Thanks for Nothing, Rabbi Yoffie

Thanks for Nothing, Rabbi Yoffie
Nissan 4, 5768, 09 April 08 11:59
by Ellen W. Horowitz

(IsraelNN.com) You know, I spend my day and most of the night doing my very small part in trying to ensure Jewish spiritual integrity and physical continuity in Eretz Yisrael.

To the chagrin of some, most of my recent efforts have focused on the Israel-Evangelical alliance. I have been trying to get my fellow Jews to take a more profound and critical look at that relationship and all that it entails.

I feel that our serious flirtation with a Judeo-Christian union is made of the same common commitments, values and trust stuff that compelled us to walk arm-in-arm, with our American partners, down aisles which culminated in the disastrous Oslo and Disengagement agreements - complete with all of those irreversible strings that came attached. The lessons to be learned are not necessarily strategic, tactical or political in nature. They may be more ethical and religious in make-up, and I wonder if our failing grade in emotional and intellectual maturity as a nation also plays a role.

We cannot reap the benefits from any of our alliances if we cannot establish and hold red lines. The reality on the ground in Israel today reflects our inability to keep our fences intact and assert ourselves as a unique and sovereign nation with exceptional obligations. And we are paying a high price for our inability to politely and firmly say "no".

But just when I think my efforts have the possibility of making a minor dent, along comes Reform leader Eric Yoffie. He and his comments are so irrelevant and detached as to cause any Jew who cares about the integrity of the Land of Israel to run blindly in the opposite direction - into the no-questions-asked, loving arms of Christian fundamentalists.

This is not a political or social-cultural issue. It is a Jewish halachic one of the highest order. But a halachic system that builds fences around the Torah means nothing to the Reform "rabbi". Maybe Yoffie's "inner Jew" is genuinely uncomfortable with the apocalyptic mega-preacher John Hagee - but Yoffie sure manages to come up with all the wrong reasons. And his inability to firmly grasp and grapple with the true Jewish issues at stake results in a ridiculous floundering and skirting - and an eventual surrendering of all that really matters.

I was raised as a Reform Jew and appreciate the social consciousness that was instilled in me via that progressive and pro-active movement. My fierce commitment to Zionism also stems from that upbringing.

But Torah observance entered the picture, and I guess you can now best describe me as an uncompromising and committed "G-d-fearing liberal". Now, I know that very combination would cause a man like Pastor John Hagee to plotz, but truth be told, there are far more menacing contemporary couplings, like "Judeo-Christianity" or "Islamo-fascism".

G-d-fearing liberals really crave Jewish unity, and we feel a bit crippled without our "left" hand, but then again, we suspect that Jews like Rabbi Yoffie have lost their "right" minds.

It's really very okay, and extremely normal and healthy, for a Jew to feel uncomfortable with the magnanimous gestures and powerful rhetoric of a fundamentalist Mega-Church leader who loves Israel and the Jewish people - and who acts as our spokesman, but who aspires to see Jesus sitting on the Temple Mount, ruling the world with a rod of iron.

But it is downright pathological for a Jewish leader to reject his own people's unrelenting aspirations and prayers to inherit a complete Eretz Yisrael, and their longings for Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Third Temple.

Eric Yoffie has lost that part of himself. And until he finds it, he will be unable to address and define the crucial lines which separate us from the Christian fundamentalists. And he will lose in any confrontational or conciliatory dialogue with John Hagee.

Yoffie - and all of us - will lose when he meets with Pastor Hagee, because while Yoffie, on a gut level, may still possess a natural Jewish aversion to that which is foreign and forbidden to us, he is incapable of expressing what's in his Jewish heart. He is so alienated from his heritage and so immersed in political correctness that he is loathe to say the fundamental truth.

Yoffie is simply not rabbi enough to explain to the Jewish people that what's ultimately sacred for Pastor John Hagee is blasphemy for us. And we Jews do have significant irreconcilable spiritual differences with our evangelical allies, which is why we need to exercise extreme caution - and why Pastor Hagee cannot act as spokesman for the Jewish people.

So Yoffie best sit down, and the rest of us better hope and pray that an articulate, effective, proud and Torah-literate Jewish leader will stand up soon.

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