[Some things never change. This commentary, originally written in 1983/5743, is as applicable today as it was then. Nothing in it has changed except for replacing the name of Reagan with Obama and the settlement of Yamit with Gush Katif.]
Jabotinsky compared it to a stagecoach, its coachman thrown from his seat and the horses racing wildly towards the edge of a terrible chasm. In the coach sit people, eating, drinking, laughing, oblivious to the terrible rush to destruction. One man alone looks in horror at the revelers. "Do something," he cries. "Stop the horses! Quickly, do something before we perish!"
[Ze'ev] Jabotinsky spoke of the coach and blind passengers in the years just preceding World War II. The coach was Europe and the blind revelers were the Jews and they saw, heard, and understood nothing. And all of Jabotinksy's pleas availed him nothing. The horses raced to the edge, plunged over and carried six million passengers to their doom. Only then — at the final moment — did they understand. It was too late.
I stand and watch the coach of our days rushing madly towards tragedy. Inside are, again, revelers. They see and hear and understand nothing. All the things that occur pass them by as if in a dream that fades from view. And there is so little time...
What has happened to us? What has happened to a nation that was once described as "a wise and understanding people?" Wise? Say, rather, incomprehensibly foolish! Understanding? Of nothing, absolutely nothing.
Look at us. Fury at Reagan? Did we expect anything else? But, of course, we did. The uncomprehending, foolish Jews who have lost their Jewish way, expected goodness and friendship from the Gentile. How they cheered the anti-Communist Reagan, all the Jewish "nationalists" who know not an Aleph from and Aleph. How all our Beginites, and Tchiyayites and politically "conservative" Jews mocked the liberals and boasted of a different kind of president and policy in this shift to the Right. How they cheered and how they understood nothing these empty-headed nationalists who are ultimately — in their ignorance — as blind as the labor Party and its Peresites.
The Almighty repays in His own quiet way, exact measure for measure. He looks from the heavens at the Jewish dwarfs and says: You trusted Reagan; you leaned on the broken reed that is the Gentile? Enjoy the fruits of your leaning. In the measure that you turned to the goy, so shall you suffer the disappointments of your foolish illusions.
The Little Jew, the myopic Jews, the dwarfs and pigmies. See them write angry letters-to-the-Jewish-editor condemning the Gentile they cheered only yesterday. See them decide to go with pseudo-activist rabbis to protest the actions of the goy they loved so just a short time ago. Read the columns by the consistent columnists — consistently wrong and blind. See the editorials in the papers condemning the president — the very same papers that boasted in the not very distant past of how their support elected him.
Foolish coach riders! Myopic Jews! What do you want from the goy? What did you expect from him? What has happened to a people that once understood everything and, today, comprehends nothing? What has happened to a Chosen people that insists upon being dull and ordinary, as the Gentiles?
What has happened to a people that once understood and believed that it is the L‑rd, G‑d of Israel, who Alone decrees and decides and gives victory and salvation? What has happened to that people that, today, has become so assimilated by foreign concepts and cultures that it lifts its eyes up to Washington thrice daily, looking for salvation?
What has happened to a people that once possessed the pure faith that understood that "Israel is delivered by the L‑rd; that the hands of man are impotent and unavailing; that "a horse is a false thing for safety, neither doth it afford escape by its great strength," that "these may come with horses and these with chariots but we will make mention of the name of the L‑rd, our G‑d;' that spoke and believed in "the G‑d that girdeth me with strength and maketh my way straight;' that was supremely confident so that, "I am not afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about?"
What has happened to that same people that today weeps at the thought of the goy in Washington taking from us horses and chariots and withholding from us the weapons that we, daily, proclaim to be meaningless in the face of the L‑rd? What has happened to a people that shrinks in fear of losing its "ally", of being alone, isolated, forsaken by Man — the same people that piously proclaims in its Torah "It is a people that dwells alone and is not reckoned among the nations?"
It is a people that turns its prayer service into lip service; that has managed to produce Orthodox atheists who believe in mitzvot but not in the G‑d who created them; that has fallen from the heights of the Chosen, special and supreme of all nations to the depths of mediocrity and ordinariness and equality of spiritual poverty.
Stop it! It is not Reagan the Gentile who is the key to our misfortune. Like the Assyrians who once stood in his position, he is but the staff of the anger of G‑d. He is but the vehicle of the Almighty's fury at His Jewish people who threw away their mantle of greatness and chose gentilehood.
Measure for measure! This is the way of G‑d. We pay today for Yamit (have we so soon forgotten, we who have become so utterly insensitive to spiritual realities?). We pay today for the obscene scene in Beirut. We pay for our fear of the Gentile and our bowing to him — and how disgusting are the hypocrisies of the Prime Minister who crows that "we Jews bow only to G‑d" and then proceeds to collapse before Reagan?
The Almighty is telling us: You who feared the Americans and betrayed faith in Me; you who decided that the Gentiles are a safer refuge than the rock of Israel; you who, out of fear of the goy, gave up Yamit and refused to wipe out the enemy of G‑d in Beirut — will now enjoy your goy. Anger? Let it be directed against the Jewish leaders, beginning with the Prime Minister who understood nothing of the Jewish destiny and who plucked defeat from the jaws of victory by kneeling before the American goy. Fury? Let it be directed against ourselves for our failure of nerve, which was based on failure of faith. Let it be directed against ourselves who — with or without ritualism — ceased long ago to really believe and who — piously payetic or not — have made the G‑d of Israel an irrelevant thing in all areas of importance and who assign Him His place as long as He knows it.
Flee from the leaders, rabbis and lament alike, leftists or nationalists, moderates or pseudo-activists, who understand nothing. Their attacks on Reagan may warm your hearts and swell their heads — but they understand nothing.
Let us return to the most basic of things: Total, complete faith in the G‑d of Israel. Let it be proven by the real deeds that transcend political hypocrisy of a Prime Minister or the irrelevances of musar discourse in a yeshiva that is full of exhortation and fury, signifying nothing. The reality of faith in G‑d is proven by our total rejection of fear of the Gentile. By our ignoring his threats and demands. By our rush to be isolated and alone with him. By policies — including annexation of the liberated lands, including Lebanon; unlimited settlement; removal of the Arabs; emergency aliya from the impurity of the exile — that prove that though the night is dark and dangerous, we believe, we truly believe.
"Then would thy peace be as a river and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea."
[This commentary, written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, originally appeared in "The Magazine of the Authentic Jewish Idea," Summer 5743/1983. Emphasis added. Rabbi Kahane knew that no matter what circumstance Israel found herself in, her help always came from the G‑d of Israel, not the Gentile nations. Barbara Ginsberg maintains a weekly mailing list of the writings of Rabbi Kahane. If you would like to receive these weekly mailings, you can join the list by contacting her .—ed]