply letting go of the sadness we have built.

Exile is a mindset. It is a cycle of external wandering in hopes that we can find solace and time to think about who we really are. Now our wanderings actually led to the place that we dreamed of. Yet, we have faltered and stayed mourning for a loss of connection that we feel fail to recognize that the very place we are now in can help us recover who we are.

We are home. We have returned to the Land of the Lost Princess, the Land of Israel, of the Divine Presence. All that there is left to do is recognize that we no longer need to mourn.

(Based on Likutey Halachot Pirya v’Rivia Halacha 3, Story of the Seven Beggars – 6th Day)

The Temple Is About Restoring Our Eternal Memory

Tisha B’Av is once again upon us. So many of us wonder why we are still laboring to keep it. After all, we have returned to Israel, the galut is seemingly over.

Yet, the Temple, was more than a national symbol, it is our own eternal memory, because it is the memory of the World to Come. Tisha B’Av is about recapturing that memory and propelling ourselves forward towards the final redemption.

G-D Is With Us Even In The Darkest Moments

In these moments when the darkness seems so deep we must realize that this is where G-D is. Sure when the high is there – he is there, but he is here now with us at our moment of need. Our purpose here is to recognize the G-dliness in our world no matter how far away it appears to be. That was the meaning behind leaving Mitzrayim and that is the reason why we are meant to spend so long in this final exile.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC: The End of the Exile is Here

The Coronavirus can no longer be ignored. It is a fast spreading and very deadly pandemic that has broken out of the 700 million person quarantine in China to have no begun spreading around the world. While the virus itself is scary enough most of the world’s pharmaceuticals are dependent on base ingredients found in China.

As the stock markets are beginning to crash as supply chains are being disrupted across the world.

So why is this connected to the end of the exile?

Exile is a corruption in the universal divine expression. In a sense, everything is in exile, because the universe lacks the divine harmony it was meant to have. This final stage of the exile comes when we are already back in our Land and yet we feel distanced from the Creator who has brought us back.

We have created vessels of sovereignty and yet have never used them in the Divine manner they are meant to be used. Instead the world and especially us have been redirected to a world of products, which are in of themselves the means of distraction that has pulled most of us towards the abyss of endless darkness.

Rebbe Nachman teaches that excess brings depression and as we know depression leads to exile. Where does this excess come from. It comes from the lust after money and as Rebbe Nachman teaches it is this uncontrollable desire for money which in today’s world really means products that has kept us as a world from reaching the final Redemption.

China is the engine of the West’s ability to mass produce endless products. Do we need them?

No. But we want them. We want and we want and we want.

Now the engine is being taken away and with it the last mirage of the Exile’s power over us. This will be painful. Many things will change, but the corona pandemic is the weapon that is knocking down the statue Daniel saw in his dream.

Waking Up From Exile and Finding Unity


The exile is insidious. It penetrates us, disconnects us – twisting the world and everything within it. However there is hope. After all, exile is analogous to sleep and although when one wakes up they are groggy and disoriented, they still have awoken. We too yearn to be awake; to see the the world in a clarity unquestioned. Yet, we haven’t achieved this because we have not let go of the blockages within. It is to awaken and find the unity that has always existed within the Creation.